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Demystify Pivot Tables with This Training Guide

What is a Pivot Table?

A Pivot Table is a table that we can use for analyzing, summarizing, and calculating data that enables us to visualize trends, comparisons, and patterns in our data in a condensed manner. A Pivot Table is useful for organizing a large amount of data in Microsoft Excel.

Figure 1- Created Pivot Table

Components of a Pivot Table

A Pivot Table is made of:

  • Rows
  • Columns
  • Data fields
  • Pages

We can move these components around and it helps us to isolate, sum, expand, and place data into groups in real time.

Employing the Pivot Table

When we have a particular data (the Data must be labeled with headings) that has been labeled, the Pivot Table converts each header of the data into a data option that can be manipulated by us. We have the liberty to remove or add columns containing data.

Benefits of Using the Pivot Table


  • Ease of Use – Pivot tables are easy to understand. We can easily summarize our data by dragging the columns to our chosen section of the table.


  • Easy Data Analysis – We can analyze a “super-bulky” data with Pivot Tables in one fell swoop. Pivot Tables enables us to filter data we do not want from a large data.


  • Quick and Easy Summary of Data – Pivot Tables helps us to reduce a bulky data that is difficult to understand into a comprehensible piece. We can quickly make an informed summary of our data with Pivot Tables.  


  • Forecasting – With Pivot Tables, we can see trends or patterns in our data. With this, we can make an accurate forecast.


  • External Source Link Integration – Apart from creating reports quickly and saving time, Pivot Tables allows us to make use of links from external sources.

How to Create a Pivot Table in Excel

The steps below will walk through the process of Inserting a Pivot Table in Excel.

Setting up the Data

  • We will create a Pivot Table with the Data in figure 2.

Figure 2 – Setting up the Data

Creating the Pivot Table

  • We will select the range (B3:C13) of the table
  • We will click on the Insert tab and click on Pivot Table

Figure 3- Clicking on Pivot Table

Figure 4- Creating the Pivot Table

  • We will click on OK to create the Pivot Table in a New Worksheet
  • We will select the fields we want to add to the Pivot Table

Figure 5- Created Pivot Table

  • We can also add a little change to the Pivot Table by dragging the Sales ($) in the Choose fields to add to report to the COLUMNS beside FILTERS

Figure 6- Pivot Table



  • We can click on anywhere on the table, click on the Insert tab, and click on Table as shown in figure 3.


Figure 7- Alternative method of Creating a Pivot Table

  • We will click on OK

Figure 8- Alternative method of Creating a Pivot Table

  • Once we have this table (this is not the Pivot Table), we can either follow the process of figure 3 to insert the Pivot Table or Click on “Summarize with PivotTable” below Insert as shown in figure 8. We will arrive at figure 4 and can proceed as already discussed.


  • Under “Choose where you want the PivotTable report to be placed”, we can specify the location where we want the worksheet to be placed. Assuming we select “Existing Worksheet”, a valid location will be an unoccupied cell in the existing worksheet, e.g. Sheet1!$D$3
  • No cell within the range of the table should be completely left blank

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