Sparklines in Microsoft Excel to Visualize Data Quickly

Sparklines in Microsoft Excel Traiing

In Microsoft Excel, some of the new features introduced in the past 15 years are amazing for every day use. Spark lines and Slicers are some of these amazing gems of Excel.

These improvements to PivotTables and other existing features, can help us to discover patterns or trends in the data. To get started with the features of Excel, first we will look at the details of the  Sparkline and slicers features of Excel.

What are Spark lines in Excel, and How to Use Them

Sparkline in Excel
Sparkline in Excel

Sparklines are tiny charts that is used to fit in a cell to visually summarize trends beside the data. 

Sparklines are an extremely useful and user friendly feature in Microsoft Excel that allow you to create small, visual representations of data trends within individual cells.

These tiny charts provide a compact way to display trends, variations, and patterns in your data without taking up a lot of space. Sparklines are particularly useful when you want to quickly analyze data at a glance or within a confined area, such as a cell or a small column.

There are three main types of sparklines in Excel:

  1. Line Sparklines: Line sparklines show trends over a period of time. They are typically used to display data points in a line chart format, helping you visualize trends, fluctuations, and patterns over time.
  2. Column Sparklines: Column sparklines are used to compare values among different data points. They can help you identify variations and relative sizes of data within a specific context.
  3. Win/Loss Sparklines: Win/loss sparklines are used to represent binary data, often indicating “win” or “loss” scenarios. These are typically shown using icons or symbols to denote positive or negative outcomes.

Since sparklines show trends occupies less space, they are exclusively useful for dashboards and other places where we need to show a glimpse of the business in an simple practical visual format.

In the image to the left, the sparklines that appear in the Trend column lets us have a quick look of the performance of each department in the month of May.

Key features and benefits of sparklines in Excel include:

  • Compact Representation: Sparklines are designed to fit within individual cells, making them an efficient way to provide data insights in a constrained space.
  • Visual Analysis: By using simple visual cues, sparklines allow you to quickly identify trends and patterns, even without delving into detailed data analysis.
  • Easy to Create: Creating sparklines in Excel is straightforward. You can insert sparklines through the “Sparkline Tools” tab on the Excel ribbon after selecting the data range you want to visualize.
  • Dynamic Updates: Sparklines are dynamic, meaning they update automatically when you change the data or adjust the range they’re based on.
  • Conditional Formatting: You can apply conditional formatting to sparklines, enhancing their visual impact. For example, you can color-code sparklines based on specific conditions, making trends more apparent.
  • Compatibility: Sparklines are available in most modern versions of Excel, including Excel 2010 and later.

To Create Spark lines in Excel:

  1. Select the cell where you want the sparkline to appear.
  2. Go to the “Insert” tab on the Excel ribbon.
  3. In the “Sparklines” group, choose the type of sparkline you want (Line, Column, or Win/Loss).
  4. Select the data range you want to visualize.
  5. Click “OK,” and the sparkline will be generated within the selected cell.

Remember that while sparklines provide a quick and visual overview of data trends, they might not replace the depth of analysis that larger charts or graphs can offer. Use sparklines in scenarios where space is limited and you need to provide a concise snapshot of data trends.

When and where is the best use of Excel sparklines

Excel sparklines are best used in situations where you need to provide a quick and concise visual representation of data trends within a limited space.
They are particularly effective when you want to highlight trends, variations, and patterns in your data without the need for extensive data analysis. Here are some scenarios where Excel sparklines can be most beneficial:
  1. Dashboards and Reports: Sparklines are ideal for creating dashboards and reports that require a compact presentation of key performance indicators (KPIs) and trends. You can include multiple sparklines in a small area to provide an overview of various metrics.
  2. Tables and Data Lists: When working with data tables or lists, you can add sparklines next to numeric data to provide context and visual insight into how values are changing over time or between categories.
  3. Financial Data: Use sparklines to visualize changes in financial data, such as stock prices, revenue, expenses, or budget allocations. Line sparklines can help show trends over time, while column sparklines can highlight variations between categories.
  4. Project Management: Incorporate sparklines in project management to illustrate task completion, project progress, or resource allocation. For instance, you can display task completion rates using win/loss sparklines.
  5. Sales and Marketing: Use sparklines to represent sales figures, conversion rates, or website traffic data. These visualizations can help sales and marketing teams quickly assess performance.
  6. Comparative Analysis: When comparing data sets or categories, column sparklines can show relative values and trends, making it easy to identify patterns and outliers.
  7. Scorecards: In performance scorecards or performance reviews, sparklines can visually summarize an individual’s progress or achievement over time.
  8. Educational Purposes: Sparklines can be used in educational materials to help students understand data trends and patterns, making learning about data analysis more engaging.
  9. Emails and Presentations: Incorporate sparklines in emails or presentations to provide a quick visual representation of data trends without overwhelming the audience with extensive charts.
  10. Data Visualization in Cells: In spreadsheets where you need to keep the data and visualizations together, sparklines offer a convenient way to incorporate visual insights directly into the data cells.

