Excel Pivot Tables Tutorial : What is a Pivot Table and How to Make one
Excel pivot tables are very useful and powerful feature of MS Excel. They can be used to summarize, analyze, explore and present your data.
In plain English, it means, you can take the sales data with columns like salesman, region and productwise revenues and use pivot tables to quickly find out how products are performing in each region.
In this tutorial, we will learn what is a pivot table and how to make a pivot table using excel.
Click here to see a video tutorial of making pivot tables in excel  One more Pivot Table Video Tutorial
Example uses of Pivot Tables
As I said before pivot tables are very powerful and useful. There are numerous uses of pivot tables that we can talk about them until Christmas.
Here are some example uses of pivot tables:
 Summarizing data like finding the average sales for each region for each product from a product sales data table.
 Listing unique values in any column of a table [learn more]
 Creating a pivot report with subtotals and custom formats
 Making a dynamic pivot chart
 Filtering, sorting, drillingdown data in the reports without writing one formula or macro.
 Transposing data – i.e. moving rows to columns or columns to rows. [learn more]
 Linking data sources outside excel and be able to make pivot reports out of such data.
Excel Pivot Table Tutorial: How to create your first pivot table
Let us make your first pivot table. We will use example data in the following format. Download the excel pivot tables tutorial workbook with the data.
Step 1: Select the data
Select the data range from which you want to make the pivot table.
Step 2: Go to Insert ribbon and click on new Pivot table option
To insert a new pivot table in to your spreadsheet, go to Insert ribbon and click pivot table icon and select pivot table option.
Step 3: Select the target cell where you want to place the pivot table. For starters, select New worksheet.
Excel will display a pivot table wizard where you can specify the pivot table target location etc. Select “New worksheet” option and your pivot table will be placed in newly created worksheet.
Step 4: Make your first pivot report
The pivot report UI is very intuitive and sandbox like. To make powerful analysis, all you have to do is drag and drop fields in to the pivot table grid area. In excel 2007, you can also control this by using the “Pivot table panel”.
The pivot report is divided in to header and body sections. You can drag and drop the fields you want in each area. The body itself contains three parts. Rows, Columns and Cells. You can use any fields in these areas too.
For the above sample data, I have set this criteria:
And the outcome is this pivot report.
It might be a bit difficult to understand how this works. But believe me, if you have seen any reports or worked with any other reporting systems, then the idea of pivot tables, pivot reports and pivot charts becomes quite simple to you.
You can use the excel pivot table features to make a more complicated pivot report like this in no time.
Some useful tips on Excel Pivot Tables
 You can apply any formatting to the pivot tables. MS Excel has some very good pivot table formats (and they are better in Excel 2007 and 2010).
 You can easily change the pivot table summary formulas. Right click on pivot table and select “summarize data by” option.
 You can also apply conditional formatting on pivot tables although you may want to be a bit careful as pivot tables scale in size depending on the data.
 Whenever the original data from which pivot tables are constructed, just right click on the pivot table and select “Refresh Data” option.
 If you want to drill down on a particular summary value, just double click on it. Excel will create a new sheet with the data corresponding to that pivot report value. (This is extremely useful)
 Making a pivot chart from a pivot table is very simple. Just click on the pivot chart icon from tool bar or Options ribbon area and follow the wizard.
 More Pivot Table Tips & Tricks
Download the excel pivot tables tutorial workbook and practice yourself
Click here to download the excel pivot tables tutorial workbook. [ 20072013 version of tutorial here]
The workbook has sample data and one pivot table in it. You can play with it to learn more.
Checkout the video tutorial to make excel pivot tables
Click here to see a video tutorial of making pivot tables in excel  One more Pivot Table Video Tutorial
Share your experiences of using pivot tables
Tell me how you use pivot tables, your favorite tricks using comments.
Join Excel School & Learn Pivot Tables, Data Analysis & More
I run an online Excel training program called as Excel School where you can learn Pivot tables, data analysis, dashboard reporting, charting, formulas and so much more in a stepbystep fashion.
Learn more about Excel School.
