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Formatting PivotTable cells using data bars

From: Excel 2010: Pivot Tables in Depth

Video: Formatting PivotTable cells using data bars

When you summarize numerical data using a PivotTable, Excel displays the values with either no formatting, which can make the numbers difficult to interpret, or using a number format. In both cases, to get an idea of how two values compare you must visually estimate the number of digits used to express the values and if they're of the same length, focus on the individual digits. Comparing two numbers isn't difficult, but comparing a few dozen or more can be confusing. In Excel, you can add color bars to a cell's background. The length of the bar reflects the relative magnitude of the value in the cell.

Formatting PivotTable cells using data bars

When you summarize numerical data using a PivotTable, Excel displays the values with either no formatting, which can make the numbers difficult to interpret, or using a number format. In both cases, to get an idea of how two values compare you must visually estimate the number of digits used to express the values and if they're of the same length, focus on the individual digits. Comparing two numbers isn't difficult, but comparing a few dozen or more can be confusing. In Excel, you can add color bars to a cell's background. The length of the bar reflects the relative magnitude of the value in the cell.

To create a color bar, click any data cell in the body of the PivotTable and then on the Home tab click the Conditional Formatting button, then point to Data Bars, and then select the type of data bar that you want to create. And there are two different groups within this palette. The first one is the Gradient Fill and the second is the Solid Fill. Gradient fills taper off as they move to the right, so it actually makes it little bit harder to tell the relative magnitude of values. Those were introduced in Excel 2007 and in Excel 2010 they've been kept for backward compatibility. But I highly recommend that you use one of the Solid Fill Data Bar styles which you can find at the bottom of the palette.

So I will select the Orange and when I click it Excel applies the data bar conditional format to this cell. I actually want to apply this data bar conditional format to all the cells in the data area so I can click the Formatting Options button to the right of the cell and then I can either select All cells showing "Sum of Revenue" values, which includes grand totals and subtotals, or I can select the bottom option which limits the data bar conditional format to those cells within the body of the PivotTable excluding subtotals and grand totals.

And the bottom option is the one I want, so I'll click it and apply the data bars. You can create a data bar by using one of the six default colors or you can select a custom color. To do that, click the Conditional Formatting button, click Data Bars, and then click More Rules. When you do, you can go down to the Bar Appearance section of the New Formatting Rule dialog box and select your color by clicking the Color button and then selecting a color from the palette. You can also select whether to have a border around the bar.

So for example, I currently have No Border but I can make it a Solid Border and then choose the color from here if I wanted to. If you have negative values that you want to represent using a data bar then you can click the Negative Value and Axis button and that opens a dialog box of the same name and you can select how to fill negative values. In this case, my example file has no negative values but I wanted to let you know that these options are here so that you can work with them. I'll click Cancel to close that. And finally, if you only want to display the data bar and not the data behind it you can select the Show Bar Only checkbox.

in this case I do want to display the value so I'll clear it and then click Cancel. One downside to using data bars is that because they fill a percentage of the cell's interior and don't have a fixed maximum length, two cells with the same value can have data bars of different lengths. In this PivotTable, which is laid out in compact form, similar values in columns B and C have differently sized data bars. When I apply data bars to a PivotTable I like to choose Outline Form as my report layout. To do that you can click any cell on the PivotTable and then on the Design contextual tab click Report Layout and then click Outline Form.

When you do, the cells are given identical widths, which makes it easier to compare relative values. Data bars provide a quick visual summary of the relative magnitude of values in your PivotTable. When you format your PivotTables so the columns are all the same width, the bars provide information that aids your analysis.

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This video is part of

Image for Excel 2010: Pivot Tables in Depth
Excel 2010: Pivot Tables in Depth

66 video lessons · 39349 viewers

Curt Frye
Author

 
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  1. 1m 38s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      43s
  2. 38m 8s
    1. Introducing PivotTables
      4m 2s
    2. Formatting data for use in a PivotTable
      4m 31s
    3. Creating a PivotTable
      4m 20s
    4. Pivoting a PivotTable
      3m 47s
    5. Configuring a PivotTable
      3m 23s
    6. Connecting to an external data source
      3m 30s
    7. Connecting to an Access database
      2m 11s
    8. Consolidating data from multiple sources
      4m 37s
    9. Updating and refreshing PivotTable data sources
      4m 21s
    10. Managing PivotTables
      3m 26s
  3. 23m 33s
    1. Adding, removing, and positioning subtotals and grand totals
      3m 27s
    2. Changing the PivotTable data field summary operation
      4m 35s
    3. Summarizing more than one data field
      3m 16s
    4. Creating a calculated field
      2m 27s
    5. Grouping PivotTable fields
      3m 17s
    6. Using PivotTable data in a formula
      4m 47s
    7. Drilling down to the underlying data
      1m 44s
  4. 28m 9s
    1. Sorting PivotTable data
      2m 0s
    2. Creating a custom sort order
      2m 48s
    3. Filtering a PivotTable field by selection
      2m 59s
    4. Filtering a PivotTable by rule
      2m 56s
    5. Filtering a PivotTable using a search filter
      3m 10s
    6. Filtering a PivotTable using slicers
      4m 2s
    7. Formatting slicers
      3m 43s
    8. Filtering a PivotTable with report filter fields
      5m 2s
    9. Clearing and reapplying PivotTable filters
      1m 29s
  5. 15m 2s
    1. Applying a PivotTable style
      5m 5s
    2. Creating a PivotTable style
      4m 37s
    3. Changing the PivotTable layout
      3m 20s
    4. Changing the data field number format
      2m 0s
  6. 24m 33s
    1. Highlighting cells by applying a rule
      2m 54s
    2. Highlighting the top or bottom values in a PivotTable
      3m 30s
    3. Formatting PivotTable cells using data bars
      3m 50s
    4. Formatting PivotTable cells using color scales
      3m 40s
    5. Formatting PivotTable cells using icon sets
      2m 45s
    6. Editing conditional formatting rules
      2m 15s
    7. Controlling how multiple rules are applied
      3m 28s
    8. Deleting a conditional formatting rule
      2m 11s
  7. 24m 0s
    1. Creating a PivotChart
      3m 29s
    2. Pivoting a PivotChart
      3m 5s
    3. Filtering a PivotChart
      3m 45s
    4. Formatting a PivotChart
      3m 35s
    5. Changing a PivotChart layout
      3m 14s
    6. Changing a PivotChart chart type
      4m 30s
    7. Adding a trendline to a PivotChart
      2m 22s
  8. 9m 27s
    1. Printing a PivotTable
      4m 2s
    2. Printing each item on its own page
      3m 30s
    3. Printing a PivotChart
      1m 55s
  9. 13m 30s
    1. Recording and reviewing a macro
      4m 10s
    2. Running a macro
      5m 57s
    3. Creating a simple PivotTable presentation kit
      3m 23s
  10. 19m 17s
    1. Introducing PowerPivot
      2m 9s
    2. Downloading and installing PowerPivot
      2m 36s
    3. Importing PowerPivot data
      3m 14s
    4. Managing table columns
      4m 1s
    5. Adding tables to a PowerPivot model
      2m 27s
    6. Creating relationships between tables
      4m 50s
  11. 24m 30s
    1. Introducing the DAX language
      2m 58s
    2. Using DAX operators
      4m 44s
    3. Surveying DAX functions
      2m 40s
    4. Adding calculated columns and measures
      4m 22s
    5. Using aggregate functions
      4m 24s
    6. Using filters in aggregate functions
      5m 22s
  12. 59s
    1. Additional resources
      59s

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