If you ever needed to create summaries of raw data, but had no time you have most probably heard of pivot tables before. They are glorious when it comes to solving many of your usual excel tasks, though still not all of us know how to use them, despite them being pretty straightforward.
What pivot tables are good for?
- Pulling together summary statistics from raw data (and doing so in no time)
- Slice and dice your data easily. Basically play with it to help you uncover insights
- Creating easy to refresh dashboards, especially when combined with the tables function of excel
- Create any sort of categorization, keep that logic and be able to copy it into multiple pivot tables (if you copy, then paste the original one)
- I’m sure there are more, but I hope you got the hang of it
Personally I use pivot tables the most out of Excel’s functions. It makes data discovery and “quick & dirty” reporting so easy. A lot of tips & tricks documents for Excel will mention pivot tables as a go to tool for these tasks. Despite this you will be surprised how much you will be considered an “Excel guru” for knowing how to use them.
So how to create pivot tables?
I have found a straightforward video in a Hubspot blogpost explaining the basics. There are many more tricks though, like calculated fields and different aggragation statistics, but once you mastered the basics they are quite easy to figure out. A short excrept in the form of a GIF is below, but to watch the full video you should head to Hubspot’s site.
Excel’s pivot tables function is a going to save you tons of time and will make you look awesome. I do think this is a must have skill for any marketer who deals at least a bit with numbers. And who wouldn’t need to do that? So if you want to make your life easier, then spend a bit of time learning the ropes.