Your First Pivot Table

Let’s create your first pivot table

Click here to download the file used in the video.

Work along with Chris to create your first pivot table.

Excel Pivot Thumb

Pivot tables can be scary! But, if you are not using pivot tables, you are missing out on Excel’s most powerful data analysis facility. Not only can you produce powerful analyses with a few button clicks, but pivot tables will reduce sorting, filtering and fragmentation of data across sheets.

In the video, Chris shows you how to create a simple pivot table. The data comes from the YouTube channel and Chris wishes to examine two metrics at the same time: traffic sources and countries.

The first step is to visualise the pivot table: what should appear in the rows, what should appear in the columns, and what data should appear in the table? At this point, it is a good idea to write down the specific question you are looking to answer. Chris recommends using ‘good old pen and paper’ to formulate the key questions and (literally) sketch out the table layout.

Next, we can select the target data and insert the pivot table. A critical mistake at this point is to exclude the column headers from the selected data; make sure you include the column headers in the selection. The create pivot table dialogue box allows you to position the table on a new or existing sheet – we recommend using ‘new sheet’ for the timebeing.

Now, time to create the table! It can be confusing when you click ‘ok’, yet no table appears. Rather, we are confronted with a blank space labelled ‘pivot table x’, and an unfamiliar interface. Chris shows how to quickly manipulate the interface to get the analysis into the layout you require. Cool!

Did you manage to create the pivot table? What is your application of pivot tables, and how have they helped? Are you experiencing any particular problems? Leave a comment below the video.

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