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You can use pivot tables to summarize huge data sets but the downside of that capability is that you can create pivot tables that are too large to display on your monitor without scrolling. When you are interested in a subset of your data, you can filter the pivot table to limit which data appears within it. The way that I prefer to filter data within a pivot table is to use the headers over here in the Pivot Table Field List. You will notice when you hover your mouse pointer over a field header, a black down triangle appears in the right corner. So if you click that, you will see a list of options.
So you have sorting and you have various types of filters available to you. If you want to select which value is up here in your pivot table, you can go down here to the selection area, clear Select All which clears all of the checkboxes and then select the item or items that you want to appear. Just click the one you want, click OK and Excel filters your pivot table. Now notice that the Pivot Table Field List task pane disappeared because the cell that was selected before is no longer in the pivot table because the filtering made the pivot table smaller.
But if you click any cell in the pivot table, the Pivot Table Field List comes right back. If you want to remove a filter, you can click the same field header and notice that the funnel next to the down triangle appears to indicate that there is a filter applied. So just click the triangle and you can either click Clear filter from "Year" or in this case, you can click Select All. Clear filter from "Year" will clear whichever kind of filter you have set. So you can click that and your data comes back. There is another type of filtering that you can do in Excel 2007 and that is called the Report Filter.
You can see the Report Filter field here in the Pivot Table Field List fields area. When you add a field to the Report Filter area, Excel allows you to use that field to filter the pivot table data but it does not change the arrangement of the data within the pivot table. If we were to add, say, quarter to the row labels area between year and month, you can see that the pivot table takes on the new organization. But if I move Quarter to the Report Filter area, the pivot table returns to its previous organization and you can see Quarter up here.
Now, if you want to filter a pivot table using a report field area, you can click the down arrow and select which of the items you want to use as your filter. Now notice that you have a selection area here that is different from the selection area that appears for column labels and row labels. I don't know why they are different, they just are. If you want to select a single value, you can just click any one of those items. If you want to select multiple items, then you have to check the Select Multiple Items checkbox, and you get the familiar interface from the row and column labels areas.
So let's say that you wanted to look at the values just for Quarter 1 and Quarter 3. I already have one selected. Now I'll click 3, click OK and there you have your applied filter. If you want to remove the filter, just click the down arrow, select all and click OK. Filtering a pivot table helps you focus your analysis on the data that's most relevant to the question at hand.
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