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Excel 2007: About PivotTables & PivotCharts

Excel 2007: About PivotTables & PivotCharts

Okay. You already know that PivotTables and PivotCharts are ways to quickly summarize your worksheet data. But, if you’ve never seen a PivotTable in action, I think you’re in for a wonderful surprise. And, if you were one of the unlucky ones trying to create PivotTables in previous versions of Excel, prepare to be amazed at how the technology has improved.

Let’s talk about PivotTables first.

If I haven’t sold you yet, what if I told you that PivotTables make querying large amounts of data extremely user-friendly? So user-friendly, in fact, that you could set it up once and your boss could query the report on his or her own.

Not sold yet? What if I told you that subtotaling and aggregating numeric data can be done by category and subcategory and you can even create custom calculations and formulas on your PivotTable data?

Okay. So that last one wasn’t terribly exciting. But, how’s this one – you can expand and collapse levels of your data to quickly focus your results, and, when needed, you can easily drill down to details.

And, finally, all you need to create a PivotTable is a well-formed list. You heard me right – just a list with data and numbers.

Figure 45. Sample PivotTable

Now, let me fill you in PivotCharts

A PivotChart is just like a PivotTable but in graphical form. And, it’s just as easy to modify the data a PivotChart displays as it is the PivotTable.

PivotCharts have all the same display options as PivotTables. This means, each has four sections: Report, Row, Column and Data.

The Report filter field is the field you use to filter data by specific items. The Report filter essentially controls the data you can filter in the other areas.

Each Row & Column filter field is considered a series. And, this one is pretty literal. Whatever field you assign to Row will display in rows and whatever field you assign to Column will display in columns.

And, finally – Data. This is field that you want your PivotTable and PivotChart to summarize.

Figure 46. Sample PivotChart