How to Update Data in Pivot Table

admin31 March 2023Last Update :

Mastering Pivot Table Updates in Excel

Pivot Tables in Excel are powerful tools for summarizing, analyzing, and presenting data. They allow users to extract significance from a large, detailed dataset by reorganizing and summarizing chosen columns and rows of data. However, as dynamic as Pivot Tables are, they require updates when the underlying data changes. This article will guide you through the process of updating data in Pivot Tables, ensuring your reports remain accurate and reflective of the latest information.

Understanding the Structure of Pivot Tables

Before diving into the update process, it’s crucial to understand the components of a Pivot Table. A Pivot Table consists of four main areas: Rows, Columns, Values, and Filters. Each area serves a specific purpose in data organization and representation. Knowing where and how your data is situated within these areas is the first step to managing updates effectively.

Refreshing Data in Pivot Tables

When the data in your original dataset changes, the Pivot Table doesn’t automatically reflect these changes. You must refresh the Pivot Table to update it with the new data. Here’s how to do it:

  • Manual Refresh: Click anywhere inside the Pivot Table, then go to the PivotTable Analyze tab, and click on Refresh.
  • Automatic Refresh: To set up an automatic refresh, you can use the Workbook_Open() event in VBA to refresh the Pivot Table every time the workbook is opened.

Refreshing All Pivot Tables

If you have multiple Pivot Tables in your workbook, you can refresh them all at once. Click on the PivotTable Analyze tab, then select Refresh All. This ensures that all Pivot Tables in the workbook are updated simultaneously.

Changing the Data Source for a Pivot Table

Sometimes, you may need to update the range of data your Pivot Table is analyzing. This could be due to new rows or columns of data being added to your dataset. Here’s how to change the data source:

  • Click anywhere inside the Pivot Table.
  • Go to the PivotTable Analyze tab, and click on Change Data Source.
  • Select the new range of data for your Pivot Table.

Expanding Data Range with Dynamic Named Ranges

To avoid manually updating the data range each time your dataset grows, you can use a dynamic named range. This Excel feature automatically expands the range as new data is added. Here’s an example of creating a dynamic named range using the OFFSET function:


This formula creates a range that starts at A1 and expands downward and to the right as new data is added to column A and row 1.

Updating Pivot Table Calculations

When you update your Pivot Table, you might also need to adjust the calculations within it. This could involve changing the summary function or adding calculated fields or items.

Changing Summary Functions

To change the summary function (e.g., from SUM to AVERAGE), follow these steps:

  • Click on the drop-down arrow next to the field in the Values area.
  • Select Value Field Settings.
  • Choose the new function you want to use.

Adding Calculated Fields or Items

Calculated fields and items allow you to perform additional calculations within your Pivot Table. To add a calculated field:

  • Go to the PivotTable Analyze tab.
  • Click on Fields, Items, & Sets, then select Calculated Field.
  • Enter a name for the field and the formula you want to use.

Dealing with Errors After Updating Pivot Tables

Sometimes, after updating a Pivot Table, you may encounter errors or discrepancies. Common issues include #REF! errors, which indicate a problem with the data source, or #VALUE! errors, which suggest an issue with calculations.

Troubleshooting Common Errors

To troubleshoot these errors, check the data source for any inconsistencies and ensure that all calculated fields and items are using correct references and formulas.

Optimizing Pivot Table Performance

Large datasets can slow down Pivot Table performance. To optimize, consider the following tips:

  • Use PivotTable Options to disable automatic calculation for Pivot Tables.
  • Limit the use of calculated fields and items, as they can increase processing time.
  • Keep your data source clean and well-structured to improve efficiency.

Advanced Pivot Table Techniques

For those looking to take their Pivot Table skills further, exploring advanced techniques can unlock even more potential from your data.

Grouping Data for Better Insights

Grouping allows you to combine data into categories or time periods. Right-click on the data within your Pivot Table and select Group to create custom groupings.

Creating Slicers for Interactive Data Exploration

Slicers provide a visual way to filter data in Pivot Tables. To add a slicer, go to the PivotTable Analyze tab and click on Insert Slicer. Select the fields you want to use for filtering.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I update a Pivot Table when new rows are added to my data?

To update a Pivot Table when new rows are added, change the data source to include the new rows or use a dynamic named range to automatically include them.

Can I update a Pivot Table without refreshing it?

No, you must refresh a Pivot Table to update it with any changes made to the underlying data.

Why is my Pivot Table not showing the latest data after refreshing?

If your Pivot Table is not showing the latest data after refreshing, check that the data source range is correct and includes all the new data. Also, ensure there are no errors in the data that could be preventing the update.

How can I make my Pivot Table update automatically?

To make your Pivot Table update automatically, you can use VBA to refresh it every time the workbook is opened or whenever specific changes are made to the worksheet.


Updating data in Pivot Tables is a fundamental skill for anyone working with Excel. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure your Pivot Tables remain accurate and up-to-date, providing valuable insights into your data. Remember to refresh regularly, adjust your data source as needed, and optimize performance to keep your Pivot Tables functioning smoothly.


For further reading and advanced techniques, consider exploring the following resources:

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