Introduction to Pivot Tables and Dashboards [Video 1 of 3]

Bottom line: In this video series you will learn how to use Pivot Tables to create meaningful reports and interactive charts and dashboards.

Skill level: Beginner

Learn to Create a Pivot Table and Pivot Chart in Excel

Video #1 – Introduction to Pivot Tables

In this first video we are going to learn how to setup your source data, then create a Pivot Table and Pivot Chart. I also show you how to reformat the chart to upgrade the look from the default settings.

Best viewed in Full Screen HD.

Note: If you are familiar with Pivot Tables then this video might be too basic for you.  I would still love for you to watch the video, but don't want to waste your time.  In the next two videos we will be putting together the dashboard.  There is also a shorter video below where I give a Pivot Chart a makeover…


Use this checklist to cleanup your source data before creating a Pivot Table.

Pivot Table Source Data Checklist - Excel Campus.pdf (262.2 KB)

Use the following file to follow along with the video and create your own Pivot Table and Pivot Chart.

Intro To Pivot Tables Part 1.xlsx (76.5 KB)

Pivot Tables are Amazing!

A few days ago I shared a story about how I got to teach my Dad how to use Pivot Tables.  As you know he is really excited about Pivot Tables.  They were easier to learn than he expected, and he is saving a ton of time when creating reports and summarizing his data.

So I want to share this same training with you!

Create Dashboards with Pivot Tables and Charts

In this video series we are going to follow my friend Andy on the journey to learn Pivot Tables.

Andy and his Boss - Excel Campus

Andy has been tasked by his boss to create some charts and a dashboard for an upcoming presentation.  He really wants to impress his boss, but doesn't have time to learn complex formulas or macros.  What he really needs it Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts.

Turn Data into a Dashboard with Pivot Tables

As you will see, Pivot Tables allow you to quickly summarize and analyze your data.  I am going to show you how you can discover trends and learn a lot about your data with just a few clicks.

Bonus Video: Pivot Chart Makeover in Excel 2010

In the video above I explained how to reformat the Pivot Chart.  In that video I was using Excel 2013.  I recreated the video using Excel 2010 because the menus are a bit different and I want to make sure you could follow along if you are using Excel 2007 or 2010.

Intro To Pivot Tables Part 1.xlsx (76.5 KB)

Why the Chart Makeover?

When presenting your data visually on a chart you want the reader to be able to easily understand the story you are trying to tell.  To do this you want to get rid of all the extra elements that do not contribute to the story.

In this case we removed the axis labels, legend, vertical lines, and field buttons.  This stuff can be referred to as “chart junk” because it tends to clutter the chart.

The default settings of the Pivot Charts typically contain a lot of chart junk.  These extras elements can be distracting for the reader, and take away from your story.

The type of chart you create will determine what elements you want to display.   There are entire books written on the art and science of data visualization, and it is definitely a good topic to study.

PivotPal is Here!

PivotPal Logo Pivot Table Add-in for Excel

I show a few of PivotPal's features in the 11:28 mark in the video above.

PivotPal is now available!

Click here to learn more about PivotPal!

Thank You!

I want to say a big THANK YOU if you took the time to complete the pivot tables survey!  The response was overwhelming and I am still going through all the results.  I will share more about that with you in the coming weeks.

Additional Resources

Please leave a comment below with any questions.  Thanks again!


Please share
Jon Acampora

Welcome to Excel Campus! I am excited you are here. My name is Jon and my goal is to help you learn Excel to save time with your job and advance in your career. I've been an avid Excel user and VBA developer for 10+ years. I am also a Microsoft MVP. I try to learn something new everyday, and want to share this knowledge with you to help you improve your skills. When I'm not looking at spreadsheets, I get outdoors and surf. :) more about me

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 146 comments
Stacey - December 23, 2016

Thanks Jon:
This video was such a great help. very clear and concise.
Can’t wait for video 2.

Gabriel - December 6, 2016

Hi Jon. Thank you for the video series on Pivot tables. I have wondered for a while what this excel feature was about – thanks to you, I’ve added to my skills set. Interestingly, it’s not as difficult to learn as I had imagined.

