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Chapter 27. Using the Power of Pivot Tables > Understanding Pivot Tables

Understanding Pivot Tables

A pivot table is a device for organizing data. You determine exactly how the data is organized by specifying which fields and items you want to appear in the pivot table. A field is a generic category; an item is an individual value or instance within that category. In the pivot table in Figure 27.6, for instance, District and Grade are fields; the individual districts and grade levels are items.

The source of the data can be a list or table in an Excel worksheet, or even data created in another program. Multiple data sources can feed data into a pivot table. In this chapter, the term list means a list in an Excel worksheet. Terms such as tabular data and multi- column table refer generically to data in tabular form, whether in an Excel worksheet or a file created in another program. External data refers to data created in another program.


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