Excel Tutorial: How To Modify Pivot Table In Excel


If you've ever worked with large sets of data in Excel, you've likely encountered pivot tables. Pivot tables are powerful tools that allow you to summarize and analyze data with ease. But what if you need to modify the pivot table to better suit your needs? Understanding how to make changes to your pivot table can greatly enhance your data analysis capabilities. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the definition of pivot tables and the importance of being able to modify them.

Key Takeaways

  • Pivot tables are powerful tools for summarizing and analyzing large sets of data in Excel.
  • Modifying pivot tables can greatly enhance data analysis capabilities and better suit individual needs.
  • Understanding how to change the layout, design, and data within a pivot table is crucial for effective analysis.
  • Utilizing slicers, customizing styles, and using calculated fields are valuable techniques for effective pivot table modification.
  • Avoiding common mistakes, such as overcomplicating design and ignoring formatting options, is essential for successful pivot table modification.

Understanding Pivot Tables

When it comes to data analysis in Excel, pivot tables are an essential tool for organizing and summarizing large amounts of information. They allow you to quickly and easily create meaningful reports and visualizations based on your data. In this chapter, we will explore the basics of pivot tables and learn how to modify them to suit your needs.

A. How to create a pivot table in Excel

To create a pivot table in Excel, you first need to have a dataset that you want to analyze. Once you have your data ready, follow these steps to create a pivot table:

  • Select any cell within your dataset.
  • Go to the "Insert" tab on the Excel ribbon.
  • Click on "PivotTable" and choose the location for your pivot table (either a new worksheet or an existing one).
  • In the "Create PivotTable" dialog box, select the range of data you want to analyze and click "OK."

B. Basic functions of a pivot table

Once you have created a pivot table, you can use it to perform a variety of functions, including:

  • Summarizing data: You can quickly summarize large datasets by creating totals and subtotals for specific categories.
  • Reorganizing data: Pivot tables allow you to easily rearrange your data to view it from different perspectives.
  • Filtering and sorting: You can filter and sort your data to focus on specific criteria or identify trends and patterns.

C. Benefits of using pivot tables for data analysis

There are several benefits to using pivot tables for data analysis, including:

  • Efficiency: Pivot tables enable you to analyze large datasets quickly and efficiently, saving you time and effort.
  • Flexibility: You can easily modify and customize pivot tables to meet your specific reporting and analysis needs.
  • Visualizations: Pivot tables allow you to create visual representations of your data, making it easier to identify trends and patterns.

Modifying Pivot Tables

Excel pivot tables are a powerful tool for analyzing and summarizing data. However, sometimes you may need to modify the pivot table to better suit your needs. Here are some ways you can modify a pivot table in Excel.

Changing the layout and design of a pivot table

If you want to change the layout or design of your pivot table, you can modify the following:

  • Pivot Table Styles: Excel offers a variety of built-in styles for pivot tables. You can choose a different style to change the appearance of your pivot table.
  • Row and Column Labels: You can drag and drop fields in the Rows or Columns area to change the layout of your pivot table.
  • Subtotals and Grand Totals: You can add or remove subtotals and grand totals to customize the level of detail in your pivot table.

Adding or removing fields in a pivot table

To add or remove fields in a pivot table, you can follow these steps:

  • Add Fields: Drag a field from the field list to the Rows, Columns, Values, or Filters area to add it to the pivot table.
  • Remove Fields: Drag a field out of the pivot table, or uncheck the field in the field list to remove it from the pivot table.

Sorting and filtering data within a pivot table

Sorting and filtering data within a pivot table can help you focus on specific information. Here's how you can do it:

  • Sorting Data: Click on the drop-down arrow next to a row or column label, then choose a sort option to rearrange the data in your pivot table.
  • Filtering Data: Use the filter drop-downs to show specific items, or apply a custom filter to display only the data you need.

Removing Blank Rows

When working with pivot tables in Excel, it is common to encounter blank rows that may disrupt the data analysis. Fortunately, there are several methods to identify and remove these blank rows efficiently.

Identifying blank rows in a pivot table

Before removing blank rows from a pivot table, it is crucial to identify their presence. Blank rows can be easily spotted by scanning through the pivot table data or by using the filter feature to display only blank cells.

Deleting blank rows manually

One way to remove blank rows from a pivot table is to do so manually. This involves clicking on the row labels in the pivot table, selecting the blank rows, and then deleting them using the delete key or by right-clicking and choosing the "Delete" option.

Using formulas to remove blank rows automatically

Another efficient method to remove blank rows from a pivot table is by using formulas. For example, the IFNA function can be used to replace blank cells with a specified value, or the FILTER function can be utilized to extract only non-blank rows into a new range.

Tips for Effective Pivot Table Modification

Modifying pivot tables in Excel can greatly enhance the way you analyze and present your data. Here are some tips to help you effectively modify pivot tables:

A. Utilizing slicers for interactive filtering

  • Create slicers for easy filtering

    When modifying your pivot table, consider using slicers to provide a user-friendly interface for filtering data. Slicers allow you to easily filter data across multiple pivot tables and charts, making it a powerful tool for interactive data analysis.
  • Customize slicer styles

    You can customize the appearance of slicers to match the overall look of your report. This can help make your pivot table more visually appealing and easier to navigate for users.

B. Customizing pivot table styles

  • Apply predefined styles

    Excel offers a variety of predefined styles for pivot tables. Experiment with different styles to find the one that best suits your data and report layout.
  • Create custom pivot table styles

    If none of the predefined styles fit your needs, you can create a custom pivot table style by modifying the font, borders, and colors to match your report's design.

C. Using calculated fields for advanced data analysis

  • Create calculated fields for additional insights

    When modifying your pivot table, consider using calculated fields to perform custom calculations based on your data. This can help you derive additional insights and perform advanced data analysis within the pivot table itself.
  • Utilize custom formulas

    With calculated fields, you have the flexibility to use custom formulas to derive new metrics from your existing data. This can be a powerful tool for uncovering hidden patterns and trends.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to modifying pivot tables in Excel, it's important to be aware of common mistakes that can hinder the effectiveness of your data analysis. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can ensure that your pivot table is accurate, easy to read, and up-to-date.

A. Overcomplicating the pivot table design

One common mistake that users make when modifying pivot tables is overcomplicating the design. This can lead to cluttered and confusing tables that are difficult to interpret. To avoid this, focus on keeping your pivot table design simple and straightforward. Only include the necessary rows, columns, and values to convey the information you need.

B. Ignoring the formatting options

Another mistake to avoid is ignoring the formatting options available for pivot tables. Formatting can help make your data more visually appealing and easier to understand. Take advantage of features such as conditional formatting, number formatting, and cell styles to enhance the appearance of your pivot table and highlight important trends or data points.

C. Forgetting to update the pivot table with new data

It's crucial to remember to update your pivot table with new data regularly. Forgetting to refresh the data source can result in inaccurate or outdated information being displayed in the table. Make it a habit to refresh your pivot table whenever new data is added to the source range, so that you always have the most current insights at your fingertips.


Modifying pivot tables in Excel is crucial for customizing data analysis and presenting information effectively. It allows you to rearrange, summarize and analyze your data in a way that suits your specific needs. I encourage you to practice and experiment with modifying pivot tables to discover the wide range of capabilities they offer. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced user, there is always something new to learn and explore with pivot tables in Excel.

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