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Chapter 25. Using PivotTables and PivotC... > How PivotTable and PivotChart Report...

How PivotTable and PivotChart Reports Work

PivotTables and PivotCharts are powerful tools for automatically summarizing and analyzing data without ever having to add a formula or function. PivotTables let you sort, group, and calculate totals for even enormous amounts of information with ridiculous ease. PivotTable reports are best for cross-tabulating lists—the more categories, the better. You can reduce a list of thousands of items to a single line, showing totals by category or quarter. Or you can create complex, multilevel groupings that show total sales by employee, grouped by product category and by quarter. You can hide or show detail for each group with a quick double-click. You can change the view or grouping in literally seconds, just by dragging items on or off the sheet and moving them between row, column, and page fields.

PivotTable reports are not appropriate for structured worksheets that already include totals and groupings. A budget worksheet with each row in its own category and each month in its own column is nearly impossible to manipulate in a PivotTable. On the other hand, if you simply enter the raw data in a list (or import it from an external database), with each row containing a month, department, budget category, and amount, you can easily re-create that same layout in PivotTable form—and you'll have many more analytical options available to you later.


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