Pivot Tables

Excel 2007's pivot table facilities have also been improved. Pivot tables are often thought to be too difficult to use effectively unless you're an expert, but they can be very handy and aren't too tricky to set up with the new tools.

As the name might suggest, a pivot table pivots data round, so you can look at it in different ways. For example, we maintain a worksheet of the results of printer reviews, showing model names, types of printer and all-in-one, cost, page print costs and overall score. This is handy when you're trying to maintain a balance between the different types of printer tested, but it's not so helpful if, for example, you want to compare all the inkjet all-in-ones on price and results, but exclude the other types.

A pivot table is ideal for this as it swings the data round, so items that were originally in columns end up in rows and vice versa. In the new Pivot Table Field List palette you can drag data items between filter, label and value selectors, to show the exact data you want in the places you want. At the same time as pivoting the data, you can add filters, so bracket it. The whole idea behind pivot tables is to use them to summarise the data in a larger worksheet and bring out the trends for further analysis.

In our example, we can set up a pivot table to list the all-in-ones alphabetically, by price or ranked by overall score. We can create different tables for different purposes, too, using the same data, but filtering it in different ways. It makes it a lot easier, for example, when it comes to select winners for the TrustedReviews Awards.


This video shows how to create graphs and charts quickly and easily, making your sheets look good, even when the figures don't!


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