Question: How do I create an interactive report that can quickly be used to summarize large amounts of data?

Answer: By using a Pivot Table.

Why:  A PivotTable report (PivotTable report: An interactive, crosstabulated Excel report that summarizes and analyzes data, such as database records, from various sources, including ones that are external to Excel.) is useful to summarize, analyze, explore, and present summary data. A PivotTable enables you to make informed decisions about critical data in your enterprise. 

Applies To MS Excel 2003, 2007, 2010


1.         Refer to the data as given in the example below







2.         Select any cell in the list

3.         From the insert tab, in the tables group, select pivot table and click Ok

4.         Drag the category name and product name fields to the row labels area

5.         Drag the quantity, unit price and product sales fields to the values area as given below



















6.         To display data for the products under the sea food category; select the drop down arrow under row labels and select sea food as below.

7.         The following pivot table will be given



The data given in step 1 above can be summarized and queried in many user friendly ways.

The Design of a PivotTable allows you to:

  • Querying large amounts of data in many user-friendly ways.
  • Subtotaling and aggregating numeric data, summarizing data by categories and subcategories, and creating custom calculations and formulas.
  • Expanding and collapsing levels of data to focus your results, and drilling down to details from the summary data for areas of interest to you.
  • Moving rows to columns or columns to rows (or “pivoting”) to see different summaries of the source data.
  • Filtering, sorting, grouping, and conditionally formatting the most useful and interesting subset of data to enable you to focus on the information that you want.
  • Presenting concise, attractive, and annotated online or printed reports.


How a PivotTable Field List Works








  1. Data Source (Excel, Cube, Database)
  2. Report Filter (Department)
  3. Column Label Area (Branch)
  4. Row Label Area (Customer Name)
  5. Values Area (Sales amount)