How one can Create a Pivot Desk in Excel: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

The pivot desk is certainly one of Microsoft Excel’s strongest — and intimidating — features. Pivot tables may also help you summarize and make sense of enormous knowledge units. Nonetheless, additionally they have a repute for being difficult.

Computer with pivot table examples over an orange background with a green arch.

The excellent news is that studying find out how to create a pivot desk in Excel is far simpler than it’s possible you’ll consider.

We’re going to stroll you thru the method of making a pivot desk and present you simply how easy it’s. First, although, let’s take a step again and be sure to perceive precisely what a pivot desk is, and why you may want to make use of one.

What is a pivot table?
What are pivot tables used for?
How to Create a Pivot Table
Pivot Table Examples

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In different phrases, pivot tables extract that means from that seemingly limitless jumble of numbers in your display. And extra particularly, it allows you to group your knowledge in numerous methods so you’ll be able to draw useful conclusions extra simply.

The “pivot” a part of a pivot desk stems from the truth that you’ll be able to rotate (or pivot) the info within the desk to view it from a unique perspective. To be clear, you are not including to, subtracting from, or in any other case altering your knowledge while you make a pivot. As an alternative, you are merely reorganizing the info so you’ll be able to reveal helpful data.

What are pivot tables used for?

For those who’re nonetheless feeling a bit confused about what pivot tables really do, don’t fret. That is a kind of applied sciences which can be a lot simpler to grasp as soon as you’ve got seen it in motion.

The aim of pivot tables is to supply user-friendly methods to shortly summarize massive quantities of knowledge. They can be utilized to raised perceive, show, and analyze numerical knowledge intimately.

With this data, you’ll be able to assist establish and reply unanticipated questions surrounding the info.

Listed below are seven hypothetical eventualities the place a pivot desk may very well be useful.

1. Evaluating Gross sales Totals of Totally different Merchandise

Let’s say you have got a worksheet that accommodates month-to-month gross sales knowledge for 3 completely different merchandise — product 1, product 2, and product 3. You wish to determine which of the three has been producing essentially the most income.

A technique can be to look by means of the worksheet and manually add the corresponding gross sales determine to a operating complete each time product 1 seems. The identical course of can then be accomplished for product 2, and product 3 till you have got totals for all of them. Piece of cake, proper?

Think about, now, that your month-to-month gross sales worksheet has 1000’s upon 1000’s of rows. Manually sorting by means of every vital piece of knowledge might actually take a lifetime.

With pivot tables, you’ll be able to mechanically combination the entire gross sales figures for product 1, product 2, and product 3 — and calculate their respective sums — in lower than a minute.

pivot table examples, compare sales totals of different productsImage source

2. Exhibiting Product Gross sales as Percentages of Whole Gross sales

Pivot tables inherently present the totals of every row or column when created. That is not the one determine you’ll be able to mechanically produce, nonetheless.

For example you entered quarterly gross sales numbers for 3 separate merchandise into an Excel sheet and turned this knowledge right into a pivot desk. The pivot desk mechanically offers you three totals on the backside of every column — having added up every product’s quarterly gross sales.

However what should you wished to search out the proportion these product gross sales contributed to all firm gross sales, slightly than simply these merchandise’ gross sales totals?

With a pivot desk, as a substitute of simply the column complete, you’ll be able to configure every column to provide the column’s proportion of all three column totals.

Let’s say three merchandise totaled $200,000 in gross sales. The primary product made $45,000, you’ll be able to edit a pivot desk to as a substitute say this product contributed 22.5% of all firm gross sales.

To point out product gross sales as percentages of complete gross sales in a pivot desk, merely right-click the cell carrying a gross sales complete and choose Present Values As > % of Grand Whole.

pivot table examples, product sales as percentageImage source

3. Combining Duplicate Knowledge

On this situation, you’ve got simply accomplished a weblog redesign and needed to replace many URLs. Sadly, your weblog reporting software program did not deal with the change effectively and cut up the “view” metrics for single posts between two completely different URLs.

In your spreadsheet, you now have two separate cases of every particular person weblog publish. To get correct knowledge, you must mix the view totals for every of those duplicates.