While sparklines are excellent for providing quick insights, they might not replace the need for more detailed charts and graphs in situations where deeper analysis is required.

Additionally, when using sparklines, it’s essential to ensure that the data you’re visualizing is appropriate for the type of sparkline you’re using (line, column, or win/loss) to ensure accurate representation.

What are Slicers in Microsoft Excel

Excel Slicers Sample
Excel Slicers Sample

Slicers are visual controls. They let us quickly refine data in a PivotTable in an interactive, automatic manner. If we insert a slicer, we can use buttons to quickly segment and refine the data to display appropriate results.

Not only that, when we apply more than one filter to the PivotTable, we no longer have to open a list to see which filters are enforced to the data. Rather, it is displayed on the screen in the slicer.

We can make slicers relate to the workbook formatting and easily reuse them in other PivotTables & PivotCharts.

Slicers provide an intuitive and user-friendly way to filter and analyze data without the need to access complex filter menus or dialogs.

Slicers create buttons or visual elements that you can click or select to filter data, making data analysis more dynamic and accessible.

When you insert a slicer into an Excel workbook, it creates a dashboard-like interface where users can easily filter data by clicking on specific elements. Slicers are especially useful for large datasets and complex reports where traditional filtering methods might be cumbersome.

When to Use Slicers in Excel:

  1. Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts: Slicers are primarily designed to work with pivot tables and pivot charts. They enhance the usability of these tools by providing a simple way to filter and slice data dynamically.
  2. Large Datasets: When dealing with large datasets, using traditional filter dropdowns can be overwhelming. Slicers offer a more user-friendly experience by visually representing filtering options.
  3. Interactive Dashboards: If you’re creating interactive dashboards or reports, slicers can be a great addition. Users can quickly filter data to focus on specific aspects of the report.
  4. Data Exploration: When you want to explore data trends and patterns quickly, slicers allow you to filter data on the fly without the need to constantly modify filter settings.
  5. Collaborative Work: Slicers are particularly useful in collaborative environments where multiple users need to analyze data. They provide a consistent and easy-to-understand filtering interface.
  6. Sales and Marketing Analysis: Slicers are beneficial for sales and marketing reports where you want to analyze data by different criteria such as time periods, regions, products, or customer segments.
  7. Comparative Analysis: Slicers can be used to compare data across different categories, allowing you to instantly switch between various data subsets for comparison.
  8. Data Visualization: When creating presentations or reports for non-Excel users, slicers provide a more intuitive way to interact with and explore data.

How to Use Slicers in Excel:

  1. Create a Pivot Table or Pivot Chart: Before adding slicers, you need to create a pivot table or pivot chart based on your data.
  2. Insert Slicer: Go to the “PivotTable Analyze” or “Analyzing” tab on the Excel ribbon, then click on the “Insert Slicer” button. Choose the fields you want to use as slicers.
  3. Arrange Slicers: Once inserted, arrange the slicers on your worksheet as needed. You can resize them, move them around, and align them to create an organized layout.
  4. Filter Data: When you interact with a slicer by clicking on an element (e.g., selecting a specific category or time period), the associated pivot table or pivot chart will instantly update to show the filtered data.
  5. Multiple Slicers: You can insert multiple slicers based on different fields to provide more comprehensive filtering options.

Remember that while slicers are a fantastic tool for interactivity and data analysis, they are best suited for scenarios involving pivot tables and pivot charts. For traditional data tables, you might want to stick with standard filtering options.

excel trainingIf you would like to learn more about these new features of Microsoft Excel, or would like to attend the Advanced Microsoft Excel Training, do contact us at Intellisoft Systems.

If you have any further questions or want to join a training on how to use Sparklines, contact Intellisoft for Corporate Training on Excel or call at +65 6250-3575.

Trainer: We have certified trainers who excel in imparting their knowledge and are very patient. Master Trainer Vinai teaches Advanced Excel Techniques, Dashboard Techniques using Excel,  Advanced Data Analytics & Data Visualization Training courses at Intellisoft.

Vinai has trained over 15,000 students in over 18 countries, and regularly conducts Excel Workshops in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, India, Dubai, Egypt, Zimbabwe, South Africa etc.

Conditional Formatting in Microsoft Excel For Better Data Visualization

Conditional Formatting in Excel using Color Scales for Data Visualization Training

Improved conditional formatting in Excel For Better Data Visualization

Conditional Formatting in Excel - Sample ScreenshotConditional formatting makes it easy to emphasize important cells or ranges of cells, highlight unusual values, and visualize data by using data bars, color scales, and icon sets. In each newer version of Excel, it includes further more formatting flexibility.

