Excel > Excel 2003 Advanced > PivotTables and PivotCharts

Creating a PivotTable

PivotTables are amazing! They provide the ideal way to quickly summarise, organise and analyse a large amount of data.

PivotTables have their name because you can pivot the row and column headings to display different configurations of the data.

The data that the PivotTable uses is known as the source data. This is usually stored in Excel (the example we will use throughout the tutorial), but it could come from an external source. If the source data changes, the PivotTable can be updated.

PivotCharts can be created from PivotTables providing a visual representation of your data.

To create a PivotTable you need to decide what fields (column headings) you want to include, how you want them organised, and the calculations to be performed.

This is not easy and at first PivotTables can appear quite daunting. However once you have created your first one, they begin to make more sense.

Download PivotTable.xls to follow the tutorial.

To create a PivotTable:

  1. Select the range of data you want to use for the PivotTable
  2. If you want to use the whole data list, select a cell within the range. Excel will assume you want to use the whole list, saving you the job of selecting the range.

  3. Select PivotTable and PivotChart Report from the Data menu
  4. The PivotTable and PivotChart Wizard appears.
  5. Select Microsoft Office Excel list or database as the data we want to analyse.

    Leave the What kind of report do you want to create? option set to PivotTable and click Next.

    Create a pivottable step 1

  6. Step 2 of the wizard displays the range of data being used for the PivotTable. If the range is not correct, select the data range you wish to use again. Click Next
  7. Create  a pivottable step 2

  8. The last step of the Wizard asks where you want to put the PivotTable. Leave it as New worksheet and click Finish.
  9. Create a pivottable step 3

An empty PivotTable is displayed on the left, together with the PivotTable toolbar and the PivotTable Field List. It doesn't look like much yet, but that's because we need to pull some data into the table to give it something to work with.

Inserted PivotTable

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