 
 

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135 Responses to “Excel Pivot Tables Tutorial : What is a Pivot Table and How to Make one”
Nice clear article, good to see someone else trumpeting the value of pivot tables. If you read this and are still not sure, you can learn by video:
Excel 2003 version
Excel 2007 version
It is well worth making the effort to learn pivot tables – you won’t look back once you do.
thanks for solving querries
[...] week we have posted a simple to understand excel pivot table tutorial here. Today I am going to supplement the tutorial with a 15 second video tutorial on Making excel [...]
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Dear Expert,
How can I replace the “Sum of” to “Different of” in a pivot table? I have a set of data that consists of both 2007 and 2008 sales, however these info were in one same column that name “period”. Could you kindly show me the formula that I can add into the Pivot table to show the comparisions?
Thanks a zillion
Hi Chandoo,
Well structured and presented as usual.
I’m doing a lot with pivot tables. What I am looking for is a tool where you can change the data directly in the pivot table.
Do you have an idea?
br, Meikel
I want to apply the same type of pivot table to a different file I get each month (but same format and type of data). Can I “save” a custom pivot table format ? (excel 2003)
Thanks
I had the same question and posted it here: http://www.mrexcel.com/forum/excelquestions/711089templatesformattingpiovttables.html#post3507642 – by any chance, you got your reply?
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hi chandoo,
thanks. it was very simple and clear. really it is very usefull. it was well presented. great job.
Thanks for posting this info. I’ve been struggling with pivot tables for some time now and this has cleared up a lot of my confusion. Nice job.
@Louis… yes, you can save custom pivot formats…
@Srikant & TMS: thank you very much. I am happy you liked this tutorial.
[...] (If you are not familiar with basic pivot tables, you should check out this excellent pivot tables tutorial) [...]
[...] multiple locations divided into various regions. It is recommended that you be familiar with the concept of pivot tables and also familiar with basic accounting [...]
Will this cover Excel 97 and Excel 2002?
@Jeremiah… The steps are more or less similar in Excel 2002. I dont remember Excel 97 so cant say for it.
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[...] 23: Introduction to Excel Pivot Tables [...]
I have two data point per condition, is it possible to display both the data points either bewlo one another or next to each other in a pivot table. If so, how would i do it.
Since right now I can just display average, count or sum but not the actual raw data points.
Also can we have error bar in the pivot chart for a bar graph?
thanks for the help
mantataf excelnya…………….. top markotop
[...] can make a pivot report from the data and then group dates in that to find totals by [...]
My question is:
I have a body of data that I have placed in a pivot table.. I understand how to manipulate it to shpow me eithert the min, sum, average etccc of the data
however I dont know how I can have the pivot table express 2 different options like the min and the average??
in the corresponding chart i would like to see the min amount in each period however I would like for the graph to also show me the average in each period
for example the min would be displayed as a bar chart and the avg would be a line running through,
can anyone help me with this??
@MichaelG: Just add the value field again to the “value field area” of pivot table. Now set value field settings to change the summary type to “average” for first value and “min” for second value. That is all.
gr8
[...] Chandoo’s Pivot Table Tutorial: http://chandoo.org/wp/2009/08/19/excelpivottablestutorial/ [...]
i want to learn excel, best and also focus on audit and accounts point of view so pls suggest me what should i do?
is there any simple but strong book or any other on line site for it.
Hi Hemant,
I am a qualified accountant with excel skills wanting to help fellow accountants.
The area you should focus on are:
1. Pricing
2. Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
3. Variance analysis
If you have specific questions I am happy to answer them.
Thanks,
Rennie
http://pivottabletips.com/
@Hemant: Try one of these books Excel Accounting books
PS: I have not read any of them
Its a great skill to present these complicated thing in such an easy way.
I tried a lots of Ebooks from online non of them give me currect use of pivot table but ur presentation helped me a lot. Good Job.
Thanks a lot.
how to create pivot table,macros, vlookups with examples please send
In reply to Rajesh:
I recently posted the following post that has links to video tutorials on pivot tables, vlookups amd macros:
Top 5 Tips to make Excel Spreadsheets work for you
I hope they’re helpful.
