How to Make Pivot Tables in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Pivot tables are a fantastic tool in Excel that allow you to summarize and analyze large amounts of data quickly and easily. Here’s how you do it: First, select the data you want to analyze. Then, go to the ‘Insert’ tab and click on ‘PivotTable’. Excel will automatically select the range of cells with data in them. After that, choose where you want the PivotTable report to be placed. Finally, drag and drop fields from the ‘PivotTable Fields’ list to create a customized report. That’s it – you’ve made a pivot table in Excel!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Make Pivot Tables in Excel

Creating pivot tables in Excel might seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite straightforward once you get the hang of it. The steps below will guide you through the process, from selecting your data to customizing your report.

Step 1: Select Your Data

Select all the data that you want to include in your pivot table.

Before creating a pivot table, you need to have some data to work with. Ensure that your data is organized in a table format, with rows and columns clearly defined. The columns should have headers that describe the data below them. This will make it easier to sort and filter your data once the pivot table is created.

Step 2: Insert a PivotTable

Go to the ‘Insert’ tab on the Excel ribbon and click on ‘PivotTable’.

Once you’ve selected your data range, go to the ‘Insert’ tab at the top of Excel. Here, you’ll find the ‘PivotTable’ button. Clicking on it will open a dialog box that will prompt you to confirm the data range and the location of your new pivot table. Excel typically selects the data range automatically if your data is well organized.

Step 3: Choose Where to Place Your PivotTable

Decide whether you want your pivot table to be placed in a new worksheet or an existing one.

In the dialog box that appears after clicking ‘PivotTable’, you can choose to have your pivot table created in a new worksheet or the existing one. If you choose a new worksheet, Excel will create it and place the pivot table there. This is usually the preferred option as it keeps your pivot table separate from your raw data.

Step 4: Customize Your PivotTable

Drag fields from the ‘PivotTable Fields’ list to different parts of the pivot table.

On the right side of your screen, you’ll see the ‘PivotTable Fields’ pane. This is where you can choose which data you want to show in your pivot table and how you want it to be displayed. You can drag fields to the ‘Rows’ or ‘Columns’ areas to organize your data, and to the ‘Values’ area to perform calculations. The ‘Filters’ area can be used to only show data that meets certain criteria.

After you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have a pivot table that summarizes your data according to your specifications. You can now analyze and draw insights from your data more effectively.

Tips: Making the Most out of Pivot Tables in Excel

  • Make sure your source data is organized properly, with clear headers for each column.
  • Use the ‘Filters’ area to focus on specific aspects of your data.
  • Double-click on any value in the pivot table to see the underlying data.
  • Try different ways of organizing your data in the ‘Rows’ and ‘Columns’ to see which layout makes the most sense.
  • Experiment with calculated fields and items to perform additional analysis within your pivot table.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a pivot table?

A pivot table is a data summarization tool in Excel that allows you to quickly and easily analyze large amounts of data.

Can I update the data in a pivot table?

Yes, if you change the data in your source table, you can update the pivot table by right-clicking on it and selecting ‘Refresh’.

Can I use filters in a pivot table?

Absolutely! Pivot tables have a ‘Filters’ area where you can apply filters to narrow down your data.

How do I change the calculation in a pivot table?

You can click on the ‘Value Field Settings’ from the dropdown menu of any value in your pivot table to change the calculation.

Can I format my pivot table?

Yes, Excel allows you to format your pivot table just like any other table, using the ‘PivotTable Tools’ Design tab.


  1. Select the data you want to analyze.
  2. Insert a pivot table from the ‘Insert’ tab.
  3. Choose where to place your pivot table.
  4. Customize the pivot table by dragging fields into different areas.


Pivot tables in Excel are a powerful feature that can turn extensive and complex data sets into comprehensible and insightful reports. Whether you’re a student, business professional, or just someone who loves to organize data, mastering pivot tables can be a game-changer. It allows you to sift through the noise and find the trends and answers you’re looking for. Plus, with the ability to update, filter, and format pivot tables, your data analysis can be as dynamic and flexible as you need it to be.

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you play around with pivot tables, the more confident you’ll become in your Excel skills. So, dive in, get your hands dirty with some data, and watch as pivot tables help you make sense of it all. Before you know it, you’ll be making pivot tables in Excel like a pro!

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