Using GetPivotData in Excel To Get Pivot Values Instantly
Pivot tables from Microsoft are a great boon in Excel. Previously, getting IT departments to write custom reports used to take ages. And even if you could get a report written for your needs, by the time you got it, it was too late, or you wanted to look at information from another angle.
With Pivot tables, you can now create your own reports in no time. And you can slice and dice information pretty easily, with just a few clicks.
However, even though Pivot tables are great, they are not the best tool for presenting information for the senior management. There may be times when you want to pick up certain information from the pivot table, format it nicely, and present it with other summary figures.
To use the summarized data from the pivot table, but make it more presentable, you can use an extremely useful function of Excel called the GetPivotData.
Enabling GetPivotData Button
It is very easy to get this function to work. This little gem is hidden right within the Pivot Toolbar. Just right click on the Pivot Toolbar, right at the end, and select customize. Pick Add/Remove Buttons.
Select GetPivotData button. This is a toggle button – click it once and it gets enabled, and another click disables it. You can see a slight change in the icon when it is enabled or disabled.
Once the button is highlighted, you can begin writing your formula. Start with a = sign in a black cell where you want a pivot table value. then point to any cell in the Pivot Table. Its value is captured in your formula.
As long as the data is available and visible in the Pivot table, you can move the data around from rows to columns or page fields, but it will still appear correctly in the presentation area.
Go ahead. Give it a try and make your data presentation summaries more dynamic and presentable. Any questions or comments, do let me know.
In Microsoft Excel , new features are sparklines and slicers, and improvements to Pivot Tables and other existing features, can help us to discover patterns or trends in the data. In the previous post 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.
Improved Pivot Tables
PivotTables are now easier to use and more responsive. Key improvements include:
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.
Trainer: Vinai teaches Advanced Excel Techniques, Dashboard Techniques using Excel, Data Interpretation and Analysis Training courses at Intellisoft. He has trained over 5000 students in over 18 countries, and regularly conducts Excel Workshops in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, India, Dubai, Egypt, Zimbabwe, South Africa etc.
I bet you know how to sort data in Excel. It is pretty easy. Most of the time an ascending sorting is what we need – letters and numbers listed in the ascending order – a to z, 1 to 100 etc. And just in case you need to sort in the reverse order, you have the Z to A sort, also called the Sort in Descending order. Between the two, most people are quite happy, thanks to Microsoft‘s intuitive sorting options.
However, there arises a time when you don’t want either the sort in Ascending order or the Descending order in Excel.
Examples where a Standard Sorting won’t work:
For example, if the departments in your organization are Finance, Marketing, Sales & Engineering. And you want the Sales department to be listed first, followed by Marketing, Engineering, and Finance being the last.
Now how would you sort the departments in this order? Ascending or descending sort is not going to work.
Do not despair however. Here is where the power of Microsoft Excel Custom sort shines.
Another scenario is the Sorting of Months – say you want to sort April, May & June, in this order. Or maybe you want to sort regions by East, West, North & South. This EWNS order also needs a custom sorting in Excel.
Or if you have a completely random order – which defies any kind of sorting. Say you want to list Oranges, then Apples, then Grapes, and finally Bananas. You can go nuts without custom sorting criteria in Excel.
Using Custom Sort in Excel
First, let’s create the custom list in Excel.
Go to Tools, Options, Custom Lists.
You can key in your list and click Add. Or you can import your list from another area of the spreadsheet, where you list the options in the sorted order.
Once you have imported the list in the correct order, you can go to Data, Sort, and then click on Options at the bottom of this popup window.
Choose your custom sorted list from the list of First Key Sort Order.
Voila! Your list is now sorted in your very own custom order.
Alternatives to Custom Sort in Excel
Of course, if you don’t want to use Custom Sort, there are other alternatives. I have often used a Lookup Table
I then use the inbuilt Lookup function of Excel called VLOOKUP function and pick the correct value, and then do an Ascending sort. This is a quick cheat trick.
Most people take Excel to be a number crunching tool… boring and unattractive.
Actually, Microsoft Excel has been slowly transforming… adding more and more features that make presentation of number much better with every new edition of Excel.
The Excel 2016, 2019 & Microsoft Office 365 versions are extremely powerful and you can create dynamic dashboards with buttons, check boxes, drop downs, scroll bars, conditional formatting, pivot charts, slicers, and a host of other features, just by using Excel.
What is an Excel Dashboard?
An Excel Dashboard is a simple tool for the management, allowing them to get a glance at the business in just a single screen – without looking at multiple sheets of data or charts.
See the dashboard created in the image here. You may not even realize that it was created in Microsoft Excel.
Plus, it is not just a pretty dashboard. There are things that can change – with the click of a button, you can change the division, product, year, and the entire set of graphs, numbers, charts will change dynamically. Try that in PowerPoint….
Is Excel Good for Creating Dashboards?
Yes, Excel has all the important features that can make a complete dashboard. In fact, small companies rely on Excel for almost all their work as they can’t afford the more expensive Business Intelligence software. You can create multiple charts, KPIs, to be displayed in a single page, and set them to refresh automatically upon opening.
There are several options to add buttons, dropdowns, check boxes, radio buttons that add interactivity to Excel dashboards. With these control, plus macros, and Power Query running in the background to fetch and clean data, is all you need to make any kind of dashboard in Excel.
How to Create a Dashboard in Excel from Scratch?