[...] Introduction to Pivot Tables – Tutorial [...]
Excellent information! My congratulations on this post. However, I was wondering how to edit a pivot table, because I’m having troubles on a pivot table I created four days ago… My pivot table is doing just fine (it’s a list of people to an event I’m organizing), but I’d like to add the information of a column I forgot to include days ago.
This pivot table has the people who’s most likely to come in a row category named “Yes”, and the ones that are most likely not coming on a row category named “No”. The pivot table shows the results of these two categories (final add of “yes” and “no”, both separately and altogether), and the names of each people on the “yes” and “no” category, but I’d like to add their email information just beside the name of the person who’s coming and not coming without messing up the final total of the “yes” and “no” adding…
I tried editing all the conventional way (dragging and dropping the “email” tag on the pivot table I once did), but it says I can’t overwrite (?) a pivot table with another pivot table (when I say “overwrite” I mean some verb that sounds like it but I’m not sure… My Excel software launches these alerts in spanish, since english is not my native language). I also tried dragging the “email” tag to other parts of the pivot table but final result is not the one I’m looking for. Can anyone please help me? Thanks in advance.
Hi 6tel,
Add the email column to the source table, this way…
Name Coming email
John Yes John@gmail.com
Ana Yes Ana@gmail.com
Will Yes Will@gmail.com
Albert No Albert@gmail.com
Susan Yes Susan@gmail.com
And then include the email column in the Pivot Table (in the Row Labels area)
You will have a summary report like this one…
Row Labels Count of Name
No 1
Albert@mm.com 1
Yes 4
Ana@mm.com 1
John@mm.com 1
Susan@mm.com 1
Will@mm.com 1
Grand Total 5
Give a look at this screen I captured for you…
http://www.excelcream.com/images/helpingothers/PivotTableAddField.jpg
Let me know if this helped you?
I still don’t know how to create a pivot table and noone will help me
Wonderful, John. ¡Muchas gracias!
You are welcome!
Very nice tutorial. Your article along with a video I saw on YouTube [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVa7PIDfi5A ] has now made me a champion of pivot tables!
This is a great tutorial with nice graphic to visualize the whole process. I would like to complement this post by pointing you to some great videos that teach you Excel pivot tables: http://www.squidoo.com/excelpivottables
Hope this helps!
Great tutorial…. Very precise & easy to understand. Thank you Chandoo….
Excellent tutorial. I supplemented this to the video @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVa7PIDfi5A .. learned PivotTables in less than 30 mins after struggling for over a week!
I want to prepare a pivot table from data in an excel spreadsheet.
The data table lists activities in Col. A and dates for each of the activities in 2set columns for each project across the sheet.
I want to be able to make a pivot table which will enable me to list activities and projects corresponding to each date.
How can I do this? Will you be able to show me how to if I send you the spreadsheet by email?
Chandu sir,
You have very clearly explanined the pivot tables concept. And, it is very easy learn.I got the confident with one example that you have given, that I can do big things with data pilots. Thank you sir.
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thank u for the useful information
Hi, I am trying to use Pivot and i need the count of a field status (which has options sich as Filled, Offered, Will Hire, Will not Hire, On Hold Positions), now i need a count of these Status under different departments however I don’t want to include the “Will Not Hire” and “On Hold” numbers in the total, can that be done.
@Shalini.. Set up the pivot table with departments in row label area and status in column area, and dropping names in value field to show counts.
Now, just filterout the status codes you do not want by applying filters on column labels.
Here is a nice explanation of a pivot table. You might take a look too.
http://books.zkoss.org/wiki/ZK_Pivottable_Essentials/Quick_Start/Concept
[...] all know that Pivot Tables help us analyze and report massive amount of data in little time. Excel has several useful pivot [...]
Thank you for your help very nice site
Thanks for making such a great site with lots of neat tricks. I’m sorry if this has been covered before, but I couldn’t find it.