Conditional formatting in Excel is a powerful feature that allows you to automatically apply formatting to cells based on specific conditions.

It’s a fantastic tool for visualizing data trends, highlighting important information, and making your spreadsheets more informative and user-friendly.

Here are some of the best ways to use conditional formatting, along with concrete examples:

Color Scales in Excel Conditional Formatting

  1. Color Scale for Data Ranges:
    • Use a color scale to visually represent the distribution of data values within a range.
    • Example: Apply a green-to-red color scale to a list of temperature readings to quickly identify hot and cold temperatures.
  2. Icon Sets for Comparisons:
    • Apply icon sets to cells to compare values and show trends using icons like arrows or traffic lights.
    • Example: Use upward and downward arrows to indicate whether sales figures have increased or decreased compared to the previous month.
  3. Data Bars for Proportional Data:
    • Use data bars to create horizontal bars within cells to represent the proportional value of each cell compared to others.
    • Example: Apply data bars to visualize the relative sizes of monthly expenses in a budget spreadsheet.
  4. Highlighting Duplicates and Unique Values:
    • Apply conditional formatting to highlight duplicate or unique values in a range of cells.
    • Example: Highlight duplicate names in a list of customers to identify potential data entry errors.
  5. Color-Coded Prioritization:
    • Use conditional formatting to color-code cells based on priority levels, making it easy to identify important tasks or items.
    • Example: Color-code tasks in a to-do list as high, medium, or low priority.
  6. Custom Formulas for Complex Conditions:
    • Create custom formulas for more complex conditions that aren’t covered by built-in formatting rules.
    • Example: Apply conditional formatting to highlight cells with values greater than the average of a range.
  7. Highlighting Dates:
    • Apply conditional formatting to highlight dates that fall within a certain range, such as upcoming deadlines or overdue dates.
    • Example: Use red formatting to highlight dates that are past the current date in a project timeline.
  8. Data Validation Feedback:
    • Use conditional formatting to provide feedback on data validation rules, making it clear why certain entries are invalid.
    • Example: Apply a red border to cells that contain text longer than a specified character limit.
  9. Heat Maps for Data Analysis:
    • Create heat maps by applying conditional formatting to visualize patterns and trends in large datasets.
    • Example: Apply color scales to sales data to quickly identify regions with the highest and lowest sales figures.
  10. Formula-Based Alerts:
    • Use conditional formatting to trigger alerts or notifications based on specific formula-driven conditions.
    • Example: Apply a bold font and red text to cells where inventory levels are below a certain threshold.Icons for use in Conditional Formatting of Data in Excel

Key to effective conditional formatting is to choose formatting options that align with your goals and data presentation needs. By using conditional formatting strategically, you can make your data more visually engaging and facilitate better decision-making.

New icon sets: In Excel, we  can access to more icon sets, including triangles, stars, and boxes. We can also mix and match icons from different sets and more easily hide icons.

For example, we might choose to display icons only for high profit values and remove them for middle and lower values.

More options for data bars: Excel now comes with new formatting options for data bars. You can apply solid fills or borders to the data bar, or set the bar direction from right-to-left instead of left-to-right.

Not only that, data bars for negative values appear on the opposite side of an axis from positive values.

excel trainingIf you would like to learn more about these new features of Microsoft Excel for data analysis and data visualization or would like to attend the Microsoft Excel Training, do contact us at Intellisoft Systems.

If you have any further questions then contact us through email or call at +65 6250-3575!!!

The Best Trainer for Advanced Data Analytics With Excel in Singapore

Mr. Vinai, Prakash the founder of Intellisoft Systems teaches Advanced Excel Techniques, Dashboard Techniques using Excel, Data Interpretation and Analysis Training courses at Intellisoft.

He has trained over 15,000 students in over 18 countries, and regularly conducts Excel Workshops in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, India, Dubai, Egypt, Zimbabwe, South Africa etc.

New Features in Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access Training in Singapore
Microsoft Access Training in Singapore
Microsoft Access Training in Singapore

If you’re searching for a more flexible data management system, a database might be just the salvation you’re looking for and Microsoft Access provides an excellent option. With Access you will experience new interface with different look and feel. It has got sleeker look and it has more colors to make it more modern style, which makes Access still relevant now and beyond.

You can not only save the document which you can access anywhere but at the same time you can collaborate it with other people.

Microsoft Access Logo

Features of  Microsoft Access

Access 2013 has changed the tabs of ribbons and made it capitalized which was not there before.

Also if you have not worked with SkyDrive before that’s something which is going to be new for you. Want to explore this?

