How to Create an Excel Pivot Table

Pivot tables are a useful way of analyzing large sets of data in Excel, helping you organize information into summaries and reports. Excel 2013 has a tool that creates recommended tables to suit your data. Once you've chosen a pivot table, you can manipulate it to fit your requirements or to change the way it analyzes and presents information.

Mechanical pencil point to Number text in table.
Pivot tables allow you to analyze data in different ways.
credit: MeePoohyaphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Step

Check the data in your worksheet. A pivot table works only if you have column or table headings and no blank rows or columns, although you can have empty cells.

Step

Select any cell in the range of data on which to base the table. Choose "Insert" on the menu bar and then "Recommended PivotTables." Depending on the data in your worksheet, Excel suggests various summaries using headings, labels and formulae. Scroll through the options -- you can preview a table by selecting it -- and choose the one that best suits your needs. Select "OK." Excel inserts the table into a new worksheet and opens the PivotTable Field pane on the right of the sheet.

Step

Use the options on the PivotTable Field pane to make changes to your table. Check or uncheck fields in the PivotTable Fields list to add or remove them from the summary. You can also drag them down into the Filters, Columns, Rows or Values areas to change the data in a table or the way in which it is shown. To remove fields from these areas, uncheck them or drag them to the side. Once you're happy with the layout, select "Update."