Grouping Dates with Pivot Tables

I am not a gambling man. But if I were, I’d bet a million dollars that you will never ever grasp all that Microsoft Excel has to offer.  Fine with me because that means we can learn something new just about every day.  Pivot Tables provide a perfect example.

Pivot Table Basics

I’v raved about Pivot Tables in the past , praising the power and flexibility of this Excel feature.  In literally seconds, you can slice and dice data any way you wish to see just the data you need to make informed decisions.  (See prior post on Pivot Tables)

The journey between just learning about Pivot Tables and being able to effectively implement and use them is indeed a short one.  But take just a few more steps and you’ll find additional ways to save time, while adding helpful details to your information and analysis.  Let’s say, for example your company keeps records for each sales transaction.  A simplified table might include the name of the salesperson along with the date and amount of the transaction.

Using just the basic elements of Pivot Tables, one can easily produce a table showing the total sales for each date and each salesperson. (See Illustration).  But having data laid out in this manner is not completely helpful.  A better way to group the information might be by year, quarter, or month.  Or all three.  There are, of course, many ways to add those levels of grouping when producing this pivot table.  Those new to Pivot Tables might add columns to the raw data, converting the date to columns for the month (using the month() function), year (using the year() function), and quarter (applying the roundup() function to a simple equation: monthNumber/3- see :What Quarter is It?).  Even adding one for the week wouldn’t be that difficult. Read more of this post

Dashboard Tip: In-Cell Charting

Your business day is busy and information-packed.  Dashboards are an effective way to make sense of everything without driving yourself crazy.  A well-designed dashboard can save you hours of work and make you look good in front of your boss.

Of course most dashboards include graphs, charts, and even the occasional pivot table.  But a quick, simple, and very flexible alternative involves the use of the REPT function, which repeats any character you designate any number of times that you wish. Read more of this post

Pivot Tables.. but first

I’ve been asked by many of you to put together something on Pivot Tables.  In doing so, I found the hardest part was compiling sample data that allowed me to highlight some of the cool features that Pivot Tables have to offer. After searching the web for sample data to use and coming up empty, I decided to go the long route and just start typing.  But as luck would have it, I stumbled upon a slick way or two to generate some useful data.  Attached is that discovery in two parts.  This is my first attempt at a video blog, so please provide any feedback, good or bad.
Part I


Part II