Posted On August 2, 2016

We often get feedback from students on our Excel courses that they find Pivot Tables to be the most useful thing they learn. If you’re unfamiliar with them, you may wonder why.

Visualising data helps reveal patterns and problems

A Pivot Table is a powerful analysis tool in Excel that allows you to turn a flat list of meaningless data into a three-dimensional, interactive table. As visuals make information easier to understand, seeing the data this way helps you quickly draw insights and make informed business decisions.

With a Pivot Table or Pivot Chart (a graphical representation) you can also quickly re-organise or Pivot the data in a variety of ways to re-display and summarise the records by any combination of criteria.

The data used to generate the Pivot Table can be taken from an existing spreadsheet table or from tables in a relational database. The Pivot Table or Pivot Chart then becomes your visualisation platform or ‘Dashboard’.

Using a Pivot Table, you can quickly get insights from your data and be able to answer common business questions like “what was our best selling product last month?” or “which of our regions performed best last quarter?”

Turn this…

Pivot Table- Before

Into this!

More flexibility with Power Pivot and Power View

The power and simplicity of Pivot Tables was enhanced in Excel 2010 and then again in Excel 2013, when Microsoft introduced Power Pivot and Power View.

These tools allowed you much more flexibility in the way you connect with and access the records in database tables. You could now create your own Data Model directly in Excel.

What’s a Data Model? It’s a collection of two or more tables of data which can have relationships established between them to enable you to connect, query and extract information from across multiple tables providing access to millions of records.

You can now really turn business information into business intelligence.

Like to know more?

If you want a quick overview of the power of Power Pivot, Pivot Tables and Power View, take a look at this short, 15-minute video from Microsoft.

You can also find out how to create visual dashboards in Excel in this article by one of our specialist trainers, Mark Finney.

Like to learn more?

Why not come along to one of our Excel Advanced courses and learn hands-on how to get the most out of these powerful analysis tools. You can check out the course outlines, available dates and book online here:

We look forward to welcoming you on our next course and helping you turn your business data into business intelligence!