How to Create a Pivot Table in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a pivot table in Excel is a powerful way to summarize and analyze data. In just a few clicks, you can transform rows of data into a concise table that highlights key information. By following a step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to create a pivot table that can help you make informed decisions based on your data.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Create a Pivot Table in Excel

Before diving into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming to achieve. A pivot table is a data processing tool that lets you reorganize and summarize selected columns and rows of data in a spreadsheet. It helps to extract significance from a large, detailed dataset.

Step 1: Select Your Data

Select the range of cells that contain the data you want to include in your pivot table.

When selecting your data, make sure to include any column headers as they will be used to create the fields in your pivot table. It’s also important that your data is organized in a tabular format and that there are no blank rows or columns.

Step 2: Go to the Insert Tab

Click on the Insert tab on the Excel ribbon.

The Insert tab is where you can find various tools to add different elements to your spreadsheet, such as charts, tables, and, of course, pivot tables.

Step 3: Click on Pivot Table

In the Tables group, click on the PivotTable button.

A Create PivotTable dialog box will pop up, allowing you to choose where you want to place your pivot table. You can choose to place it in a new worksheet or an existing one.

Step 4: Choose Where to Place Your Pivot Table

Specify where you want the pivot table to be placed: a new worksheet or an existing worksheet.

If you’re working with a lot of data or you want to keep your pivot table separate, placing it in a new worksheet might be the best option. However, if you want to see your data and pivot table side by side, placing it in an existing worksheet could be more convenient.

Step 5: Drag Fields to Create Your Pivot Table

In the PivotTable Fields pane, drag the fields you want to analyze into the Rows, Columns, Values, and Filters areas.

This step is where you customize your pivot table. The Rows and Columns areas determine the layout of your data, while the Values area is used for calculations. The Filters area allows you to exclude data from your pivot table.

After you complete these steps, you will have a pivot table that summarizes your data based on the fields you selected. You can further customize your pivot table by applying different calculations, sorting the data, or applying filters.

Tips for Creating a Pivot Table in Excel

  • Make sure your data is clean and well-organized before creating a pivot table. This will make the process smoother and your results more accurate.
  • Use the Recommended PivotTables feature for a quick start. Excel can analyze your data and suggest a pivot table that might fit your needs.
  • Experiment with different layouts by dragging fields to various areas in the PivotTable Fields pane.
  • Refresh your pivot table if you make any changes to your original data to keep it up-to-date.
  • Take advantage of the PivotTable Tools Design and Analyze tabs to further refine your pivot table’s appearance and functionality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I create a pivot table from multiple sheets?

Yes, you can create a pivot table from multiple sheets by using the Data Model feature in Excel. However, this is a more advanced technique and requires some setup.

How do I update a pivot table?

To update a pivot table after changing the original data, right-click on the pivot table and select ‘Refresh’ from the context menu.

What if my pivot table doesn’t show up after following the steps?

Make sure you have selected a range of cells that contain data before inserting a pivot table. If it still doesn’t appear, check if you have any filters applied that might be hiding the data.

Can I add more fields to my pivot table after creating it?

Yes, you can add more fields to your pivot table at any time by dragging them from the field list to the desired area.

How do I change the calculation method in the Values area?

Click on the field in the Values area, then select ‘Value Field Settings’ to change the calculation method, such as sum, average, or count.


  1. Select your data.
  2. Click on the Insert tab.
  3. Choose PivotTable.
  4. Specify the pivot table’s location.
  5. Drag fields to customize your pivot table.


Creating a pivot table in Excel is a game-changer when it comes to data analysis. It simplifies complex data sets, allowing you to focus on the most relevant information for your needs. By following the steps outlined above, you can create a pivot table that provides valuable insights and helps inform your decisions. Remember to keep your data organized, play around with different layouts, and don’t be afraid to explore Excel’s pivot table tools to get the most out of your data. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into your spreadsheets, and start pivoting your way to clearer, more meaningful data analysis!

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