Hacking PivotTables

Hacks #46-49

PivotTables are one of Excel's most powerful attractions, though many people don't know what they do. PivotTables display and extract a variety of information from a table of data that resides within either Microsoft Excel or another compatible database type. PivotTables are frequently used to extract statistical information from raw data. You can drag around the different fields within a PivotTable to view its data from different perspectives.

The raw data for a PivotTable must be laid out in a classic table format. Row 1 of the table must be headings, with related data directly underneath. The data should not contain blank columns or blank rows. Even if you aren't planning to use PivotTables, keeping your raw data in this format makes it possible for other people to analyze your data with PivotTables.

If you have not yet delved into the world of PivotTables, you should consider doing so. As a starting point, visit http://www.ozgrid.com/Excel/default.htm and work your way through Microsoft's free online tutorial for Excel PivotTables. To learn even more about the benefits of PivotTables as well as how you can create hacks that make PivotTables even more flexible and powerful, read on.

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