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PivotTables in Excel

A basic introduction to creating Pivot tables in Excel. 

As usual, there are many better sources of information out there on Pivot Tables, including:

But my own notes below…

PivotTable vs PivotChart


  • PivotTable to summarize data
  • PivotCharts complement them by adding visualizations

So we’re going to start with a PivotTable.

How to create a PivotTable

  • Select the data range you are interested in, and select Data (from the top Menu)-> Summarize with PivotTable
  • In the Field Name area at the top, select the check box for any (numeric) fields you want to add to your PivotTable
  • Drag any (label) fields you want to have as rows to the Rows section
  • Modify how you summarize those rows in the Values section, e.g. average, sum, count etc.

That’s it. You should have a basic Pivot Table in place.

How to redefine the PivotTable range

On a Mac:

  • PivotTable Analyze (in the Excel app, not top, menu)
  • Change Data Source
  • Reselect the range 

Source: Change the source data for a PivotTable (


How to turn the PivotTable into a PivotChart

On a Mac:

  • Select any cell within the PivotTable
  • Select the PivotTable Analyze tab -> PivotChart
  • That will generate the chart for you
  • To customize, go to the Design tab and, for example, select
    • Change Chart Type
    • options from Quick Layout 
  • Just as with regular charts in Excel, you can also click on various chart sections and right-click -> Format Data Series/Legend/Title etc. Clicking the center of the chart and selecting Format Data Labels is particularly useful.


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