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Using Microsoft Excel

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 PivotTable icon on the far left.
  2. Excel will guess 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, where the "PivotTable Fields" pane will also appear.

  1. To create the pivot table, choose fields from the pane that you want to have displayed in the report.
  2. To move fields to different areas (Filters, Columns, Rows, Values), drag the fields to different areas OR click the pulldown arrow next to each and choose where to move them to. 
  3. Click the pulldown arrow next to each item and choose Value Field Settings in order to change the name of the field, how you would like to summarize values, and/or how to show the values in the pivot table. 
  4. Click on the arrow next to Row Labels in the pivot table to filter and sort.
  5. If you change your data on the source spreadsheet, be sure to click on the Refresh icon in the Data group under the PivotTable Tools Analyze ribbon (Excel 2016 offers an Analyze ribbon rather than an Options ribbon seen in older versions).