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As an alternative of getting to manually seek for and mix all of the metrics from the duplicates, you’ll be able to summarize your knowledge (through pivot desk) by weblog publish title.

Voilà, the view metrics from these duplicate posts can be aggregated mechanically.

pivot table examples, combine complex dataImage source

4. Getting an Worker Headcount for Separate Departments

Pivot tables are useful for mechanically calculating issues which you can’t simply discover in a fundamental Excel desk. A type of issues is counting rows that every one have one thing in frequent.

As an illustration, let’s say you have got a listing of workers in an Excel sheet. Subsequent to the workers’ names are the respective departments they belong to. You possibly can create a pivot desk from this knowledge that exhibits you every division’s title and the variety of workers that belong to these departments.

The pivot desk’s automated features successfully remove your activity of sorting the Excel sheet by division title and counting every row manually.

5. Including Default Values to Empty Cells

Not each dataset you enter into Excel will populate each cell. For those who’re ready for brand spanking new knowledge to come back in, you might need a number of empty cells that look complicated or want additional clarification.

That is the place pivot tables are available in.

pivot table examples, combine complex dataImage source


You possibly can simply customise a pivot desk to fill empty cells with a default worth, comparable to $0, or TBD (for “to be decided”). For big knowledge tables, having the ability to tag these cells shortly is a beneficial characteristic when many individuals are reviewing the identical sheet.

To mechanically format the empty cells of your pivot desk, right-click your desk and click on PivotTable Choices.

Within the window that seems, examine the field labeled Empty Cells As and enter what you need displayed when a cell has no different worth.

pivot table examples, empty cells Image source


How one can Create a Pivot Desk

  1. Enter your data into a range of rows and columns.
  2. Sort your data by a specific attribute.
  3. Highlight your cells to create your pivot table.
  4. Drag and drop a field into the “Row Labels” area.
  5. Drag and drop a field into the “Values” area.
  6. Fine-tune your calculations.

Now that you’ve got a greater sense of what pivot tables can be utilized for, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of find out how to really create one.

Step 1. Enter your knowledge into a variety of rows and columns.

Each pivot desk in Excel begins with a fundamental Excel desk, the place all of your knowledge is housed. To create this desk, merely enter your values into a particular set of rows and columns. Use the topmost row or the topmost column to categorize your values by what they characterize.

For instance, to create an Excel desk of weblog publish efficiency knowledge, you might need:

  • A column itemizing every “High Pages.”
  • A column itemizing every URL’s “Clicks.”
  • A column itemizing every publish’s “Impressions.”

We’ll be utilizing that instance within the steps that observe.

pivot table, enter your data into a range of rows and columns.

Step 2. Kind your knowledge by a particular attribute.

When you’ve entered all of your knowledge into your Excel sheet, you’ll wish to kind your knowledge by attribute. This may make your data simpler to handle as soon as it turns into a pivot desk.

To kind your knowledge, click on the Knowledge tab within the high navigation bar and choose the Kind icon beneath it. Within the window that seems, you’ll be able to kind your knowledge by any column you need and in any order.

For instance, to kind your Excel sheet by “Views to Date,” choose this column title below Column after which choose whether or not you wish to order your posts from smallest to largest, or from largest to smallest.

Choose OK on the bottom-right of the Kind window.

Now, you’ve efficiently reordered every row of your Excel sheet by the variety of views every weblog publish has acquired.

pivot table, sort data

Step 3. Spotlight your cells to create your pivot desk.

As soon as you’ve got entered and sorted your knowledge, spotlight the cells you’d wish to summarize in a pivot desk. Click on Insert alongside the highest navigation, and choose the PivotTable icon.

It’s also possible to click on wherever in your worksheet, choose “PivotTable,” and manually enter the vary of cells you need included within the PivotTable.

This opens an choices field. Right here you’ll be able to choose whether or not or to not launch this pivot desk in a brand new worksheet or hold it within the present worksheet, along with setting your cell vary.