So when you are trying to open any new or existing document you don’t only have a option of choosing it from Recent but also you can also select it from SkyDrive.

After entering your account details it enters into your SkyDrive and then you can browse your database the same way as you browse in windows explorer. Like downloading we can also upload our local database to the SkyDrive.

Access 2013 has moved towards the Cloud and can now produce Web Apps which can be accessed through a browser.

There’s a quantity of Wizard help available in constructing these, so you’re not working from the sketch up when constructing one. Navigation and different views are pre-constructed, as long as the Web App you’re after can be based on one of the database templates provided.

Here are the top features you should explore in Access .Microsoft Access Training in Singapore at Intellisoft

  • Using Templates in Access
  • Apps in Access
  • A Focus on the Web: Office 365, SharePoint, and Access
  • SQL Server: Behind the Scenes of Access

If you would like to learn more about these new features in Microsoft Access, or would like to attend the Microsoft Access Training, do contact us at Intellisoft Systems.

Check out if you are really Microsoft Office Proficient.

What are the Benefits of Learning Microsoft Access

Learning Microsoft Access offers a variety of benefits for individuals and professionals who work with databases, data management, and data analysis. Here are some key advantages of learning Microsoft Access:

1. Efficient Data Management: Microsoft Access enables you to organize and manage large amounts of data in a structured manner. You can create tables, relationships, and queries that help you maintain data integrity and prevent redundancy.

2. User-Friendly Interface: Access features an intuitive interface with a graphical design view that makes it accessible to users without extensive programming experience. This allows you to design and manage databases with ease.

3. Customized Data Entry Forms: You can design custom data entry forms in Access, tailored to your specific needs. This streamlines data entry processes and ensures consistent and accurate data input.

4. Structured Query Language (SQL) Integration: Access allows you to use SQL for more advanced querying and data manipulation. This skill is transferable to other relational database management systems (RDBMS) as well.

5. Querying and Reporting: Access offers powerful querying capabilities, allowing you to extract specific data subsets, perform calculations, and create meaningful reports based on your data.

6. Data Analysis and Insights: Learning Access empowers you to analyze data by creating complex queries, running aggregate functions, and generating summary reports, helping you derive valuable insights.

7. Data Validation and Integrity: Access enables you to implement data validation rules and constraints to ensure that your data is accurate, consistent, and conforms to specified criteria.

8. Data Security: Access provides options for securing your databases by setting permissions and user roles, allowing you to control who can view, edit, or manipulate your data.

9. Integration with Other Microsoft Office Apps: Access seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft Office applications, such as Excel and Word, allowing you to import and export data and generate reports in familiar formats.

10. Career Opportunities: Proficiency in Access is a valuable skill sought after by employers across various industries. It can open doors to positions related to data analysis, data management, and database administration.

11. Small Business Solutions: Access is often used by small businesses to create customized databases for inventory management, customer tracking, project management, and more.

12. Learning Transferable Skills: Learning Access equips you with fundamental database design and management skills that can be applied to other relational databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, or Oracle.

Mastering Microsoft Access offers a range of benefits that can enhance your data management capabilities, improve efficiency, and provide you with valuable skills for various career paths.

Whether you’re working with data as part of your job or simply looking to gain new skills, mastering Microsoft Access can be a valuable investment of your time and effort.

Who Uses Microsoft Access These Days?

Microsoft Access is used by a wide range of individuals, professionals, and organizations for various purposes related to data management, reporting, and analysis. Here are some examples of who uses Microsoft Access:

1. Small Businesses and Startups: Small businesses and startups often use Microsoft Access to create custom databases for tasks such as inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM), order tracking, and project management.

2. Data Analysts and Researchers: Data analysts and researchers use Access to organize and analyze data for research projects, surveys, and data-driven decision-making. They can create queries, run calculations, and generate reports to extract insights from their data.

3. Administrative Professionals: Administrative staff use Access to manage information such as employee records, event schedules, contact lists, and resource allocation. Custom databases can help streamline administrative tasks.

4. Educators and Students: Access can be used in educational settings for teaching and learning database concepts. Students may learn how to create databases, design forms, and perform basic data analysis.

5. Nonprofit Organizations: Nonprofits use Access to track donations, manage volunteer information, and create reports for stakeholders. Custom databases help them efficiently manage their operations.

6. Project Managers: Project managers can use Access to create databases for tracking project progress, tasks, timelines, and resources. This aids in organizing and overseeing complex projects.

7. Marketing and Sales Professionals: Marketing and sales teams use Access to manage customer data, track sales leads, analyze marketing campaigns, and generate reports on sales performance.

8. Human Resources Departments: HR departments use Access to manage employee data, track performance reviews, monitor training programs, and generate reports for compliance and analysis.