    Jon Acampora - December 10, 2016

    Thanks Gabriel! I’m so happy to hear you are learning pivot tables. You are right. For some reasons pivot tables get a bad wrap for being complex and scary, but they really aren’t too bad. 🙂

Chouday - November 20, 2016

Very helpful thank you.

Choudary - November 20, 2016

Hi Jon,

Can you help me on this:

My data will be like this:

Date Hour Minute Orders
07/07/2013 7 0 24
08/08/2013 8 1 59
07/07/2013 7 9 09

Like that I have 100 of records..for each hour in a day..0,1,2,3….22, 23 like that each min..0,1,2,3…………58,59 per order.

I could not able to make the calculated fields to perform following actions..
Max of Order in a day/Sum of Orders in day.
Max of order in an Hour/sum of orders in an hour
Max of order in a min /sum of orders in a min

When I am trying to make it, the formal is not working and data is not showing up.

Do you have any clue?

Thanks in advance.

    Jon Acampora - December 1, 2016

    Hi Choudary,
    Unfortunately, calculate fields won’t be able to perform those types of calculations. You will need PowerPivot and DAX measures for that. I have some links on my resources page to help with learning PowerPivot. I hope that helps.

Handoyo - November 16, 2016

Very Helpful, thanks ! Kiranya Tuhan memberkahi anda !!

Gayane - November 1, 2016

Really very practical and easy to get even for the beginner.

d0405 - October 23, 2016


My Excel spreadsheet is not counting the blank cells when I do the pivot table. What do I do?

Gina Odige - October 9, 2016

thank you.. this is great.

thythav - September 27, 2016

Thank you my teacher who send me this excel Campus lesson (pi vote)

Constant - September 22, 2016

I have always clumsily dabbled with pivot tables with a lot of frustration. Your video made it look so simple and interesting. Thank you indeed, Jon.

Tina Pamungkas - September 4, 2016

Hi Jon,
Thank You for sharing knowledge & love it much 🙂
May God Bless you always..Aameeen.

Sabek - August 21, 2016

Al Salamo Alikom
(It means peace on you in Arabic)
Thanks so much ,Really you know how to build up adds value for the user.

    Jon Acampora - August 26, 2016

    Thanks Sabek! Peace to you as well! 🙂

Acorn - August 21, 2016

How do I only show the active data in a Table. If for example you only have 5 Columns and 10 rows in a Table I want to know the shortcut keys to delete un-used columns and rows in the worksheet. It’s a combination of Ctrl + Shift + down arrow but I can’t seem to do the delete correctly, Please help

vICCY - August 9, 2016

Thank you this really helped better than buying a book

cheryl higdon - August 2, 2016

Great help but I wish you would have made it clear that I need to buy the pivot pal. I am learning at home on my own dime and cannot afford all the extras at this time.

    Jon Acampora - August 2, 2016

    Hi Cheryl,
    You do NOT need to buy PivotPal to use pivot tables. PivotPal is just a tool that helps make it faster and easier to work with pivot tables. It is not required to create any of the reports, charts, or dashboards you see in this video series. I hope that makes sense. Thanks again and happy learning! 🙂

Rebecca - July 23, 2016

Thank you, I have a job interview tomorrow and this has been great to see how easy these are.

    Jon Acampora - July 31, 2016

    Thanks Rebecca! I hope your job interview goes well. 🙂

Rafeeq - July 10, 2016

Great Tutorial! Thank you very much for posting these wonderful videos. These tutorials helped me to refresh my Pivot tables skills to a new level.

    Jon Acampora - July 12, 2016

    Awesome! I’m happy to hear it. Thanks Rafeeq! 🙂

Valentina - July 8, 2016

It is amazing the way you explain. You make it very simple and useful. I became a fan of your tutorial videos. Thanks a lot.

Pat - July 5, 2016

Very nice tutorial – gives explanations & examples, walks through the steps, & easy to understand. Thank you!

Clara - June 28, 2016

Excellent videos 1,2,3. I learned a lot. Very simple.

Louise - June 20, 2016

Excellent videos Jon – extremely useful! I learned so much in half an hour today by watching your Pivot Tables / Charts videos – 1, 2 and 3. Greatly appreciate how simple the videos are yet very informative.

