2009-01-16

Excel Pivot Tables Are Good

No, I don't really have a tutorial here. I've never been one to swoon over Excel. I mean, it's a nice little tool, and I use it a good bit.

Many moons ago, I'd started an article (yes, I didn't even finish it) that said "if you're not using pivot tables in Excel, you're missing the point of Excel." It's like a lot of pseudoprogramming tasks. I didn't need it, so I didn't try it.

And then I did need it. And, hoo boy, is it helpful:

I had a list like this:
Custid, Warehouse, Ship To, Sales
0001, DC01, Dealer, $100.00
0001, DC01, End User, $500.00
0001, DC02, Dealer, $200.00
0001, DC02, End User, $900.00
(you get the idea)

...and that just doesn't look nice in Excel. What I really wanted was to show the custid on the X axis, the warehouse on the Y axis and subtotal the ship to under each warehouse.

The pivot table is perfect for that sort of formatting. The idea is that we'd save money and provide better service moving the "Dealer" types to a different delivery type. But that's a story for another day.

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