Microsoft Excel Pivot Table Training

Microsoft Excel comes with a variety of features including PivotTables, a feature used for analyzing large sets of data. PivotTables helps users analyze, calculate and summarize data from a worksheet. At its core, it is an essential analytical tool that helps with making crucial business decisions.

PivotTable mastery is considered a tricky fit. Most individuals will only attain a basic understanding of the tool’s principles over time. This is particularly concerning since PivotTables’ understanding is of extreme value in today’s job market. Important features to understand include:

PivotTable Structure

A PivotTable refers to the columns in the source document as a field. Each of these fields is made up of items that compromise unique data. The row axis contains fields used to group the data from the source into rows. Row axis areas are divided into inner and outer row fields whereby the inner row fields are the ones closest to the data area. Items provided in the outer row fields can only be displayed once within the pivot table, while the rest of the data can be repeated multiple times within the table based on the source data.

The column axis area in the pivot table displays the data in columns. These are divided into inner and outer column fields with the rules of data display stated above applying even for the columns.

The data area is where all the data is displayed. These will be summarized using predefined functions available on the Excel sheet. Notably, the count summary function is what is used to summarize the data field populated with textural values. Finally, the Report Filter Area is used to filter the entire report to display the data specified by the user.

Steps to Prepare Excel Data for PivotTable

You can successfully use your PivotTable to slice your data and check it for similarities, highs, and lows. How then do you prepare a large set of data to ensure you do not run into any errors or the risk of misrepresentation?

Organize Data in Rows and Columns

Look at the source data and assign data sets rows and columns based on their types. Ensure that you do not leave any rows or columns blank throughout the field area. To do this, you will use Shift + Direction Arrow, and automatically, the blank cell is moved down or up depending on what you intended.

Assign Each Column in The Source Data a Unique Title

To have an easier time analyzing the data using a PivotTable, give each column a title that fits the data set you are working with. You can use bold or upper case to differentiate similar datasets based on your preference.

Categorize Each of the Columns

To categorize columns, highlight an entire column and assign the appropriate category from the drop-down menu in the Home tab. You can also use the Format Cells tab to specify how you would want the data displayed.

Formatting of the Values in a Pivot Table

After creating the PivotTable and populating it with your data from the source, you want to design the layout and format it to enhance the readability of your report. To change the layout of your PivotTable, you tweak the fields, columns, and rows or apply a predefined style and conditional formatting based on your preferences and needs.

Compact Format

You can use the expand and collapse buttons to display or hide details within your row labels while in compact form. This saves space and makes the report more readable. Besides, it leaves more room for numeric data as the row label takes less space. You can specify this as your default layout for your PivotTables.

Outline Form

You can have your subtotals displayed at the top of every group using the outline form.

Tabular Form

For your PivotTables, you can have the tabular form display one column per field, thus providing space for any of the headers you have created for your report.

To apply any style to the PivotTable, you can choose one from the quick styles tab on the ribbon. The Design tab at the PivotTable Styles group gives you the different styles available and enables you to customize your report as preferred. Notably, banding columns or rows makes it easy for you to format whole columns and rows in one go.

Using the PivotTable Analyze Tab

The Analyze tab has different commands which enable you to explore the data on the PivotTable. Ribbons under the Analyze tab enables you to:

Expand and Collapse a Field

This ribbon helps you expand or collapse any nested fields within the PivotTable.

Group and Ungroup Fields

You can define your own clusters using the grouping and ungrouping ribbon. This makes it possible to combine similar data for easy readability.

Active Field Settings

The active field setting makes it possible to set field options by highlighting a value within the field. You can customize labels within the field from the field settings dialog box and filter what you would like seen within any region.

Designing Your PivotTables

Excel’s default formatting can be bland and unreadable at times. Fortunately, you have five formatting options that help you create a visually elaborate PivotTable. You can find this under the layout section of the Design tab, where you can restructure how you want your field to appear.

Pivot Tables Good Practice

Use Excel Tables as A Source for Pivot Tables

Notably, it is not a must for your source to be an excel table. Still, this makes it easy to expand and adjust your data as required. Besides, if you add data to the excel table, you do not need to do the same for the Pivot Table as it will automatically be added.

Have Different Fields for Different Quarters

Not having each field represent a particular quarter of data is considered wrong data arrangement. This impedes proper analysis by the PivotTable. You can do this on the PivotTable Fields drop-down menu as you choose fields to add to your report.

Overall, PivotTables are a powerful tool that comes in handy when calculating, summarizing, and analyzing significantly large and detailed data sets. Proper knowledge of its features should enable a user to provide a precise analysis of said data in an organized and summarized manner.