Pivot Table Data Crunching

Bill Jelen (Mr Excel) and Michael Alexander


Que Publishing


Target group:
Present and future heavy Pivottable users

On a scale from 1 to 5: 4
On a scale from 1 to 10: 7

The first question that may arise is if a book can only cover one built-in tool, such as the Pivottable? When it comes to the Pivottable-tool the answer is yes as this is the most powerful and at the same are the most complex tool MS Excel offers. By using it right we can get a high return from the investment of time and thinking but it put a high demand to understand it and how to set up the conditions for it.

The book is well written and is easy to follow due to its well structured chapters. It starts with an introduction to the tool, including a historical background and stepwise move to more advanced aspects of the tool. It?s mainly focused on how to set up Pivottables manually but has in the end two chapters covering how to control the tool via programming in VBA. It also introduces the Pivot Charts and skim through MS Query & External data. It also gives a basic but excellent introduction to OLAP Cubes and how to use them with Pivottables. In the end of the book there is a chapter about Q & A when it comes to common issues with the Pivottable.

Personally I find all the nice clever and nice tips that regular pops up to be the best part of the book together with the OLAP Cubes chapter. I would have welcomed a discussion about the pros and cons of storing large amount of data in Excel. Another aspect that could have been explored more would have been external data. The VBA-chapters could have also included the powerful combination between the Pivottable and conditional formatting.

The book covers all versions from 97 and forward with special notes about version 97 where it differs from the other versions.

Mr Jelen has for the last year published several books about MS Excel and one drawback with the frequent publishing is that many examples (especially VBA-examples) are used in several books.

At present this is the best book available about the built-in tool Pivottable and if you intend to become or already are a power user of the Pivottable then this book is highly recommended.

Kind regards,