9. Government Agencies: Government agencies utilize Access to manage various data, such as public records, permits, licenses, and citizen information. Custom databases help streamline operations.

10. Consultants and Freelancers: Independent consultants and freelancers might use Access to track client information, project details, expenses, and generate invoices.

11. Research Institutions: Research institutions and academic organizations use Access for managing data related to ongoing research projects, experiments, and academic studies.

12. Event Planners: Event planners use Access to manage event details, guest lists, RSVPs, and other logistical aspects of event planning.

13. Health and Medical Facilities: Medical practices and healthcare facilities can use Access to manage patient records, appointments, billing, and other administrative tasks.

14. Real Estate Agents: Real estate agents might use Access to track property listings, client preferences, transaction history, and generate property reports.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of professionals and organizations that use Microsoft Access to manage, analyze, and report on their data.

Access provides a user-friendly interface for creating custom databases that cater to specific needs and tasks, making it a versatile tool for a variety of industries and roles.

Why Should You Join Intellisoft For Your Access Course Training?

Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider Intellisoft Systems’ Microsoft Access training courses as your top choice and why you should strongly consider joining these courses:

  1. Expertise and Experience: Intellisoft Systems has a proven track record of delivering high-quality training programs. With years of experience in the industry, their instructors are experts in their field and have a deep understanding of Microsoft Access.
  2. Comprehensive Curriculum: The Microsoft Access training courses at Intellisoft Systems are designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of Access. From database design fundamentals to advanced query and reporting techniques, you’ll cover all aspects needed to become proficient in Access.
  3. Hands-on Learning: Intellisoft Systems places a strong emphasis on hands-on learning. Through practical exercises, real-world projects, and interactive workshops, you’ll gain practical experience that is invaluable for applying your knowledge in real-life scenarios.
  4. Customized Approach: The training courses are tailored to meet the needs of learners at various skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to enhance your existing Access skills, Intellisoft Systems ensures that the training aligns with your learning goals.
  5. Small Class Sizes: With small class sizes, you’ll receive personalized attention from instructors. This facilitates a conducive learning environment where you can ask questions, engage in discussions, and receive individualized guidance.
  6. Project-Oriented Learning: Intellisoft Systems believes in project-oriented learning, where you’ll work on practical projects that simulate real-world scenarios. This approach helps you build a strong foundation and apply your skills effectively.
  7. Practical Applications: Access is a powerful tool with numerous applications across various industries. By joining Intellisoft Systems’ courses, you’ll be equipped with skills that are highly relevant and sought after in the job market.
  8. Networking Opportunities: Enrolling in these courses allows you to connect with fellow learners who share similar interests. Networking opportunities can lead to valuable connections, collaborations, and the exchange of insights.
  9. Post-Training Support: Intellisoft Systems continues to support you even after the training is complete. You can reach out for clarifications, guidance, and assistance, ensuring that your learning journey is a continuous one.
  10. Proven Success Stories: Many individuals have successfully completed Intellisoft Systems’ Access training courses and have seen tangible improvements in their skills and career prospects. You could be the next success story.

If you’re looking to master Microsoft Access and unlock its potential for your personal growth or professional advancement, Intellisoft Systems’ Access training courses are your ideal choice.

With their experienced instructors, comprehensive curriculum, hands-on learning, and commitment to your success, these courses provide the perfect platform to enhance your skills and confidently navigate the world of Access.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from the best – join Intellisoft Systems’ Microsoft Access training courses and take your skills to the next level!

Pivot Tables in Microsoft Excel For Fast Data Analysis

Excel Pivot Table Training Singapore

Excel Pivot Tables help us to discover patterns or trends in the data.

Here is a quick tutorial on Pivot Tables in Excel which highlights the new features added in Microsoft Office 365, Office 2019, and Microsoft Office 2016 or earlier versions of Excel.

Earlier we had a look at the Sparklines and Slicers features of Excel so now we will look at the improved pivot table feature of excel.

Excel Pivot Table Training Singapore

Learn Improved Pivot Tables in Excel

PivotTables are now easier to use and more responsive. Key improvements include:

