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Note 1: This tutorial is designed to be used with Excel 2003 and Excel 2000. There is an earlier
version for use with Excel 5, Excel 95 and Excel 97, which can be found on AccountingWeb -News &
Info Expert Guides Free Excel Tutorials.
Note 2: This tutorial is built around budgeting. Others are available showing how to use pivot tables
in sales analysis, in management accounting, and in comparing budget against actual. They can be
found on News and Info Expert Guides Free Excel Tutorials.
In this tutorial you an accountant setting up next years budget for your company. For simplicitys
sake the number of nominal ledger accounts has been reduced to a minimum and the budget is only for
three periods. (Note: in the USA Nominal Ledger = General Ledger).
The company is made up of 4 departments, each of which contains 2 or 3 staff. Each member of staff
is treated as a separate cost centre. The departments and their staff are:

Administration (Arthur and Anita).

Design (Diana, David and Doug )
Marketing (Mick and Maureen)
Production (Pat, Paula and Peter)

The tutorial should take you about 20 - 30 minutes to work through. If possible, it is a good idea for
two people to do it together, one reading the instructions, the other operating the keyboard.
You will make extensive use of both left and right mouse buttons. When I say right click I mean
click the right mouse button. When I say click on its own, I mean click the left mouse button.
Tip One If you make mistakes, its easier to start again
If you find that the instructions seem OK, but at some point whats on your screen doesnt seem to
tally with what the tutorial says, try clicking several times on Excels Undo icon (the left curving
arrow in the icon bar at the top). This will cancel your previous steps. But if the error does not
immediately come to light, it is better not to try to correct any errors but to go back and start over
again. To do this, close the file, and do NOT save. Then re-start.
Tip Two Repeat the tutorial
First time around you cannot expect to memorise each section, and probably by the end you will have
forgotten what you did at the beginning. So if you want to teach yourself how these pivot tables
work in detail, be prepared to go work your way through the tutorial two or three times. Second or
third time around you will find that a lot of things fall into place that didnt really register earlier
because then you were just concentrating on following the instructions.

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Start up Excel. Open the file:


The Excel document before you should have the headings: NLGROUP, NLCODE, NLDESC, CC,
To make sure that you have downloaded the complete file, go to the bottom of the spreadsheet. There
should be 101 rows.
Click on the grey I column heading above BUDGET. The column is highlighted.
At the bottom of the screen it should say Sum = 187633. Make a note of this number.
Find the worksheet name at bottom left (it is probably Sheet1). Right click onto the Sheet1 name.
A menu appears. Select Rename. Rename the worksheet MASTER.
Click back onto the data in the worksheet.


Click onto a single cell, e.g. C10
table wont work).

(It has to be one cell. If more than one cell is highlighted, the pivot

Well build up the pivot table step by step.

From the main menu at the top of the screen, select :

Data - Pivot Table and Pivot Chart Report

The Pivot Table Wizard, Step 1 of 3 screen appears.
Step 2 of 3

Click on Next.

The Range box should say: $A$1:$J$101.

[Earlier versions of Excel sometimes didnt pick up the range automatically. If the Range box is blank
or says Database, type in $A$1:$J$101].
Click on Next.
Step 3 of 3:

Click onto Layout at the left. The COLUMN ROW -DATA box appears.

To the right are all the column headings of your spreadsheet

Drag and drop them as follows:

NLCODE into the ROW area.

BUDGET into the DATA area.
[When dropped into the DATA area, BUDGET should now say Sum of BUDGET. If it says Count
of BUDGET, double click on Count of BUDGET. A box appears. Change Count to Sum]
Now click on OK. Finish.
A list of Nominal Codes appears with a total beside it. The total at the bottom of the sheet is the total
you noted down.
Excel has taken the 101 budget records in the MASTER worksheet and generated a pivot table that
summarises them by nominal code

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Look at the bottom left of your screen.
worksheet to the left of MASTER.

To create the pivot table, Excel has generated a new

Click back onto the MASTER worksheet to confirm that your original Budget Database is still there.
Now right click back onto the new worksheet with the pivot table. From the menu Rename it PIVOT.
Nominal codes on their own dont tell us much. Well add the Nominal Description as well:
Click anywhere within the pivot table, then right click the mouse.
The pivot table menu appears.

Format Cells is at the top.

[ In Excel 2003 a Pivot Table Field List and a Pivot Table icon bar are displayed. For the purpose of
this exercise, close them. ]
From the menu, select Pivot Table Wizard. OK


The COLUMN- ROW-DATA box re-appears.