It is pretty easy to make a Dashboard in Microsoft Excel. Here are some steps for you to follow:
Step 1: To make a dashboard in Excel, you must begin with the end picture in mind.
If you do not have a clear end picture in mind, it may make sense to do some brainstorming on a piece of paper.
Better still, gather a bunch of colleagues and managers, and do this in a meeting, to understand what are the key things you must measure. KPI, ROI, Net Margin, Market Share, Cost per acquisition etc. are good things to measure. This can be translated into any industry. So you can measure Number of hotel nights booked, Number of patients admitted vs discharged, average hours worked per week etc.
You also have to think about the Dimensions you would like to slice this data on – by Country Department, Quarter, Zone, Area, Cost Center, etc. This will allow you to compare the metrics from the different periods and it becomes much easier to track if the performance is getting better or worse.
Step 2: Collect the Required Data For the Excel Dashboard
Once you know what you want to track and measure, you must make sure that this data is collected, and is available. You might have to extract it from your ERP or internal databases or systems.
Step 3: Clean the Data
Extract & take the required data. You will have to clean it using Excel Formulas and functions, or you can use Power Query. Remove useless columns.
Use of functions like these can be handy
Step 4: Build Connections With Master Data
Raw data on its own may not be very useful. Build the right VLookups to link with Master Data.
You can link Excel to other external or internal workbooks, and worksheets.
Step 5: Build Measures & Calculations
A few new formulas may be required to be built, to calculate the key measures. This requires knowledge of advanced excel formulas like the ones here. You may need more or less…
VLOOKUP or XLOOKUP
Step 6: Start Building The Charts, Reports, Using the KPIs to Measure
The next step is to start building the dashboards with the KPIs, Charts, Pivots to summarize the data at the right granularity.
Step 7: Add Interactivity With Excel Controls
Once this step is done, it will be required for your to build the interactivity in, to slice and dice by country, division, zone, periods like quarters, months etc. You can add Slicers, Buttons, Dropdowns, Check boxes to check or uncheck, and based on the selection, the appropriate charts and KPIs can be updated.
Step 8: Begin Using The New Dashboard
That’s it. Your Excel dashboard is ready. Begin using it. Tweak it as needed. Share it with other colleagues, so you can gather more feedback, and improve it. Once a dashboard becomes ready, it becomes easy to measure things throughout the company, based on the same benchmark or metrics.
You can attend our 2 day Most Popular Excel Dashboards Training in Singapore – it starts at the basics, and covers step by step features required to create such dashboards with Excel, on your own.
Plus we provide you with snacks, tea/coffee breaks, so everything required is available… and you can focus on learning and building the Excel dashboards quickly, and easily.
Intellisoft runs Dashboard MasterClass in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Dubai, Qatar, India, and many other countries.
If you would like to join our next Excel Dashboard Training Course, simply contact us, and we will advice you of the dates, training schedule in the city of your choice.
Contact us to enroll for this practical, hands on training. We will email you the Course Brochure too, so you can see the topics covered in detail.
Customized Corporate Training is available for this Excel Dashboard Training in Singapore
So far we have conducted a number of such classes for the staff of large MNC companies, teaching them how to create such reports and dashboards with ease, and they have been highly popular and successful… requiring us to do multiple repeat sessions for other divisions, countries also.
Do learn these simple techniques to create useful, and interactive Dashboards using Excel and beyond. You will be amazed at the ease with which you can track and measure things. Better still, everyone will be on the same page.
Removing confusion from the corporate culture is a major step towards success with Excel Dashboards
Most people hardly use the huge number of features available in Microsoft Excel. Many are just using Excel as a calculator. This is a gross under use of Excel’s vast potential and feature rich functionality.
Do a quick check, and see if you use these advanced features of Microsoft Excel in your day to day work.
Some of the common things that can be done easily with Excel are:
Finding the Top 10 Customers or Finding the Bottom 10 Performers in the organization
Highlight values that are above or below a certain threshold – like all sales above $25,000 to be highlighted
Sort the values in Ascending, Descending or any customized order – like sorting in order of Manufacturing, Accounts, Sales departments.
Give Names to Range of Cells, and then use them in formulas for easy referencing and decoding
Exploit Pivot Tables to Summarize the data and slice & dice it in any way – finding sales by product groups, or calculating productivity by department
Write Macros to automate routine things that save you a huge amount of time – example creating pivots, charts, tables, and doing complex calculations automatically.
Use advanced filtering conditions, and be able to filter data using multiple different criteria
Create fantastic charts that portray the given business situation perfectly. There are over 50 different types of charts to choose from, and each has its edge, advantages and a reason.
Create management dashboard that are dynamic, and provide a complete snapshot of the key business KPIs in the company – change the chart values at the click of a checkbox or change in a drop-down value
Use Excel’s advanced What-If analysis to do projections for future, forecasting, trend analysis etc. with ease
Use Lookup tables to find any value or corresponding value from a table using advanced functions and formulas
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft Excel is really extremely powerful. Each version of Microsoft Excel – be it Excel 2007, or Excel 2010 or Excel 2013 adds more and more features to the already powerful dynamite of a package.
In Microsoft Excel, some of the new features are Sparklines and Slicers, and 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 2016, first we will look at the details of the Sparklines and slicers features of Excel.
Sparklines are tiny charts that is used to fit in a cell to visually summarize trends beside the data.
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.
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.