    Jon Acampora - June 22, 2016

    Thanks Louise! I’m so happy to hear you are learning about Pivot Tables, and that the videos helped. Have a great day! 🙂

chandan - May 28, 2016

Really useful and the best thing is the sheet is available to play around with.
Thats something that was missing in all other youtube tutorials. Im in a Operations Manager role and this helps me a lot to fine tune my skills.
Chandan aka Chandude

Bola - May 10, 2016

Thanks for sharing your knowledge on Excel pivot tables. Really refreshing tutorials and easy to understand as well. Well done and please keep up the good work.

Yuliya - May 2, 2016

Hi Jon, thank you for a brilliant explanation, it made Excel jungle less scary for me lol
Just a quick question: How can I get Pivot Pal? It looks like a really useful tool thanks once again!

Sheilane - April 28, 2016

Thank you so much Jon for an amazing free videos and tutorials. They are easy to understand and very engaging. I am very much excited to apply my new learnings and to learn more!

Said - April 23, 2016

Greetings Jon,

You are the best! This is my fist day to be watching Pivot-table videos. I always knew that Excel is an amazing program built with the most intelligent people/engineers in the world. Your videos compliment their ingenuity and art of making the impossible possible.

Thank you kindly.

    Jon Acampora - April 26, 2016

    Thank you Said! I really appreciate that. I agree that Excel is amazing! Have a good one! 🙂

Leon Collier - April 22, 2016

Hi Jon:

I am trying to set a correct data source for a pivot table
by download a trial balance from QuickBooks Can this be done
if so please give me an example.



    Jon Acampora - April 26, 2016

    Hi Leon,
    Great question! Can you send me an example of the data set. If it contains sensitive data you can change all the numbers to zero or something. I just want to see the data structure. jon@excelcampus.com
    I think this will be a good example for others to learn from as well.

Alan Best - April 11, 2016


Tremendous YouTube series on Pivot Tables and Dashboards. I have been using your data source today and tomorrow will be uploading our company’s data source. Very valuable training. I recently paid $30 for an e-book on pivot tables and dashboards. I learned more from your two (watching the third tomorrow) videos than I learned from the e-book. Thank you for providing such a valuable service. I have passed on your website to many people already.

    Jon Acampora - April 11, 2016

    Hi Alan,
    Wow, that is awesome! Thank you for the great feedback. I am really happy to hear you are learning pivot tables, and that the videos helped you. Pivot tables are a really great tool to learn, and I think you will find yourself using them a lot.

    I really appreciate you sharing my site as well. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks again Alan!

Gloria - April 7, 2016

Hi Jon,

Thanks so much for the lesson on Pivot tables. I understand it now. You have a very simplistic way of teaching that I appreciate. I’ve watched two other videos from others, but their training was not as comprehensive and easy to understand as yours. You have increased my confidence with using Pivot tables.

    Jon Acampora - April 7, 2016

    Hi Gloria,
    Thank you for the great feedback. I really appreciate it, and happy to hear you are learning pivot tables. They are one awesome tool! Have a great day! 🙂

Marc LEMAÎTRE - March 31, 2016

Jon, Awesome video, just learned about it this morning and was able to create my own at a glance, many thanks, keep going and hello from Belgium

Penny Viliamu - February 13, 2016

Thank you so much this is a fantastic presentation, very clear and so easy to follow it through. Very helpful,Great teacher.

Akshay N. Manke - January 28, 2016

Hi Jon,

Thanks a lot for sharing such a great information. I have learned a lot with these three videos.

In addition to this i am planning to build a Pivot Table and Dashboard to get information on budgeting and maintenance cost analysis of all the asset.

It would be really very great if i get some suggestions to perform this.


pisey - January 27, 2016

Thank you for your teaching online

shamseer vp - December 27, 2015

Very Nice, Pls keep on touch with us

aimee hollenhorst - December 1, 2015

This session was very helpful – it was explained in very clear terms and presented in an easy to follow format. I am a fan of your courses!

Margarita Tamunda - November 22, 2015

Pivot table is really helpful in analyzing data. The videos are awesome. The presentation is great, very clear. I learned a lot. I love to repeat viewing the videos to make myself familiar in this particular aspect of Excel. Thank you so much Jon. Hoping for more videos to come.

    Jon Acampora - November 28, 2015

    Thank you Margarita!