Drag and drop NLDESC below NLCODE in the ROW area.


OK Finish.

The nominal description is displayed on the pivot table, but the screen is not very clear as the
NLCODE is totalling. These totals need to be removed.
Right click on the grey NLCODE field button in cell A4.

The menu appears

Select: Field Settings. The Pivot Table field box appears.

In the Subtotals area on the left, change from Automatic to None.

Click OK

That looks better.


We want to centre the Nominal Code and put commas between the thousands.
Move the pointer over the top of NLCODE in A4 until it turns into a thick black down arrow. Then
left click. The column is highlighted.
Centre the account codes by clicking the Centre icon.
Click anywhere to remove the highlighting.
Now right click on the pivot table to produce the menu.

Select: Field Settings

The Pivot Table Field box appears. From the list of options on the right, select : Number.
The Format Cells box appears.
Decimal places = 0
list - OK - OK

From the Category list, select : Number.

Use 1000 separator? YES

Commas now separate the thousands


click on the -1234 in red at the bottom of the

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Next well break the Total down by period: Right click anywhere within the pivot table (you must
always click within the pivot table. Clicking outside it brings up the wrong menu).
Select: Pivot Table Wizard.


Drop PD into the COLUMN area.

The COLUMN-ROW-DATA box re-appears.



The pivot table breaks down by Period.

Once again, right click for menu - Pivot Table Wizard - Layout.
This time drop NLGROUP
above NLCODE, so that the ROW area contains NLGROUP, NLCODE and NLDESC.
OK Finish.


The pivot table is divided into 71-Salaries, 72-Marketing etc, each with a total.


Well add shading to the subtotal lines and the column headings.
In cell A10, move the mouse pointer onto the 71 in 71-SALARIES Total until it assumes the shape
of a thick horizontal black arrow.
Now left click the mouse.

All the sub-total lines are highlighted

To add shading, click on the yellow Fill Color icon in the bottom row of icons, second from right (the
one that looks like its pouring a can of paint).
Now click anywhere to remove the highlighting.

The Total lines are all shaded yellow.

In addition, well shade and centre the monthly column headings, as follows:
In cell D3, move the mouse pointer around the top of the grey PD field button until it turns into a
thick black down arrow, then click.
The column headings 1 to 3 are highlighted.
Apply the yellow Fill Color icon again. Or if you prefer another colour, click on the down arrow to
the right of the icon, and select a colour from the palette. Personally, I like light blue or light green in
the bottom row.
Centre the months by clicking the Centre icon.

Click anywhere to remove the highlight.


One area where screen-based reports like pivot tables score over paper-based reports, is in the area of
drill-down. If you wish to query a balance, it is a simple matter to double click on it and drill down
to see the underlying entries.
For example, the figure of 12,000 in E14 for Internet Costs, period 2, looks rather large. To query it:
Double click on the 12000 in cell E14 . The originating transaction appears with the comment: Set
up new web site
Look at the bottom left of your worksheet. Your drill down has generated a new worksheet.
Click back onto PIVOT.

Lets try another example:

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In D10 the figure of 10,960 for PR & Promotions looks very high. Double click on it.
The balance is made up of the standard budget of 1,500, plus 9,460 for the Olympia exhibition.
Click back onto the PIVOT worksheet.
This ability to drill down on any balance is very useful. For example, if you use pivot tables to report
monthly costs to departmental managers, to query a figure they simply have to double click on it to see
a list of the underlying transactions.
So far weve presented the budget in a standard Profit and Loss format for the whole company. Now
well break down the company total by departments:
Right click on pivot table to bring up the menu.

Pivot Table Wizard - Layout.

Remove PD from COLUMN by dragging and dropping it anywhere outside the box.
Drop DEPT into the COLUMN area.

OK Finish.

Now you see the totals for ADMIN, DESIGN, MARKETING and PRODUCTION.
But we may wish to analyse by both Department and Period. Excel allows you to add another
dimension of analysis via Page fields.
Right click on pivot table to bring up the menu.
Take DEPT and drop it onto the PAGE area.

Pivot Tables Wizard Layout.

Put PD back into the COLUMN area. OK Finish.

The pivot table is once again broken down by period. But in cell A1 it says DEPT. In B1 it says (All)
DEPT is a Page field. To see how it works, click on the down arrow in the right of cell B1.

