Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
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PivotTables and Pivot Charts
C H A P T E R 8
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PivotTables and Pivot Charts
There’s that word again—Tables. They’re back, but this time we’re going to look at tables from a
different angle—almost literally—by subjecting all those columns and rows to a new and more
informative way of presenting their data—the PivotTable.
PivotTables are a most powerful and nimble way to aggregate data—but that introduction calls for
a bit of…well, intr oduction. After all, adding a column of numbers is a form of data aggregation, too,
but you wouldn’t bother to apply a PivotTable to that task (though you could). PivotTables do something
el se , somethi n g mor e . A l ot mor e .
It’s one thing to be able to total a range of numbers—even a very large range—and that can be a
most important capability. But to be able to break the numbers out by categories —that is when you need
to call upon a PivotTable.
It’s noteworthy that a decisive definition of PivotTables is hard to come by. Type “PivotTable
definition” into Google and scan the results—you’ll see what I mean. But what PivotTables do is summarize
data by categories, thus allowing you to view patterns in the data that might otherwise escape you.
Let's take a look to see what I mean.
Starting Out with PivotTables
Think back to the very first example with which I inaugurated Chapter 1 (Figure 8–1):
Figure 8–1. Family budget records, organized by date, category, and amount
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