      Na Suk Shaffer - December 17, 2015

      Thank you so very much! Your program helped me greatly and I learned a lot !!!
      Thank you, Thank you!!!

        Jon Acampora - December 18, 2015

        Awesome! Happy to hear it. Thank you Na Suk! 🙂

Kathryn - September 18, 2015

Thank you very much, I found this really useful!

Jennifer - September 15, 2015

You’re an angel sent from above!

you are the ONLY person I listened to with when Pivot table is the topic. lolz!

Thank you for this and hope to learn more from you.

Keep it up.


    Jon Acampora - September 27, 2015

    Thanks Jennifer! You are too kind. I’m really happy to hear you learned something new from the videos. Thanks again and have a great day! 🙂

SusanM - September 4, 2015

We have a client that requires we send pivot table worksheets to him so he can work in the pivot table. We do this be copying the worksheets to a new workbook and saving that with the weekly report data. If I use PivotPal to format, will the data look different since he does not have PivotPal? (and he works for the state, so he cannot get add-ins).
Thank you.

    Jon Acampora - September 9, 2015

    Hi Susan,
    My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. The pivot tables you create with PivotPal will look the same on any computer. The computer does NOT have to have PivotPal installed.

    PivotPal just automates some of the processes that you would normally do manually. It does not add anything extra to the Excel file.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks again and have a great day! 🙂

Adeel - September 1, 2015

How to Install PivotPal from ADD In

William - August 29, 2015


Thank you, this is excellent work.

Ahmed Awil - July 5, 2015

i cant explain how much u helped me man ..thank you soooo much for making it easy to learn ..am your big fan JON..

    Jon Acampora - July 6, 2015

    Thanks Ahmed! I really appreciate that! I’m a big fan of anyone learning Excel. 🙂

judith Silvera - May 22, 2015

I did see the data source together with the video training. Great examples for building a dash board. Thanks so much.


judith Silvera - May 22, 2015

Is your datafile available to work with for the dashboard examples you created. I downloaded the pdf file but did not seem to get the raw data file.

Great training.

Thanks – j

praveen - February 25, 2015

its really great, it will help ma a lot.

    Jon Acampora - February 27, 2015

    Awesome! Thanks Praveen! 🙂

Jay L Walker - February 16, 2015

I love your pivot pal. . . I would like to build a dashboard that automatically pulls data into the pivot table and refreshes the charts every hour. Is this doable?

    Jon Acampora - February 17, 2015

    Thanks Jay! Yes this is definitely possible with VBA macros. What is the source of your data? There are different ways to pull the data into your Excel file depending on the source of the data or the server that it is on. Once connected you will just need a few lines of code to run the macro at certain time intervals to refresh the data connection and pivot tables.

    The Application.OnTime method will allow you to set specific time intervals to run the macro. The Workbook.RefreshAll method will basically refresh everything, data connections and pivot tables, in the workbook.

    Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks again!

Mynda - February 5, 2015

PivotPal looks awesome, Jon.

I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Will PivotPal work with Power Pivot PivotTables too? I can see the field list search being very handy.


    Jon Acampora - February 7, 2015

    Thanks Mynda! I can’t wait to share it. PivotPal will eventually work with PowerPivot. It might not be available for the first release, but definitely in the near future.

Jeff Weir - February 4, 2015

Nice job, Jon. Love the intro – nice way to set up the series.

    Jon Acampora - February 7, 2015

    Thanks Jeff! I should have named the boss Jeff W… 🙂

Dave Bruns - February 4, 2015

Great video, Jon. Pivot Pal looks cool. Love the field number format feature. Setting number formats on a lot of fields really gets tedious fast.

    Jon Acampora - February 4, 2015

    Thanks Dave! Yes, I don’t know if I mentioned but you can select multiple fields and format them at the same time with PivotPal.

James Boyes - February 4, 2015

Loved it. It is interesting to see the different ways one can modify pivot tables and how easy it truly is. Thanks.

    Jon Acampora - February 4, 2015

    Awesome! Thanks James! They really are an incredible tool, and I only scratched the very tip of the iceberg in this video. There is so much more that pivot tables can do.

    Romeo Romano - June 2, 2015

    Very Helpful, presentation is very understandable to the beginners like me!!!


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