I’ve got a speadsheet that has 5 columns of activitytype codes as text data. Column A will always have data, B will usually have data, C sometimes, D rarely and E almost never. Any of the fields can have one of about 15 different activitytype codes in it.
Each time I add a column to the column labels the counts get more and more complicated because it seems to want to add in all of the possibilities of blank cells as well.
It doesn’t matter which column my activities come from, I just want a count of each activity type from the range Column A – Column E.
It seems like this should be doable and simple, but I’m stumped.
Hii 2 all,
an anyone tell me ho eto use pivot table to show two data fieled (with their individual sum) & pivot also show their differences.
Regards
Jatin
@Jatin
Have a look at Chandoo’s
http://chandoo.org/wp/2009/08/19/excelpivottablestutorial/
@Dave Zachritz
You can use Countif
eg:
=COUNTIF(A:E,”Cat”) will count how many times Cat is in Column A to E
=COUNTIF(A:E,F5) will count how many times the value in F5 is in Column A to E
Thanks, Hui.
That’s a good solution, but I need this in a Pivot table. How can I use Countif in that scenario?
@Dave
Add another field to the source of the data and put an IF formula to set a value to 1 when your conditions are met
Then count that field in the PT
Hi Chandoo,
Just love your tutorials! Everything is very easy to understand and follow, well structured and visualized.
Thank you!
Hey all the tips are too helpful and awesome. Keep the good work for us so that we will not find any problem.
Hi!
This post is great. Is there any way to do a pivot table with lots of text? I have a large excel file of comments from a survey that I would like to sort out. Can excel give me trending information or somehow help me sort the comments?
Thanks!
i have to add two colum labels and also grand total . how to create in pivot tables, pls send any example to my mail id varma.hema25@gmail.com
[...] is beyond the scope for this post. However, you can find a good tutorial on Pivot Tables here or here. Figure 2 – vLookup for Zip [...]
i want to be a expert in excel but how i can be good in excel? can you please help me out? with excel how many operations or work i can do? please tell me.
Excellent tutorial. Was able to learn pivot tables in less than 30 minutes. Greatly appreciate this.
1) In excel 2007 I am not able to display field adjacent coloumn in pivot table.
Ex. Product and description to be displayed to gether as on line then display as qty.
This able to do in excel 2003 but not in 2007.
2) Not able to convert xls file to dbf direct saving method in excel 2007.
Please help
regards
shankar
how to use pivot table & their uses
Hi Chandoo,
I have data written to excel through Java code into the columns say for eg as the shown above i.e. “Salesman, Region, Product, Revenues..etc”. Is there any means to create the pivot table and pivot chart dynamically through code ? such tat any time i run the java code stores new data to excel sheet and generates the pivot table n pivot chart for that automatically.
Further, once the data is written on to excel, can we refresh the pivot table n chart automatically through code ? if yes please suggest OR if there is any means to refresh automatically in excel which updates the pivot table n chart accordingly.
–
Thanks,
Manohar
thanks for gide line. thanks ……………………………………………………………………………
Thanks Chandoo! This helped me prep for an interview I have tomorrow. Keep up the good work!
hello, I have a data which includes students name, date of joining (year,month and date), fees paid and invoice number. i want to prepare a pivot table which shows me the details like the total number of students joined in each month of every year. Im not able to get it. Can you please help me out. y ID supi.roses@gmail.com
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hiii cahndoo i really appreciated u for give the excellent knowledge of excel it will help lots of people like me as i learn from your knowledge i feel very happy thanks for gide line. thanks
[...] Excel Pivot Table Tutorial 237,003 [...]
Hello, Jack Wilsons,
I liked your April 2, 2011 ZK documentation. God bless you.
Thanks for the info.
I love the catchphrase on the logo.
Also, the data provided is great. I am taking the expert exam soon, and need something to experiment with. Thanks!
Hi does anyone know how to drill down on a pivot table and instead of the data generating on a new tab, I want the data to be in the same tab as my pivot. e.g. Cell B40.
I have a second pivot table in that tab, and when i double click it, i want the drilldown data to be placed immediately after the dilldown data from the first pivot.
