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When you display your data in a Pivot Table, you might want to display all of the rows in the Pivot Table but change the order in which they are displayed. In this Pivot Table, for example, I have revenue for two companies, FirmA and FirmB, broken out by year and by month. At present, the Pivot Table is sorted by Year and then by Month and in the column areas we have FirmA and FirmB, which is the alphabetical order for those two company names. The data in the body of the Pivot Table occurs in the order mandated by the Year, the Month and the Companies. There is no internal order to it. But let's say that you wanted to display the highest monthly revenue values within the body of the Pivot Table.
To do that, you can click any cell in the column by which you want to sort. In this case, I will make it FirmA for 2008, and then on the toolbar click either Sort in ascending order, which puts the lowest values on top and the highest values on the bottom, or in descending order, which puts the highest values on top and the lowest values on the bottom. I want to see the highest values on top, so I will click in descending order and Excel reorganizes the Pivot Table data. Now notice that it only sorted for FirmA.
I have 128, 119, 108 and so on. All the values in this column for 2008 are in descending order. The values for FirmB are not. That's because this column, the column that was clicked when I sorted the data, controls the sorting operation. One other interesting thing to note is that the Month order: March, December, September, and so on, has been carried down to the 2009 group where we have March, December, and September as well. It's just the nature of how Excel 2008 sorts data within a Pivot Table. Let's suppose that I wanted to sort the data in ascending order, which has the lowest values on top of a column.
For this, I can click the top of the FirmB column for 2008 and then on the toolbar, click Sort in ascending order. And Excel sorts the data as I asked. If you want to undo a sorting operation, you can just go up to the toolbar and click Undo. If you wanted to return this Pivot Table to its original order by month, you need to create a custom list. I'll teach you how to do that in the next lesson, which is called Creating a Custom Sort Order. Sorting a Pivot Table moves the data you want to highlight to the top of the Pivot Table enabling you to concentrate on the values you want to focus on and make better decisions.
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