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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 advantages of the PivotTable is its flexibility to view the detail that makes up the total number and its ease in performing numerous calculations without your ever typing a formula.


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