Excel Pivot Table Training
Lesser-Known Features of Microsoft Excel
  • Performance enhancements: In Excel, Multi-threading helps advanced  sorting, data retrieval and filtering in Pivot Tables.
  • Write-back support: In Excel, we can update values in the OLAP PivotTable Values area and then transferred to the Analysis Services cube on the OLAP server. We can use the write-back feature in what-if mode and then roll back the changes when we no longer need them, or we can save the changes. We can use the write-back feature with any OLAP provider that supports the UPDATE CUBE statement.
  • Enhanced filtering: We can use slicers to quickly het the required data in a PivotTable and see which filters are applied without having to open additional menus. In addition, the filter interface includes a handy search box that can help us to find what we need among potentially thousands (or even millions) of items in the PivotTables.
  • Pivot Table labels: We can add labels in a Pivot Table and also replicate them in the Pivot Tables. This will help us to display item captions of nested fields in all rows and columns.
  • PivotChart enhancements: It has made things easy to interact with PivotChart reports. Specifically, it’s easier to get the required data directly in a PivotChart and to reorganize the layout of a PivotChart by adding and deleting fields. Similarly, we can hide all field buttons on the PivotChart report.
  • Show Values As feature: The ‘show values as’ feature includes a number of new, automatic calculations, such as % of Parent Row Total, % of Parent Column Total, % of Parent Total, % Running Total, Rank Smallest to Largest, and Rank Largest to Smallest.

How To Create a Pivot Table in Excel

  1. Drag and drop fields from your data into the “Rows,” “Columns,” “Values,” and “Filters” areas in the PivotTable Field List.
    • Rows: This area represents the rows of your pivot table, often used for categorizing data.
    • Columns: This area represents the columns of your pivot table, creating a hierarchical structure.
    • Values: This area represents the values you want to summarize or calculate, such as sums or averages.
    • Filters: This area allows you to apply filters to your data before generating the pivot table.
  2. Customize Values: You can change the way your values are summarized by clicking on the drop-down arrow next to a field in the “Values” area and selecting a summary function (e.g., Sum, Count, Average).
  3. Apply Filters: If you added fields to the “Filters” area, you can use the filter drop-downs in your pivot table to narrow down the data displayed.
  4. Format and Style: Format and style your pivot table to make it visually appealing and easier to understand. You can use Excel’s formatting tools to adjust fonts, colors, and cell borders.
  5. Refresh Data: If your original data changes, you can refresh the pivot table to update it with the new data. Right-click on the pivot table and choose “Refresh.”
  6. Explore and Analyze: Use your pivot table to explore and analyze your data. You can easily rearrange fields, add or remove them, and experiment with different layouts.

Creating a pivot table might seem a bit complex at first, but once you become familiar with the process, you’ll find it to be a powerful tool for data analysis and reporting in Excel.

Excel Training SingaporeIf you would like to learn more about these new features of Microsoft Excel, or would like to attend the Microsoft Excel Training, do contact us at Intellisoft Systems.

If you have any further questions then contact us through email Systems or call at +65 6250-3575!!!

Your Pivot Table Trainer is Vinai Prakash.

Vinai teaches Advanced Excel Techniques, Dashboard Techniques using Excel, Data Interpretation and Analysis Training courses at Intellisoft.

He has trained over 15,000 students in over 18 countries, and regularly conducts Excel Workshops in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, India, Dubai, Egypt, Zimbabwe, South Africa etc.

Why Use Pivot Tables in Excel:

Pivot tables are a powerful tool in Excel that offer a range of benefits for data analysis, summarization, and reporting. Here are some examples of why you should use pivot tables and the key advantages they provide:

1. Data Summarization: Pivot tables allow you to quickly summarize and aggregate large datasets. They can help you calculate sums, averages, counts, percentages, and more, without requiring complex formulas.

Example: Summarizing sales data to calculate total revenue, average sales per region, or the number of units sold by product category.

2. Data Analysis: Pivot tables enable you to analyze data from multiple perspectives by arranging fields dynamically. This flexibility allows you to uncover patterns, trends, and insights within your data.

Example: Analyzing website traffic data to determine which pages are most visited, identify traffic sources, and compare user engagement across different time periods.

3. Quick Report Generation: Pivot tables provide a rapid way to generate comprehensive reports from your data. You can customize the layout, apply filters, and instantly update the report as your data changes.

Example: Creating monthly financial reports with detailed breakdowns of expenses, revenues, and profits across various departments or projects.

4. Interactive Dashboards: Pivot tables can be part of interactive dashboards. When combined with slicers and pivot charts, they allow users to dynamically explore data and instantly visualize trends.

Example: Building a sales dashboard where users can filter data by product, region, or time period using slicers and see the results in pivot charts and tables.

5. Easy Data Restructuring: Pivot tables make it easy to reorganize data on the fly. You can quickly change the order of rows and columns to view data from different angles.

Example: Rearranging survey data to view responses based on different demographic categories like age groups, gender, or education levels.

6. Data Cleansing and Filtering: Pivot tables can help you clean and filter your data. You can easily remove duplicates, filter out irrelevant records, and focus on specific subsets of your data.

Example: Identifying and removing duplicate entries from a customer database or filtering out low-performing products from a sales dataset.

