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Among Excel's arsenal of data analysis tools is a really great feature called PivotTables. That's what we are going to look at in this chapter and I want to give you an overview of what PivotTables are and where you would find them useful. PivotTables are useful when you have a lot of data to analyze and it's not obvious how they relate to each other. In the example here on the screen, we have orders being placed from different regions of the country over different months. We see we have different sized bottles being sold and in each order we can see how many of these bottles are being sold.
If you have thousands and thousands of rows of data like this, it could be hard to make good decisions unless you have them analyzed properly. So PivotTables summarize your data. They turn raw data into useful knowledge that you can do things with. Now if you were to create a PivotTable based on the data that you just saw, this is whatthe PivotTable might look like. Now I know it looks kind of complicated. So let's talk about what the anatomy of this PivotTable is. First thing to look at are the Row Labels and we just said that we're selling to different regions of the country.
So we've taken those particular data points and we've put them into the row labels, because there is only a finite number of regions that we are selling to. We also have column labels and the column labels are also taken from the data that we just saw. We have different sized bottles that we are selling. And where the rubber meets the road is the Summary area. So for example, we know that the central region has bought over 10,000 bottles of the 1 liter size and they have bought over 76,000 bottles of the 2 liter size, because it's summarized.
Now we can have sort of a third dimension to the PivotTable using the report filter. So in addition to our row and column labels, we can also filter by month. PivotTables are flexible. What's the pivoting part of a PivotTable? They are flexible and with just one or two clicks, we can swap columns, rows, and filters. Also we can filter tables interactively with a feature called Slicers and Slicers are new to the 2010 version of Excel. In addition to PivotTables, Excel also has a feature called PivotCharts where we can make a chart of all our data and we will look at PivotCharts also in this chapter.
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