Highlight MARKTG and OK

The pivot table now shows a mini Profit and Loss account just for the Marketing department.
Click on the B1 down arrow to see the budgets for ADMIN, DESIGN and PRODN.
[Note that the (All) option signifies the company total.]
In B1, click back onto MARKTG once more.
We will now break down the Marketing budget farther into individual cost centres (CC).
Right click on pivot for menu.

Pivot Table Wizard - Layout.

Drop CC underneath NLDESC.

Then double click on NLDESC. The Pivot Table field box appears.

In the Subtotals section, change from Automatic to None.

Click OK at top right..



The pivot further subdivides to show the costs of Mick and Maureen, the individual members of the
Marketing department.
[Note that a CC of (blank) means that the budget was allocated to the Marketing department as a
whole, not to any individual within Marketing.]

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The larger your spreadsheet becomes, the more levels the pivot table is liable to acquire.
The Hide Detail and Show Detail commands allow you to expand and collapse it between different
levels. To see this, first click on cell B1 and select (All).
This displays the budget for the whole company down to the (lowest) Cost Centre level.
To collapse the pivot table up to the highest level, simply:
Right click on A4, NLGROUP.

The menu appears.

Group and Show Detail - Hide Detail

The pivot table is summarised at top level 71-Salaries, 72-Marketing, 73-Establishment etc..
To see more detail for the Salaries group:
Double left click on 71-SALARIES in cell A5.

Excel expands the Salaries detail down to CC level.

To revert to the higher level, double left click in the space below 71 SALARIES (eg A6 to A20)
The pivot table once again is summarised at NLGROUP level.
Finally, show the entire pivot table in full detail once more, as follows:
Right click on NLGROUP in cell A4.

The menu appears.

Group and Show Detail - Show Detail

The full company detail is displayed once again.


Sometimes, also, you might want to see cumulative totals for selected periods. For example, suppose
that you now want to see cumulative totals for Periods 1 and 2 only:
On the grey PD field button in E3 there is a down arrow. Click on it.
Periods 1, 2 and 3 are listed, all ticked.

Remove the tick on Period 3.


The period 3 column disappears and the cumulative totals for each NLCODE are recalculated.

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The greatest advantage of using pivot tables for budgetting is the control they give you when making
any revisions. It is very easy to change a budget figure, then instantly see the results of the change.
Nor are there any formulae whose logic must be rechecked each time you amend the budget.
Suppose, for example that Marketing want to amend their budget.
Double right click on PD in cell E3.

Select: Field.

Click the down arrow in the PD field in E3.

Period 3 returns.

Firstly, unhide period 3 as follows:

Click on 3 to remove the highlight. OK

Tick 3 once again. OK

Now click on the down arrow in B1 and select MARKTG.

You should see the budget for Marketing, broken down to the cost centre (Maureen and Mick) level.
Revision 1 correct an error in Direct Mail
Suppose that the figure of 50 in F12, Direct Mail, period 2 was an error and should have been 500.
Make a note of the NLCODE 72030.
Now click onto the MASTER worksheet containing the original 101 budget records.
Left click on anywhere in the data, then in the main menu select:

Data - Filter - Autofilter

Down arrows appear against every column heading. In B1, click the Down arrow beside NLCODE.
A list of NLCODES appears.

Highlight 72030 and click.

Excel finds 3 records (see message at bottom left).

to Row 1 to see them.]

[If the screen is blank you may need to scroll up

Change the Period 2 (May) BUDGET figure from 50 to 500.

Now click back onto PIVOT.

Check that the figure for Direct Mail, Period 2 is still 50.

To update the change, right click on the pivot table to bring up the menu, then:

Refresh Data

The 50 changes to 500 and all the related column and row totals are updated.
Revision 2 move Doug out of Design into Marketing
Suppose that in period 3 Doug is going to move out of Design department and into Marketing. Also,
his salary will increase from 1,917 to 2,500.
Click onto the MASTER worksheet. The filter is still on. The down arrow in cell B1 is blue,
indicating that the filter is being applied to this field.
Click on the blue down arrow, then select (All) from the top of the list. All the records reappear
Click on the down arrow in D1.

From the list of CCs, select DOUG

Three records for Doug come up. In the third row (June) change DESIGN to MARKTG, and change
1917 to 2500.
Now click onto the PIVOT worksheet.

Right click onto the pivot table, then: Refresh Data.

Doug is added to the Marketing budget for period 3. The totals are all recalculated.
OK. Its time to take break.

Save your work via: File Save.

Then relax.

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