Key Advantages of Pivot Tables:

  • Efficiency: Pivot tables allow you to perform complex data analysis tasks quickly, without requiring in-depth knowledge of formulas or programming.
  • Dynamic Exploration: You can easily switch, add, or remove fields to explore data from different angles, helping you uncover hidden insights.
  • Flexibility: Pivot tables accommodate changes in data structure or values, allowing you to update your reports and analysis effortlessly.
  • Compact Presentation: Pivot tables provide summarized results in a compact and easy-to-read format, making it simpler to communicate key findings to stakeholders.
  • Interactivity: By using slicers and pivot charts in conjunction with pivot tables, you can create interactive reports and dashboards that facilitate user-driven analysis.
  • No Data Alteration: Pivot tables do not alter your source data. They create a separate view of your data for analysis purposes, ensuring data integrity.

Pivot tables in Excel are essential for transforming raw data into actionable insights. They offer a range of benefits, including efficient data summarization, interactive analysis, and quick report generation.

Whether you’re working with sales figures, survey responses, financial data, or any other type of dataset, pivot tables can help you make sense of your information and make informed decisions.

Power BI Tip #2: Reference Query Results in Another Query With Power Query [Video Tutorial]

Learn PowerQuery Reference at Intellisoft Singapore

Been analyzing the same or similar data for a long time?

I bet you spend a lot of time cleaning the data, and doing the same steps again and again… removing Blank, getting rid of duplicates, adding that Tax column, or fixing the same old formatting issues with the dates, numbers as text etc.

It does not have to be like that. Not anymore! You can take you cleaned data in Power BI, and use it in another dashboard or query. And you can analyze the same data in different ways too.

You see, for most types of analysis in the workplace, the base data is usually the same, probably coming from the same source. But the transformations will most likely be different, and the usage will be different too.

For example, Sales data from the past month could be used for many different analysis.

Some common types of analysis could be:

  1. to analyze the sales of the month and identify which products sold or did not sell well OR
  2. to forecast for future month based on past trends
  3. to understand inventory movement, analyze fast-moving and slow-moving goods by segmentation
  4. to recognize revenue
  5. to look at accounts receivable
  6. to analyze performance by salespersons, by geography, by division, by category, by department, and by customer segments

Now in both cases, the way we look at the data will be different, and the analysis will branch out differently too. And for each branch, we will have to load the same basic data, and do the same basic cleanup – remove duplicates, fill nulls, change data types, fix dates etc.

Rather than doing the same cleanup transformations again for each analysis, it is better to do the cleanup only once and save that query. Once the base query is ready, it can be used to extend for further transformation and analysis, depending on the need.

Power Query, which is available to you through Excel or Power BI can be used easily for this (Video Tutorial Below).  The thing to look for is

How to Reference a Query and Create a New Query from it

Referencing a Query allows us to simply take the result of one query, and take it further in another query.

I created a detailed, step by step video for you to see how to reference a query in Power Query. You can use it in Excel or in PowerBI. It works exactly the same way in both of these software.

I do hope you like it. You can subscribe to our YouTube Channel to be notified of new videos automatically.

Hope you do like our Excel & Power BI trainings, videos, and Online Blogs on Intellisoft website.

Learn Power BI From Practicing Professionals in Singapore
Intellisoft Systems conducts PowerBI training in Singapore each month, which are WSQ Funded for up to 70%, and there are several other grants to tap on too.

Do attend our hands-on practical training to learn Power BI from the beginning, and be able to analyze and visualize data easily with Microsoft tools.

Visit PowerBI Training in Singapore or email to for a course brochure.

This article and Video is written, edited & presented by: Vinai Prakash,
Founder & Master Trainer, Intellisoft Systems

Vinai conducts the Microsoft Power BI training in Singapore. His Power BI MasterClass courses are extremely popular, fun and easy to learn for beginners and experienced professionals alike.

Join Vinai in his next Power BI training course at Intellisoft. You won’t believe the insider secrets, shortcuts, and nifty ways that Power BI can be used, that Vinai will share in the workshop.


From Data Frustration to Data Transformation: A Success Story

Learn to convert data into information into knowledge into wisdom at Intellisoft Systems Singapore

The Challenge of Having Too Much Data & Too Little Time

In today’s data-driven business landscape, the ability to extract meaningful insights from vast amounts of information is crucial. The amount of data that is coming is too fast, and there is hardly any time to analyze it.Learn to convert data into information into knowledge into wisdom at Intellisoft Systems Singapore

This challenge is faced by too many people… But there is light at the end of this black hole of data… See how our heroine, Amanda Lee managed to solve this challenge.

We take you on a captivating journey with Amanda, an employee who faced a daunting challenge: analyzing complex data from SAP.

Her determination, resourcefulness, and expertise in SQL, Excel, and Power BI led her to become a valued data analyst within her organization.

