Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pivot Charts - One Easy Step That Will Double the Effectiveness of All of Your Pivot Tables!

This is one of the following two articles on Analyzing Data With Pivot Tables in Excel

Simplifying Pivot Table Setup

Pivot Charts - One Easy Visual Presentation That Will Double Pivot Table Effectiveness


Pivot Charts - One Easy

Step That Will Double the

Effectiveness of All of

Your Pivot Tables!

If you have never added a Pivot Chart to your Pivot Tables, you will be very pleasantly surprised at how much Pivot Charts instantly increase clarity, and how easy they are to add.

Adding a Pivot Chart to a Pivot Table

The easiest way to add a Pivot Table is to do it when creating the Pivot Table. It just takes one additional click as follows:

Insert / Pivot Table / Pivot Chart

That’s it. You now create your Pivot Table in the normal fashion, and the Pivot Chart is automatically generated. Any inputs you add or changes you perform to the Pivot Table are immediately reflected in the accompanying Pivot Chart.

The graphs on the Pivot Chart will convey your data’s meaning and secrets much faster than the numbers of the Pivot Table. The demonstration below will make you a believer in creating an accompanying Pivot Chart with each Pivot Table:

The Pivot Chart vs. The Pivot Table

We will use the same small raw data set that we used in yesterday’s Session 3:

Arranging the raw data’s column headers in Pivot Table rows as follows:

produces the following Pivot Table:

We are comparing one salesperson’s performance on each product with another sales-person’s. The Pivot Table results indicate that one salesperson is outperforming the other.

The extent to which that one salesperson outperforms the other becomes much more apparent when the same data is displayed on the accompanying Pivot Chart:

Now, suppose we rearrange the data on the Pivot Table by shifting the row headers around as follows:

The Pivot Table is rearranged as follows:

We are trying to evaluate each salesperson’s performance on each product over time. The numbers on the Pivot Table don’t provide much clarity. However, the trends become crystal clear immediately when viewing the accompanying Pivot Chart:

Tip of the Day

Whenever possible, add a Pivot Chart to your Pivot Table. Once the chart is set up, rearrange the data in as many ways as possible. You will discover new insights into your data that you never would have by looking only at the numbers. It’s well worth the one additional click it takes to create an accompanying Pivot Chart !


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