Mastering Pivot Tables: Setting up a Pivot Table

Now that you’ve got your data structure in order, you’re ready to insert a pivot table. This step is fairly straightforward, so let’s not overcomplicate it.

We’ll use a sample dataset from our friends at Airbnb related to their listings in Berlin, Germany. The dataset can be found here – and lot of other great sets of data from Airbnb here.

First thing you’ll notice is that your data is organized into columns. This is the data structure we discussed as pivotal to pivot tables. Yes, went there.


The next step in creating a pivot table is navigating to the “insert” tab. There you’ll find pivot table button on the far left. 


Now, be sure that you’re active in cell A1 (or your top, left most cell in your dataset) and go ahead and click that “Pivot Table” button. Invigorating, wasn’t it? Now you should have a dialogue box that looks something like this…


Breaking this down, your table/range is the set of data that’s going to populate in your pivot table. If for some reason you need to edit this, you can click the small icon MPT-ChooseRangeIcon in the input field to edit the table/range. The only other option you need to choose from this dialogue box is where to place this pivot table. You can choose a new worksheet or a an existing worksheet. If you choose a new worksheet, a new tab will open with the shell of your pivot table. If you choose an existing worksheet, you’ll need to select which sheet and cell to place your pivot table. Simple click the icon in the dialogue box and navigate to the sheet and cell of your choice. If all goes well, you’ll have a new tab, with the shell of your pivot table!

In the next one, we’ll look at how to add data to this pivot table.  

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