Although I have started to learn new stuff lately, such as Python and SQL server, I am still interested in MS Excel and whatever is being published on the subject. I have noticed that the book “Pivot Tables Smart Data Analysis” was published and due to nice cooperation from the authors I have received a free e-copy for a review.
So, I have started to read it with interest, considering the fact that the last pivot table that I made professionally was probably more than 12 months ago. Anyhow, let’s start with the review.
The book is really easy and quick to read – I think I have managed it for less than a day, not doing the examples. It covers the basic pivot functions and it goes even way beyond this. With step by step examples you learn how to make pivot tables and to play with the data in them in order to provide the wanted report. Some advanced features of Pivot are also introduced – I have not seen a lot of senior analysts feeling comfortable performing calculations in a pivot table and building a custom field there – thus, if you pay a special attention to the book, this might be your ticket for getting a promotion.
At the end of the book, a Data Model is introduced, which is really an advanced topic for anyone who has not dealed with databases before.
I liked the fact that a database was given in the book, with which you may compare your results with the pictures from the book. Each section is followed by exercises, thus you probably should do them to improve your skills 🙂
Furthermore, some tricks such as creating an Excel pivot from data stored in MS Access was introduced. Here is a screenshot from a sample Access DB that I have built myself and managed to connect to MS Excel: