Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 18: Pivot Tables
In This Chapter
An introduction to pivot tables
How to create a pivot table from a worksheet database or table
How to group items in a pivot table
How to create a calculated field or a calculated item in a pivot table
Excel’s pivot table feature is perhaps the most technologically sophisticated component in Excel.
This chapter may seem a bit out of place in a topic devoted to formulas. After all, a pivot table
does its job without using formulas. That’s exactly the point. If you haven’t yet discovered the
power of pivot tables, this chapter demonstrates how using a pivot table can serve as an
excellent alternative to creating many complex formulas.
About Pivot Tables
A pivot table is essentially a dynamic summary report generated from a database. The database
can reside in a worksheet or in an external file. A pivot table can help transform endless rows and
columns of numbers into a meaningful presentation of the data.
For example, a pivot table can create frequency distributions and cross-tabulations of several
different data dimensions. In addition, you can display subtotals and any level of detail that you
want. Perhaps the most innovative aspect of a pivot table lies in its interactivity. After you create
a pivot table, you can rearrange the information in almost any way imaginable and also insert
special formulas that perform new calculations. You can even create post hoc groupings of
summary items: for example, combine Northern Region totals with Western Region totals. And the
icing on the cake is that with but a few mouse clicks, you can apply formatting to a pivot table to
convert it to boardroom-quality attractiveness.
Pivot tables were introduced in Excel 97. Unfortunately, many users ignore this feature because
they think that creating a pivot table is too complicated. Microsoft continues to improve the pivot
table feature, and creating and working with pivot tables is easier than ever.