Intro to PivotTables

Use pivot tables in Excel for stronger data analysis. This Excel pivot table tutorial also helps you summarize data.

Pivoting data

One of the best things about PivotTables is that they can quickly pivot—or reorganize—your data, allowing you to examine your worksheet in several ways. Pivoting data can help you answer different questions and even experiment with your data to discover new trends and patterns.

To add columns:

So far, our PivotTable has only shown one column of data at a time. In order to show multiple columns, you'll need to add a field to the Columns area.

  1. Drag a field from the Field List into the Columns area. In our example, we'll use the Month field.
    adding a column
  2. The PivotTable will include multiple columns. In our example, there is now a column for each person's monthly sales, in addition to the grand total.
    finished pivottable

To change a row or column:

Changing a row or column can give you a completely different perspective on your data. All you have to do is remove the field in question, then replace it with another.

  1. Drag the field you want to remove out of its current area. You can also uncheck the appropriate box in the Field List. In this example, we've removed the Month and Salesperson fields.
    removing fields
  2. Drag a new field into the desired area. In our example, we'll place the Region field under Rows.
    dragging a field
  3. The PivotTable will adjust—or pivot—to show the new data. In our example, it now shows the amount sold by each region.
    finished pivottable

To learn more

Once you're comfortable with PivotTables, check out our Doing More with PivotTables lesson for even more ways to customize and manipulate them.


  1. Open our practice workbook.
  2. Create a PivotTable in a separate sheet.
  3. We want to answer the question What is the total amount sold in each region? To do this, select Region and Order Amount. When you're finished, your workbook should look like this:
    PivotTable 1
  4. In the Rows area, remove Region and replace it with Salesperson.
  5. Add Month to the Columns area.
  6. Change the number format of cells B5:E13 to Currency. Note: You might have to make columns C and D wider in order to see the values.
  7. When you're finished, your workbook should look like this:

    Intro to PivotTables