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Pivot tables are a favorite feature of Excel power users. Of course, Excel is the heavyweight champion of spreadsheets. But Google Sheets is a free, web-based tool that’s perfect for collaboration and has its own strengths.
How To Insert Table In Google Sheets
A table is really just a set of rows and columns. When rows and columns meet, cells are formed. Here you can record data using formulas. As a table grows and has more and more records, you need tools to understand the data in it.
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This includes the option to create pivot tables, which helps you take your tables and find meaning in them. With a pivot table, you can prepare reports that help you better understand your raw data.
Creating a pivot table in Google Sheets is easier than you think. In this tutorial, I’ll teach you how to use Google Sheets to create powerful pivot tables that slice and dice your data, right inside your web browser.
In the screenshot below, I’ll help you get started using Google Sheets to analyze your data. By the end of the video, you’ll learn how to use the spreadsheet option to explore and fully understand a large data set.
Read on for an illustrated, step-by-step guide to using pivot tables in Google Sheets. Read on to get through.
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Pivot tables are just one tool we can use to analyze our data. They help us take a large set of data and build reports to answer questions about it.
Check out the screenshot below to see the power of the main tables. These are all related to the same data set, but have different data summarization views. I’ve summarized my freelance work, showing my client payments, major project types, and client billings by year.
We use the same source data, but each of these main Newspaper tables helps us understand our data in a different way; we can see project totals from left to right by client, project type, and year.
Pivot tables take your raw data and help you understand it better by grouping and summarizing your data. Let’s learn how to use pivot tables in Google Sheets.
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As part of this guide, I’ve included a sample dataset for you to use as you follow along. I created fake “client payment” records, or the amounts we billed our clients for fictitious freelance work.
This data is a CSV (comma-separated value) file of raw data that you will import into Tables. Download and extract this file and locate the “sample-data.csv” file.
Go to Google Drive and start by setting up a new Newspaper file. It’s easier to start with a blank slate for data entry.
I leave the settings at the default options. I prefer to create a new table to run a separate file to rotate and auto detect the separators. Click Import to finish.
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After the import is complete, you’ll see the uploaded data inside your Google Sheet. We can start spinning our data now.
Now we have prepared our raw data sheet. Go ahead and highlight the columns that hold the data and go to the Data > PivotTable option to insert your pivot table.
Select the columns containing your data by clicking and dragging on the headers; then go to Data > Master Table.
Now we are ready to start looping our data. This means we will use the Google Sheets report editor to create different views of our data to better understand it.
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Pivot tables are about taking large sets of original data and putting them into an understandable report. The Report Editor is a spreadsheet tool for creating your own dashboard and understanding your data in greater detail.
Let’s get familiar with the report editor. Google Sheets has four options for inserting data into a pivot table on the left: rows, columns, values, and filters.
The report editor lets you create a report and view the data the way you want to see it.
When you click Add Field for any of the options, you’ll see your original data columns. Click on one of the column names to add data in that format.
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That’s the magic of the turntable. You can take any column of your original data and build a report by putting your original data fields into a master table.
The main table shows each of my clients in their own row. A pivot table takes the original data and displays it in a report. We can continue to add our invoices for each customer in the report builder.
Here’s what each of the four options in the report builder does when you add a field to it:
Check out the screenshot below to see the full report I created using Google Sheets. I put my customers as a row and project types as a column. I also dragged the invoices into the values box to see the amounts for those combinations.
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Spend a few minutes playing around with the report editor, trying out different columns of data in different areas of the report builder.
Everything is set up and now it’s time to use the Pivot Table to learn more about our database. Let’s take another look at one row in our original table.
The whole idea of pivot tables is that we can use them to understand our tables. Of course, we don’t have time to calculate things by hand, so pivot tables are the answer.
For the first example of this, let’s try to figure out how much we paid each customer. We need to start drawing the customer and then show the amounts for each customer.
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This is a simple example, but it’s just what the doctor ordered. Original data would make it difficult to subtotal on the client side, but pivot tables make it easy.
This time, let’s swap customers for project types. Since you want to see the hourly rate by project type, let’s remove the fields we added in the first example. You can do this by clicking the X in the report editor for each of the fields.
Click the drop-down arrow next to Summarize by and select AVERAGE. This changes the way the amounts are displayed. Now we look at the average customer per hour.
This example is a great example of how you can look at money differently. Try other values in that dropdown list, like count, max, min, etc.
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This time it’s your choice. you can set the customer or project type as a row in the master table. Either way, leave the Year in the Columns section. This breaks down each customer’s billing by year and puts each customer in its own row.
All these main tables are connected to the same data source. Generating these reports does not alter or modify the original data at all. It simply enables us to better analyze and review our data.
Google Sheets is a staple in my freelance practice. I use it to organize my creative work, plan projects, and track the revenue I expect to pay clients for.
The best thing about Sheets is that it’s a unique hybrid between a traditional spreadsheet application and a web-based tool. You have the power of a spreadsheet application to record your data and use formulas. But you also have a tool that connects to online services and can easily capture data.
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Here are more tutorials to help you see the incredible potential that Sheets has to offer. Check out at least one of them to learn more:
How do you use pivot tables in Google Sheets? Or are there other tools you use to analyze the data in your spreadsheets? Let me know in the comments below!
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I believe that life is too short to do just one thing. I studied Accounting and Finance in college, but I continue to scratch my creative itch with my work for Envato Tuts+ and other clients. By day, I enjoy my career in corporate finance, using data and analytics to make decisions. I cover a variety of topics for Tuts+, including photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom, PowerPoint, Keynote, and more. What I enjoy most is teaching people how to use software to solve everyday problems, excel in their careers, and get work done efficiently. Feel free to contact me on my website.
How To Create A Pivot Table In Google Sheets
Start your 7-day free trial*Start your free trial*All individual plans include a 7-day free trial for new customers. then the price of the selected plan is applied. Cancel at any time. Have you ever come across an interesting data set while browsing the web and wanted to further analyze it in a spreadsheet? Maybe you want to include this data in a custom report or use it to perform calculations in your spreadsheet template, but you didn’t know how to create a spreadsheet in Google Sheets. If yes, then you have come to the right place. In this
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