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Understanding PivotTables

A PivotTable uses two-dimensional data to create a three-dimensional table—in essence, a summary table based on multiple conditions that have intersecting points. PivotTables are a great way to summarize large amounts of information in a small amount of space, with just a few short steps. They're interactive in that, after the PivotTable is created, you can drag a field to another location, thus pivoting the structure of the table with a single step.

PivotTables are often viewed as too complex to understand, but they're not that complicated if you think in terms of an automated summary table. You could write a formula to sum a quantity with multiple conditions, or you could use a PivotTable to summarize the data. Both are effective tools, but the advantage of the PivotTable is its flexibility to view the detail that makes up the total number.


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