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Chapter 30. 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. As the name implies, you start with a list in table format, snap the rows and columns into position on a grid, and end up with a sorted, grouped, summarized, totaled, and subtotaled report. 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.

Start with a list that contains multiple fields, and then use Excel's PivotTable Wizard to set up a blank PivotTable page with just a few clicks. Instead of sorting your list and entering formulas and functions, you drag fields around on the PivotTable page to create a new view of your list—Excel groups the data and adds summary formulas automatically. PivotCharts are the visual equivalent of PivotTables, letting you create killer charts just as quickly, by dragging fields on a chart layout page.


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