Why You Should Include Pivot Tables in Your Work
Pivot tables are one of the easiest ways to process and analyze different datasets to gain useful insights and make proper business decisions.
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The 21st century is called the Era of Data and it really does play a huge role nowadays. By analyzing and processing different datasets people can get a lot of useful insights and use them to make the right decisions and understand the nature of many things. And I’m talking not only about some research or studies — every big and small businesses face the power of data and should know how to deal with it.
But our minds can’t perceive and remember all these numbers and prefer visual content. So here we come to the point that we need to visualize all this data to work with it efficiently.
There are a lot of ways to transform your data in pictures, but I will tell you why you need to implement pivot tables in your work. So let's start from the basics.
What Is a Pivot Table?
A pivot table is a two-dimensional grid used to summarize and present large amounts of data. Its main purpose is to group table records in some categories and perform some operations with all the values in each category. For example:
- count the number of values
- find their sum
- find the average
- find the minimal or maximum value
Possible options of pivots' usage are really wide — from an entrepreneur simply reporting for his small shop to a marketer evaluating company growth or even to a data scientist studying trends in his sphere, the applications are endless.
A pivot table is one of the most powerful analytical tools that can help you see all the data together from different points. If you still doubt using pivot tables I will show you some of its features that can immediately improve your work experience.
Features That Improve Work Experience
1. You Can Rotate Your Data
One of my personal favorites in pivot reporting is that you can quickly and easily change the shown data. You can simply swap rows and columns and create a fully new data representation. You can reorganize your “database” in just a few clicks, highlight important stuff, and ignore the rest. You can change the aggregation of your values and receive a completely different insight from the same dataset.
2. You Can Build Hierarchies
Sometimes you are able to group your records inside the categories and then inside those groups and so on and so forth. In pivot tables, you can create your own hierarchies and explore them on different levels to reach some local outputs. Sometimes it will be useful even to see the raw data in flat view to get the summarized results right.
3. You Can Create Your Own Values
You can compute your values differently, but when you need some additional calculations based on this data for pivot tables, it’s not a problem. This solution is called a calculated measure. You can write the formula that will consist of needed values and calculate — for example, the cost from the price and quantity — and the grid will automatically process these calculations for each category.
4. You Can Highlight and Remove Data
Pivot Grids are super convenient when it gets to reaching for the important information in large datasets and removing all the extra data. The tool usually provides for this such functions:
- Filtering — Choose only the right categories and focus on the important part of the data.
- Sorting — Make the leaders pop up like bubbles but reserve the option to view the entire rating.
- Totals and Subtotals — Hide or show the sum of each row and column to have a more overall look.
5. You Can Find Unique Values
It’s more of a trick than a direct use of a pivot table but it still works for us! Just as in a pivot grid, values are separated into specific categories if there is only one record with such value it will form his own lonely group. Then, we can use it to create a list of unique values. For example, if we have a table with all purchases this month we can pull out a list of all our customers even if they have bought from us several times.
Okay, so now everything is clear: pivot tables are a must-have thing at work and can solve mostly all my analytical tasks. But where can we find them? Let’s have a look at some options.
What are the Types of Pivot Table?
The first one and the most powerful pivot table is a part of Microsoft Excel functionality. It was created in 1994 and since then has been serving lots of workers and businesses and helping to analyze and create insightful reports. But as I have already said, it is a part of a huge multifunctional tool. Therefore a lot of people find it quite complicated to understand how it works. But the desire to use such technology has not gone anywhere, right?
So the second app I will recommend you (I was using it while creating gifs to illustrate the features above) is Flexmonster for Desktop — it is a free reporting software that offers all the essential pivot functionality from Excel and even more. Its user-friendly interface makes it super fast to get along without any extra skills and knowledge. With fast uploading and saving data, the ability to use pivot charts, quick drag-and-drop capabilities to create custom reports, number and conditional formatting, and more... in just a few minutes, you can have all of the desired insights in one report.
I hope I was able to convince you that pivot grids can really improve your work and save you a lot of time. But if you are still hesitatant about its usage then you should just go and try it out! After all, it's always better to make sure it works in your personal experience.
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