Is there a way of doing this? Your help is much appreciated!
[...] links that might help Excel Pivot Tables Tutorial : What is a Pivot Table and How to Make one  Chandoo.org – Learn Micros… Excel Blog – Using PowerPivot with Excel 2010 my 2 cents [...]
[...] Great tutorial with practice files http://chandoo.org/wp/2009/08/19/excelpivottablestutorial/ [...]
Hi,
I am trying to learn pivot table making adn I came across this website. I followed your instructions. I have 3 columns with student scores in 3 respective tests. I am making a pivot table and pivot chart in EXCEL 2010. Student number may change for each test. However, if I update my existing data columns to include 10 more students, the pivot table and chart do not update the additional values despite clicking ‘refresh’ many times. The data defines still is what was originally set up. Could you tell me what I am missing out here?
Thanks much
Art
@Art
Unfortunately Pivot Tables do not natively expand as you add data.
And Microsoft, I think this is a shortcoming in the Pivot Table model
You have 2 options:
1. Select the Pivot Table
goto the Pivot Table Tools, Option Tab
Select Change Data Source
Update the range manually
2. Use a Named Formula to define the Data Source
Instead of using a Range as the source for the data use a Named Formula like:
=OFFSET(Sheet1!$A$1,,,COUNTA(Sheet1!$A:$A),COUNTA(Sheet1!$!:$1))
Then as you add data
Right Click on the Pivot Table, Refresh
Thanks, Hui
The “OFFSET” function is really helpful
how to use pivot table & their uses.
Hai Am new in the use of Pivot tables but am enjoying. How can i have repeated colum labels but with different functions e.g count and sum.
see:
A B C D
withdrawal Deposit Withdrawal Deposit
Count Count Sum Sum
Great
An excellent excel learning…..
Thank you Purna
prasad
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@Hui,
but when i tried keying the below function
=OFFSET(Sheet1!$A$1,,,COUNTA(Sheet1!$A:$A),COUNTA(Sheet1!$!:$1)) it shows:
data source reference is not valid. why is this so?
@Ko
Looking at your pasted formula you have
=OFFSET(Sheet1!$A$1,,,COUNTA(Sheet1!$A:$A),COUNTA(Sheet1!$!:$1))
It is either the last Counta which is: COUNTA(Sheet1!$!:$1)
Should be : COUNTA(Sheet1!$1:$1)
or Sheet1 is the wrong name
Hello sir, i want to make the pivot chart in ex.2010
so pls give me the link from where i can understand how to make this char…i have no any knowledge about this…….
[...] 2002): Office 2010 Class #36: Excel PivotTables Pivot Tables 15 examples (Data Analysis) – YouTube Excel Pivot Tables Tutorial : What is a Pivot Table and How to Make one  Chandoo.org – Learn Micros… Excel Pivot Table — Dynamic Data [...]
Hello,
Thanks for this great site Chandoo.
Just to add a (still) missing feature in Excel pivot tables: count of unique elements.
I did code some vba to paste to the pivot tables calculates the unique count.
http://lazyvba.blogspot.com/2010/11/improveyourpivottabletocount.html
Hoping it can help users who want to get unique count quickly, or people who wants to get interested in vba coding for pivots ( lot of fun and possibilities)
have a great day.
Lazyvba
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Thanks,
This post was really helpful!
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You are awsme man…:)
Very Nice presentation. Thanks for sharing
Excel file name itself contains all letters of April fool…..hahahahh…awesoe chandoo and your microsoft friend…..@
Not just the file name. Even my (imaginary) Microsoft friend’s name is an anagram for April fool.
hi dear, its very helpful to new user. Any one can learn easely from this example.
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Dear Friends,
Anyone can you explain me about
What is the use of Pivot Tabla and when it will uses
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Pivot tables makes it easy to organize and extract information from a large tables of data without the use of formulas in Excel
Nice explanation!
thank you
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hello, thanks for this tutorial! I was having problem with my pivot table and it was really helpful! great blog about excel!
best regards!
