zandax online course logo
Info, Blogs, Contact & Login

Ten Ways Excel Pivot Tables can help you.

From the ZandaX Microsoft Software Blog

Articles to help you improve your Microsoft software skills

Home  >  Blogs Home  >  Business Blog  >  Microsoft Software Articles  > 
Ten Ways Excel Pivot Tables can help you.

Ten Ways Excel Pivot Tables can help you.

A post from our Microsoft Software blog

      Written by Jordan James
In this blog article, we will look at a number of ways that Pivot Tables in Excel can help you. They are probably the most powerful thing in Excel for reporting your data with, so let's take a look at why they are so important.

Before I do that though, let me just add one point. Within Excel, certain things are easier than others to "pick up yourself", by trial and error, and playing around. Unfortunately, Pivot Tables aren't one of them, and while really powerful tools that can help you a lot, to take advantage of them properly will probably require some training.

And now, onto those 10 ways.

One: They are able to handle large amounts of data for reporting.

Pivots are capable of handling and displaying large amounts of data, as you would expect, but in a way that is easy to understand. In a normal spreadsheet, it's very easy to become bogged down in the details and lose track of what you are looking at due to the amount of data displayed on screen.

Want Better Excel Skills?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $49 – limited time offer just $12.00

With Excel Pivot Tables, we can use various techniques that we will look at in this article to "roll up" data, Filter the information, summarise totals and subtotals. All vital when dealing with large amounts of information for reports.

Two: They give you the ability to Pivot fields across as well as down your report.

Pivots are great as you can see your data in more of a three dimensional way than traditional "flat data". Let me explain, you have sales data totals by Salesperson, but you wanted to see it then by Customer. So using Pivots, we can add that field to the top of the pivot to allow totals per Customer per Salesperson, so this is a huge advantage.

Three: Pivots can feed into Charts to display your complex data graphically.

Looking at data can make you blind!!! So nowadays, most people prefer to see information graphically. To do this we can plot the pivot data onto a Pivot Chart, or series of charts, and instantly we can see patterns, trends and analyse data quickly.

Here we see total sales per Salesperson for all customers:

You can also change what you are looking at via the Pivot Chart using the built-in filters on the chart, so we can limit or change data this way too.

Four: You can Sort and Filter data easily in a Pivot.

Once you have your Pivot set up, we can then easily filter or sort that data as required, as it automatically turns on these options when you create the Pivot. So this is great for showing items such as the highest sales figures per Customer, largest to smallest, or filtering any products you want to home in on.

Here we see the Highest Customer sales figures, largest to smallest for a filtered set of products:

The filter drop-down has a quick search facility so finding data is a breeze.

Five: Pivots let you "drill" into your data and expand elements or contract them down again quickly.

Pivots are remarkable because we can also roll up data or drill into data to expand its contents as needed. Let me explain, we have a set of data where products appear under certain categories such as pork, beef and so on. These are in turn a part of the Meat category, but you want a total sales figure for all meat. So with the pivot, we can add fields below others to create this drill effect very easily.

Here we see the categories and notice the plus signs next to them so we can expand the data and drill into each category sales. The two slides show by the department, and then how we have drilled down into the top category.

Six: You can summarize the data easily e.g. by Customer or Product.

Its child's play to summarise data either with a total, an average, percentage or even a ranking number so, this is so useful with Pivots to get results without the headache of manually creating formulas all over the place.

Here we see the Average Total Sales per Customer:

We can change this to a ranking position also as below:

Seven: We can use newer features for Pivots such as "Slicers" and "Timelines".

Taking a more graphical feel to data, and making usable interfaces, is a great way to work, and lots of people are taking advantage of this. We can use slicers to carve up data graphically by clicking the required slicer filter option.

Here we see two slicers for the pivot table, one for Category of product and the other is for Customer:

A "Timeline" is a similar concept but for dates. It produces a slider so we can select date driven information this way, such as a range or a particular quarter.

Here we see Q3 & Q4 data only via the slicer tool:

Eight: Pivots link back to the data source and can be refreshed.

Another advantage of doing your reports in Pivots is when the source data changes, we can simply refresh the pivots and all connected reports will update. If there are more records, we can also make it include the new records too by setting the source up as a named range or data table.

Here we see the refresh options after the pivot has been set up:

This is ideal as you then don't need to alter your pivots they will just react to the data they are connected to, and you get all the latest pivot tables and pivot charts on screen.

Nine: Lots of built-in Format Options.

The Pivots have a fantastic array of built-in Format Styles for you to choose from, so making it look good and professional is an easy few mouse clicks.

Just generate the pivot as usual and then we have the Pivot Table Tools Design Menu at the top of Excel. Here we can pick a nice colour scheme from the many in the dropdown so no need to do all of this manually, thus saving so much time and effort.

Here we see I have chosen an Orange Pivot Style:

Ten: Drag and Drop technology makes it easier.

Setting up Pivots is a breeze via the Pivot Table Fields Task Pane, as we can simply tick the field boxes to add them to the Pivot, or drag them into position into the four areas at the bottom of the window: Filters, Columns, Rows and Values.

Previously we had to drag them all the way over into the pivot on the worksheet, you can still do that but now there is even less dragging involved.

