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Summarizing Data with Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts

The subject of this tutorial is pivot tables and pivot charts. A pivot table represents a very special kind of data table that summarizes different types of data (such as the records of an Excel data list) and enables you to dynamically analyze the relationships between them. Pivot tables are great because they calculate all their summary data without making you create the formulas that perform the computations.

Pivot tables are quite versatile because they enable you to summarize data using any of the standard summary functions, including COUNT, AVERAGE, MAX, MIN, and the like (although totals created with the SUM function will probably remain your old standby). Best of all, you can also use pivot tables to cross-tabulate one set of data in your data list with another. For example, you can use this feature to create a pivot table from an employee list that totals the salaries for each job category cross-tabulated (arranged) by department or job site.

In addition to generating a pivot table to summarize and analyze your data, you can also create a pivot chart that represents the data summaries graphically. Like pivot tables, pivot charts are also dynamic, enabling you to explore and display different relationships between the various types of data, all on the fly.