For those who open a brand new sheet, you’ll be able to navigate to and away from it on the backside of your Excel workbook. As soon as you’ve got chosen, click on OK.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to spotlight your cells, choose Really helpful PivotTables to the appropriate of the PivotTable icon, and open a pivot desk with pre-set recommendations for find out how to set up every row and column.

pivot table, highlight cells you want to include in the pivot table

Notice: If utilizing an earlier model of Excel, “PivotTables” could also be below Tables or Knowledge alongside the highest navigation, slightly than “Insert.” In Google Sheets, you’ll be able to create pivot tables from the Knowledge dropdown alongside the highest navigation.

Step 4. Drag and drop a area into the “Row Labels” space.

After you’ve got accomplished Step 3, Excel will create a clean pivot desk for you.

The next step is to tug and drop a area — labeled in keeping with the names of the columns in your spreadsheet — into the Row Labels space. This may decide what distinctive identifier the pivot desk will set up your knowledge by.

For instance, as an example you wish to set up a bunch of running a blog knowledge by publish title. To do this, you’d merely click on and drag the “High pages” area to the “Row Labels” space.

pivot table, drag and drop a field into the "Row Labels" area.

Notice: Your pivot desk might look completely different relying on which model of Excel you are working with. Nonetheless, the overall ideas stay the identical.

Step 5. Drag and drop a area into the “Values” space.

As soon as you’ve got established how you are going to set up your knowledge, the next move is so as to add in some values by dragging a area into the Values space.

Sticking with the running a blog knowledge instance, as an example you wish to summarize weblog publish views by title. To do that, you’d merely drag the “Views” area into the Values space.

pivot tables, drag and drop a field into the "Values" area.

Step 6. Fantastic-tune your calculations.

The sum of a specific worth can be calculated by default, however you’ll be able to simply change this to one thing like common, most, or minimal relying on what you wish to calculate.

On a Mac, you are able to do this by clicking on the small i subsequent to a worth within the “Values” space, deciding on the choice you need, and clicking “OK.” When you’ve made your choice, your pivot desk can be up to date accordingly.

For those who’re utilizing a PC, you will have to click on on the small upside-down triangle subsequent to your worth and choose Worth Discipline Settings to entry the menu.

pivot tables,  fine-tune your calculations.

Whenever you’ve categorized your knowledge to your liking, save your work and use it as you please.

Pivot Desk Examples

From managing cash to retaining tabs in your advertising and marketing effort, pivot tables may also help you retain monitor of vital knowledge. The chances are limitless!

See three pivot desk examples under to maintain you impressed.

1. Making a PTO Abstract and Tracker

pivot table examples, pto summaryImage source

For those who’re in HR, operating a enterprise, or main a small crew, managing workers’ holidays is crucial. This pivot permits you to seamlessly monitor this knowledge.

All you must do is import your worker’s identification knowledge together with the next knowledge:

  • Sick time.
  • Hours of PTO.
  • Firm holidays.
  • Additional time hours.
  • Worker’s common variety of hours.

From there, you’ll be able to kind your pivot desk by any of those classes.

2. Constructing a Price range

pivot table examples, budgetImage source

Whether or not you’re operating a challenge or simply managing your individual cash, pivot tables are a wonderful instrument for monitoring spend.

The best finances simply requires the next classes:

  • Date of transaction
  • Withdrawal/Bills
  • Deposit/Revenue
  • Description
  • Any overarching classes (like paid advertisements or contractor charges)

With this data, you’ll be able to see your largest bills and brainstorm methods to avoid wasting.

3. Monitoring Your Marketing campaign Efficiency

pivot table examples, campaign performanceImage source

Pivot tables may also help your crew assess the efficiency of your advertising and marketing campaigns.

On this instance, marketing campaign efficiency is cut up by area. You possibly can simply which nation had the very best conversions throughout completely different campaigns.

This may also help you establish techniques that carry out effectively in every area and the place commercials have to be modified.

Digging Deeper With Pivot Tables

You have now realized the fundamentals of pivot desk creation in Excel. With this understanding, you’ll be able to determine what you want out of your pivot desk and discover the options you’re on the lookout for.

For instance, it’s possible you’ll discover that the info in your pivot desk is not sorted the best way you need. If so, Excel’s Kind operate may also help you out. Alternatively, it’s possible you’ll want to include knowledge from one other supply into your reporting, wherein case the VLOOKUP operate might turn out to be useful.

Editor’s be aware: This publish was initially printed in December 2018 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

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