Before you work with the Excel Pivot Tables, you will need to arrange your dataset first in the right format and prepare data for Pivot Tables. There are a couple of principles that I will demonstrate to you here:
- Tabular Format – your data is organized as a list with labeled columns
- No Gaps – no blank columns and no blank rows
- Tables – use this for structured referencing, Excel automatically updates as more rows and columns are added
Then you will be able to harness the full power of Pivot Tables!
Let us go over the principles one by one! Here is our data set:
You can see that it has a couple of issues. There are 2 columns without label headers:
Then we also have 1 blank column and 2 blank rows. Let us get this data cleaned up!
STEP 1: Let me quickly demonstrate to you first that we cannot use this set of data to create a Pivot Table.
Select the entire table of data and Go to Insert > Tables > PivotTable
STEP 2: Click OK
We get this error message because our data is not Pivot Table ready. Let us fix that!
STEP 3: Let us follow the Tabular Format principle. For the blank column headers, add SALES YEAR and SALES QTR:
STEP 4: Now for the No Gaps principle, delete the blank column D and delete the blank rows 4 and 8.
Our data is now looking good!
STEP 5: Go to Insert > Tables > Table to convert this into an Excel Table
STEP 6: Click OK
We have our Excel Table ready! You get a lot more feature here like sorting, filtering, Table Styles to name a few.
Now that you have prepared for data, let’s try and create a Pivot Table again!
STEP 7: Go to Insert > Tables > PivotTable
STEP 8: Click OK to insert the Pivot Table into a new worksheet.
And we are all set!