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Before I get into the details of how to create and manipulate Pivot Tables, I'd like to demonstrate a few of the ways Pivot Tables help you analyze your worksheet data. A Pivot Table looks a lot like a regular worksheet with rows and columns of data, labels, sub totals and grand totals. But what Pivot Tables enable you to do is change the structure of your data to emphasize different aspects of that data. As an example, take a look at the Pivot Table that I have in the worksheet currently on your screen. You'll see that I have revenue data for two companies: FirmA and FirmB, broken out by month over two years: 2008 and 2009.
A Pivot Table's structure consists of four separate areas. On the left side we have the rows area, which in this case contains the year and month fields. The Pivot Table uses year and month to determine which values appear in which rows inside the Pivot Table. There is also the columns area. The field Company is currently in the columns area. We have FirmA and FirmB. Those two values determine the organization of data within the Pivot Table's columns. The third major area of your Pivot Table is the data area, and that is the body of the Pivot Table, and it contains the values from the source data table.
The fourth area of the Pivot Table, which I am not using here, is the Page Fields area. You use the Page Fields area to filter your Pivot Table using values that do not change the organization of your Pivot Table. The real value of a Pivot Table is that it enables you to reorganize your data dynamically. So, for example, let's suppose that I wanted to see each company's performance by year, broken out by month. Right now, I have it by year and month, and then by company. If I want to change the emphasis of my data, I can drag the Year field below Company and the Pivot Table reorganizes the data with this different emphasis.
Now if I want to see how FirmA and FirmB did in 2008 by month, I can do so fairly easily. I can also limit the data that appears inside of a Pivot Table. So, for example, if I want to show data only for FirmA, I click a cell that contains FirmA or FirmB. As long as I select a value from the same field by which I want to filter, I am fine. I'll go up to the PivotTable toolbar. Click the PivotTable button. Click Field Settings, and then within the Pivot Table Field dialog box I can select which value I want to hide.
In this case, I want to see values only from FirmA, so I will hide values for FirmB and then I'll click OK. The Pivot Table in this new configuration only shows values for FirmA. I hope this brief demonstration has given you a feel for Pivot Table's capabilities. In the remaining lessons in this course, I'll go into much more detail on how to create and manipulate Pivot Tables and the data they contain.
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