Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
PivotTables: Data Aggregation Without the Aggravation
Figure 8–6. Sales data broken out, not by salesperson, but by month and year instead
Now that’s a radically different take on the same sales figures—organized here by time
frame, with no mention of the salespersons. But we could also do something like
Figure 8–7. Turnabout: Now the years are occupying the rows
Bet that one got your attention! What you’re seeing now is precisely the same data from
Figure 8–6, but it’s been pivoted , or flipped on its side, as it were. Now the years run
down the column, with the months streaming across. And that’s what PivotTables can
do: pivot the information across their rows and columns to give the user a variety of
ways of presenting the information.
Pretty impressive—and as with Excel’s other data management capabilities, the
methods for designing PivotTables are identical for databases of 100 or 100,000
records. And once you get the hang of them, you can batch one up in a matter of
Now take another look at Figures 8–6 and 8–7, and notice that they organize the sales
data by months and years, even though the original source data only records each sale
on the particular day on which it was transacted. But PivotTables let you group the data
into larger categories, allowing you to easily see the bigger picture.
Again, you can’t really produce these kinds of results with the filters discussed
previously. PivotTables afford the user a larger and more effective set of tools for
analyzing data, and though some newcomers to Excel view them as mysterious, slightly
scary, and perhaps user-hostile, a bit of practice and reflection will pay off—because
PivotTables are definitely worth knowing about.