Hit the field drop-down and you can get into the field setting easily here too.

Here we see we have ticked Salesperson and Order Value then we have clicked the Salesperson dropdown ready to go to the Value Field Settings:

Want Better Excel Skills?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $49 – limited time offer just $12.00


Back to the Microsoft Software blog

Click the button for more Microsoft Software articles.

The ZandaX Business Skills blog

Click a panel for great articles on business skills

ZandaX Blog Contents

Want to see them all? Click to view a full list of articles in our blogs.

Online courses to boost your skills
Click a button to see more about each course
Personal Development
Microsoft Software
Leadership & Management
ZandaX online training course logo
ZandaX – Change Your Life ... Today
All content © ZandaX 2022
Close menu element
See how you score on a range of skills that are critical to your well-being and performance
Communication Skill test
Communication Skills
How Can You Communicate Better?
Would you like to see what kind of communicator you are? And how you can improve the effectiveness of your communications?
Likeability test
How Much Do People Like You?
Do you sometimes wonder just how likeable you are? And wouldn't you like to see how you can (genuinely) become more likeable?

Time Management test
Time Management
How Can You Make More Use Of Your Time?
Are you frustrated by how easily time slips away? Do you get frustrated when things don't get done just because you run out of time?
Assertiveness test
Are you Passive, Aggressive or Assertive?
Would you like to know where you fall on the behavior spectrum? Does your response to events sometimes surprise you?

Close menu element
Information & Resources
ZandaX information
Read more about us, our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service
See how we want to help you, and how we make everything easy for everyone
Callback request
ZandaX Blogs
Articles to increase your knowledge and understanding in key areas of your life and career.
Read our blogs on Personal Development, Business Skills and Leadership & Management

Time Management test
Log In
Log in to your online dashboard
View your courses, review what you want and download your workbooks and certificates
Assertiveness test
Contact Us
An easy online form to get in touch
With options for More Information, Customer Service and Feedback

Close menu element
Learn About:
Personal Development
Leadership & Management
Sales & Presentations
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Project
Microsoft Visio

[NOTE: Mouse over the titles above,
then to visit the website pages you want,
click on the links in the right hand panel]
Our courses
We have everything covered: learn all applications at all levels!   All courses are CPD certified.
Microsoft Excel courses
Microsoft Excel 2021 / 365
Introduction to Advanced
Microsoft Excel 2013 / 2016
Introduction to Professional
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Powerpoint Introduction
Microsoft Powerpoint Advanced
Microsoft Word courses
Microsoft Word Introduction
Microsoft Word Intermediate
Microsoft Word Advanced
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Access Introduction
Microsoft Access Intermediate
Microsoft Access Advanced
Microsoft Outlook courses
Microsoft Outlook Essentials
Microsoft Project
Enhance your project management with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Project courses.
Microsoft Project courses
Microsoft Project Introduction
Get a solid foundation in Project software to create solid, resilient project plans.
You don't need prior experience with Project: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Project Advanced
The Advanced course takes you to a level that will put you in complete control of your projects.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Microsoft Visio
Become a Visio master with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Visio courses.
Microsoft Visio courses
Microsoft Visio Introduction
Get a solid base for using Visio to create high quality, impressive diagrams.
You don't need prior experience with Visio: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Visio Advanced
This course will enable you to use Visio to design graphics at the highest level.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Take a look at our new Marketing section which we begin with two great books on Copywriting
... there will be more to follow, so stay tuned!
Copywriting books
Copywriting for Results
A two-book set that will give you all you need to write great copy every time.
Get the first book to learn the process, then the second to see how to apply it to all media types.
  • Copywriting for Results: Your Complete Guide
  • Copywriting for Results: Putting It Into Action
Watch This Space
We have more in the pipeline so be sure to check back soon to see what's new!
More marketing books
Take a look at our new Leadership & Management section which we begin with a superb course on Managing Teams
... there's lots more to follow, so keep in touch!
Team Leadership courses
Team Leadership & Line Management
For practical advice on managing teams for results.
Make your team successful and more positive with tons of real-world techniques that work.
  • Team Management for Line Managers & Supervisors
  • Building High Performing Teams (in production)
Watch Out For More!
We have more courses in the pipeline so check back soon to see what's new!
More team leader courses
Great, easy-to-follow courses on how to succeed in sales and presentations
Drive Your Sales to New Levels
Selling Skills course
Learn how to sell more, to more people
Deliver Presentations that Get Results
Presentation Skills course
Build and deliver great presentations
Your Keys to Success are here!
Sales Management course
Manage your team for great results
Great, easy-to-follow CPD certified courses on skills that will change your life!
Learn How to Stop Wasting Time!
Time Management course
Get more out of every day of your life ...
Boost Your Self Esteem: Be Assertive
Assertiveness course
Learn how to deal with bad behavior
Great Communications = A Happy Life!
Communication Skills course
Supercharge your communications
Improve Your Relationships
Building Relationships course
Learn how to be more likeable!
Get a Plan to Beat Your Stress
Stress Management course
Learn how to reduce & manage your stress
It's the Behavior, Not the Anger!
Anger Management course
Control anger in yourself and other people
Site Cookies
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

You can change your cookie settings in your browser. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

I'm fine with this