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Learn pivot tables and charts with online courses and programs

Looking for an effective way to organize and visualize your data? Learn how to create pivot tables and charts in Microsoft Excel with online courses delivered through edX.

What are pivot tables and charts?

Pivot tables and charts are powerful tools that allow users to summarize and organize large data sets meaningfully. These tools don’t change any data. Instead, they “pivot” or shift the data into a different perspective, making it easier to extract new insights. 

What’s the difference between pivot tables and charts? Pivot tables turn worksheet data into more readable formats. They allow you to group and aggregate based on specific criteria. Charts add a visualization to that summary data.Footnote 1

Pivot tables are available as a function in many software applications, including Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Tableau, and more. They are also available programmatically, in languages such as Python and R.Footnote 2

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Why learn pivot tables and charts?

Pivot tables can be powerful tools. They allow users to:

  • Analyze and compare data sets to detect trends.

  • Filter and sort data to focus on subsets of data.

  • Transpose data from rows to columns, or columns to rows.

In contrast, a pivot chart graphically represents your pivot table data. You can create line graphs, bar graphs, area charts, and more.Footnote 3 Adding visualizations to your data can help you identify patterns and trends that may be difficult to spot with just pivot tables alone. 

Pivot tables and charts course curriculum

Learning to create pivot tables and charts in Excel and other software can be a valuable professional skill. Introductory and intermediate topics in a pivot tables and charts course may teach you ‌how to:

  • Create a basic pivot table and different types of charts.

  • Customize pivot tables and charts and change their layouts.

  • Group and aggregate data based on specific criteria.

  • Create different types of pivot charts and when to use them.

More advanced courses could cover tasks such as:

  • Creating pivot tables from external tables in separate sheets.

  • Applying conditional formatting to a pivot table report.

  • Importing data from an external data source such as SQL.

Kickstart your learning with edX. You can enroll in a data analytics boot camp to get more hands-on experience with pivot tables, databases, and data visualizations. You can also enroll in a more comprehensive degree program and pursue a bachelor’s degree or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree. edX even offers Executive Education courses designed for busy professionals interested in upskilling. Find the learning format that works best for you.

Explore jobs that use pivot tables and charts

A solid understanding of pivot tables and charts can be beneficial in many different job roles, such as:

  • Information clerk: Record customer data, file paper or electronic papers, and prepare routine reports.Footnote 4

  • Operations research analyst: Collect information from different sources, analyze data for insights, and develop quantitative models.Footnote 5

  • Market research analyst: Conduct market research, analyze sales data, and prepare reports for stakeholders.Footnote 6

  • Data scientist: Collect data from various sources, use data visualization software to create graphics like charts, and help businesses make decisions.Footnote 7

  • Media and communication specialist: Conduct market research and work with marketing teams to create a variety of graphics for media campaigns.Footnote 8

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. You may be able to build the necessary skills with a data analytics boot camp, but some employers may seek candidates with higher level degrees. Before deciding on a learning path, research potential roles and employers and align your coursework with your professional aspirations. 

How to use pivot tables and charts as a data entry analyst

Data entry analysts help organizations derive actionable insights from their data and communicate their findings to management to inform business decisions.

In their day-to-day tasks, an analyst might:Footnote 9

  • Collect and organize data in spreadsheets or databases.

  • Prepare data for analysis by removing inaccurate or duplicate data.

  • Interpret data to identify patterns and uncover insights.

  • Report their findings to internal stakeholders.

Data analysts are often proficient with tools such as Microsoft Excel and use features like pivot tables and charts to summarize and analyze large data sets. They might also use programming languages like Python to create statistical models and data visualization tools, like Tableau, to build visualizations.