Let’s delve into the Case Study of Amanda and explore the transformative power of these tools, and how Amanda managed to survive the day and thrive…

The SAP Data Conundrum:

Amanda, a dedicated employee known for her analytical skills, was tasked by her manager to analyze data from SAP, the company’s backbone for managing vital business information.

The data was available in multiple places in some standard reports, and some custom reports.Data in multiple silos can be combined with Power BI, SQL, Python. Learn how to do this at Intellisoft Courses in Singapore.

But the manager wanted a perfect report, and it was difficult to make sense of the whole, big picture from multiple sections.

So Amanda was tasked to take this challenge and make it work.

The challenge lay in finding a single report that provided a comprehensive overview of the required data. Undeterred, Amanda set out to conquer this data conundrum.

Exploring Standard Reports:

Amanda embarked on a meticulous exploration of SAP’s standard reports, hoping to find the perfect report or a solution.

She dedicated countless hours to examining various reports, seeking the elusive comprehensive data set.

However, despite her best efforts, none of the reports met the boss’s requirements.

Exporting and Excel Limitations:

Not one to give up easily, Amanda decided to export the data from SAP Reports into Excel, believing it would allow her to manage and analyze the information more effectively.

To her dismay, the exported data turned out to be massive, exceeding the limits of Excel’s capabilities. It became evident that relying solely on Excel would not suffice to solve this complex data puzzle.

Plus, loading multiple huge report files, and other Master data files at the same time caused her computer to crash often.

Excel and the Power of VLOOKUP:

Determined to find a solution, Amanda delved deeper into Excel’s functionalities and discovered the power of VLOOKUP.

She realized that by merging data from multiple sources, she could create a more comprehensive dataset. This process, however, proved to be laborious and error-prone, requiring significant time and effort to align the data properly.

Excel VLookup Sample
Excel VLookup Sample

Learning VLOOKUP is one thing, and applying it to lookup multiple codes & descriptions from multiple sheets and multiple Excel files was too cumbersome and slow.

Discovering SQL:

Driven by her desire for efficiency, Amanda set out on a quest to find a more robust solution. She began exploring the world of databases and stumbled upon SQL (Structured Query Language).

Recognizing its potential in handling large datasets and performing complex queries, Amanda dedicated to mastering SQL language.

Learn SQL to query any database quickly in Singapore
Introduction to SQL training in Singapore. Learn to query any database with SQL quickly in 2 days at Intellisoft

Learning SQL helped in picking the right data directly from transactional tables in SAP’s Oracle Database by joining several table and writing efficient SQL queries.

The SQL Solution:

Armed with SQL knowledge, Amanda devised a strategy to extract the required data needed from the corporate SAP database.

With a single SQL query, the query effortlessly pulled out the required information, bypassing the arduous process of manual data manipulation.

Amanda’s achievement in harnessing the power of SQL marked a significant turning point in her quest for analytical excellence.

Excel Dashboards and Visualizations:

With the right data finally at her disposal, Amanda exported it back into Excel, now equipped with the necessary insights.

She utilized Excel Dashboards to create various analyses and visualizations, bringing the data to life in a meaningful and impactful way.

The management was astounded by the depth of insights provided by these visualizations, realizing the untapped potential of data analysis.

Introducing Power BI:

The success achieved with Excel Dashboards paved the way for an even more remarkable transformation. Amanda was introduced to Power BI, a powerful business intelligence tool, by the Corporate HQ of the company.

She was spellbound by the dynamic, beautiful, amazing analysis capabilities of Power BI.

She began to migrate the entire solution from Excel to Power BI, creating interactive dashboards and reports that enabled the entire organization to access and explore the latest data analysis  effortlessly, from any device, without waiting for manual data refreshes and month end jobs to complete running.

Becoming the Data Analysis Expert:

Amanda’s expertise in SQL, Excel, and Power BI elevated her to a coveted position within the company.

She became the go-to analyst for senior management, constantly engaging in discussions and providing innovative solutions to analyze and visualize information for the leadership team.

Her journey from an individual contributor to a key player in shaping data-driven decisions exemplified the transformative power of mastering these tools.


The story of Amanda’s journey from grappling with SAP’s data challenges to becoming an indispensable data analysis expert is a testament to the incredible possibilities offered by SQL, Excel, and Power BI.

By harnessing the power of these tools, individuals can unlock the true potential of data, transform their organizations, and become drivers of analytical excellence in the ever-evolving business landscape.

What Challenge Are You Facing?

Are you facing similar challenges? Or do you have other data challenges?

Do let us know. Our experienced training coordinators can assist you in understanding your data challenges and then guide you with an appropriate course to choose from.

This can help you get started in the right way, and not face the challenges that Amanda faced.


Vinai Prakash, Founder & Principal TrainerIntellisoft Systems

Recommended Reading:

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