Pivot Tables in 5 Minutes

by Hannah Sharron, Spreadsheeto


Never used pivot tables before in Microsoft Excel and want to learn how? Look no further because in this short article, we are going to show you how to create your first pivot table in less than 5 minutes.

Step 1:

Assuming the data you want to pivot has column headers (this is a requirement), select any cell in your data range and then find the Tables group on the Insert tab in the ribbon. Then click on PivotTable.

Step 2:

Click OK in the Create PivotTable dialog that opens (leave the default settings unchanged).

Once you click OK, a new worksheet with a blank pivot table will now be visible. On the right side of the worksheet, there should be a Field List visible.

If you do not see the PivotTable Fields section, first make sure you have selected a cell within the interior of the pivot table area in the upper left section of the worksheet. If it still does not appear, navigate to the Show group on the Analyze tab and click on Field List to make sure its background is dark gray.

Step 3:

Now we will select our first data point to pull into the pivot table. Let’s pull Product into the Rows area.

You can simply drag and drop fields to any of the areas. Now we will begin to see our pivot table take shape.

Step 4:

Now let’s drag and drop Month Name into the Columns area.

Now we have a second dimension to our pivot table.

Step 5:

Now we will drag and drop Sales into the Values area.

This now gives us a pivot table that shows us monthly Sales by Product.

Note that our sales amounts are not in currency format. In order to fix this, simply click on Sum of Sales in the Values area of the PivotTable Fields list and then click on Value Field Settings.

In the Value Field Settings dialog box that appears, click on the Number Format button at the bottom left.

In the Format Cells dialog that appears, select Currency (or Accounting) and click OK.

Then click OK again back in the Value Field Settings dialog box. This will now format the pivot table accordingly.

Inserting a simple pivot table is very easy and you have just learned how to create your first one in less than 5 minutes. This is a good start. Experiment by placing different data fields into the different areas to see what is possible. For a deeper dive into pivot tables, be sure to visit Spreadsheeto for a full guide on how to use pivot tables.