[...] Hi, Have you seen the ExcelIsFun videos: Office 2010 Class #36: Excel PivotTables Pivot Tables 15 examples (Data Analysis) – YouTube In the description there is a link to where you can get the files. Also maybe try this tutorial on Chandoo.org, which includes a sample workbook: Excel Pivot Tables Tutorial : What is a Pivot Table and How to Make one  Chandoo.org – Learn Micros… [...]
Hi,
I am trying to add conditional formatting to a pivot table and am getting an error “Cannot apply a conditional format to a range that has cells outside of a PivotTable data region. Make sure that all the cells are in your selection are inside the PivotTable data region.”. I want to enter the emp# in O1 and based I want to highlight the complete row/record in the pivot table. Data is in the same sheet from $A:$K and pivot table is at N4. Can someone please help me on this?
Thanks and regards,
Pradeep D
THANK YOU! Now I understand pivot tables!
I constantly spent my half an hour to read this website’s articles everyday along with a cup of coffee.
[...] Windows For 2. PErsonally, I would suggest trying a Pivot table and seeing what that gets you. Excel Pivot Tables Tutorial : What is a Pivot Table and How to Make one  Chandoo.org – Learn Micros… You can summarize by Account Expiry time and filter for everyone with more than one position on [...]
Thank you so much Chandoo. It’s a great site to learn Pivot online for a bigginer. The success of this site is in giving a feeling that pivot is quite simple to work on and use.
Great job. thank you so much. cheers.
thanks…!!! : )
WOW! This really helped me a lot THANKS
Anyone have a good work around to the problem of not being able to use Pivot tables in a shared document. I built a spreadsheet where 5 different locations are entering data but we can’t use pivot unless we unshare the document first which defeats the purpose.
plzzz teach me pivot excell table…
Hi Community, it is the first time I see this level of knowledge shared around Pivot table.
Unfortunataley, I have not found the way to cover one need I have for a long time.
Let me explain :
I have a list of Ticket number, their opened date and their closed date.
I would like to get a pivot counting number of tickets opened and closed grouped by days for example.
I can count the number of tickets opened and the number of tickets closed. But I do not know how to have both entries in the same chart.
Here a sample of my data :
Case Number Opened Date Closed Date
7465186 04/01/2010 11/12/2010
7476194 11/01/2010 11/12/2010
7477523 11/01/2010 11/12/2010
7491526 15/01/2010 11/12/2010
7603990 10/03/2010 15/04/2013
7603991 10/03/2010 15/04/2013
7625938 22/03/2010 11/12/2010
7634930 26/03/2010 11/12/2010
7672871 21/04/2010 11/12/2010
7681605 28/04/2010 15/12/2010
7681607 28/04/2010 15/12/2010
7681610 28/04/2010 15/12/2010
Any thought ?
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I like reading through a post that can make people think.
Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!
Look into my website; install metal roof – Mollie,
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Its Really really Details learning system.
thanks & keep it up.
1.Can you directly change the data in a PivoTable? If not, how do you change the data?
2. Which PivotTable feature is used to easily identify the current filters applied to the data?
Are there any examples of pivot tables that don’t use sales data? I’m not a businessman, and sales info just doesn’t resonate with me.
I do a lot of timeseries data collection and have to reduce large quantities of data, but I’m not sure how the pivot table can help.
For example, I have a year of weather data on an hour basis, with 8 different parameters. Can a pivot table help me organize this data set? I can’t get my mind around this.
Thanks
Thank you for your guidance. my reports have a new format and meaning. I love to think with charts and graphs
[…] Chandoo – Excel Pivot Table Tutorial Chandoo gives a good overview of pivot tables, with helpful tips and links. […]
A question please.
In the tutorial workbook, I notice that when the filter selections are changed and the pivot table shrinks, that the cells around the new table maintain the white background.
Can anyone explain how to do this? When I create a pivot tbale and the size changes, the surrounding area loses the background color and shows the default formatting with grid.
I have searched online and when I have found a similar question on other boards, it was not answered.
Many thanks, in advance.