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Using Microsoft Excel

This guide explains the basics of common features in Microsoft Excel for PC.

What are Pivot Tables?

A pivot table is a way to summarize and view large amounts of raw data in an easy to read format. The pivot table doesn’t change your raw data, but rather creates a new view of it. The information below shows examples of what can be done with pivot tables, but keep in mind there are many more things you can do with pivot tables than what we cover.


Selecting the Data

  1. Put your cursor anywhere in your data set (you don’t have to select it all), then go to the Insert Ribbon and click on the Pivot table icon to the far left.

  2. Excel will guess at which data should be included; if it’s wrong, select the correct data in the Table/Range: field of the Create PivotTable dialog box.

  3. It’s most common to put the pivot table in a new sheet, but you could change the radio button in the Choose where you want the PivotTable report to be placed section of the dialog box. Click OK.


Creating the Report

When you click OK, you will be brought to a new sheet that lists your column headings to the right side of the screen and a box that suggests how to build the pivot table.

  1. To create the pivot table, choose fields from the upper right that will display in the report.

  2. Click on the pulldown arrow next to the item in the Values area to change the function.

  3. Click on the arrow next to the Row Labels to filter and sort.

  4. If you change your data on the source spreadsheet, be sure to click on the Refresh icon in the PivotTable Tools Options Ribbon.