I find that Excel is a powerful tool for statistical data analysis. There are several different financial, statistical and logical functions one can use to work with data. One of my favorite tools in Excel is a pivot table. Pivot tables are used to generate a summary of the data. Suppose we have a table containing data. An example of what that might look like has been provided below.
By using the pivot table tool, we can quickly summarize a large set of data. The option to generate a pivot table is the first option from the left under the ‘Insert’ menu.
To generate your pivot table, just select the data you want to summarize and click on the ‘PivotTable’ button. You will then have you choose the fields you want as the rows, columns, values and filters. Pictured below is a table where the rows are account types, columns are cities, values are sums of account balances and we can filter the results based on the state.
In this table, I was able to quickly generate the sum of all checking and savings account balances for each city.
Another feature in Excel that I use quite often is charts. Charts are useful to represent features of data graphically. Suppose we have a table with data we want to create a chart of.
We can create a chart using the chart options under the ‘Insert’ menu. Excel offers many different types of charts such as bar, line, pie etc. The chart use see below was generated using the above table. There are several options available to customize the way charts look.
This article just covers a couple of my favorite features from Excel. I would highly encourage exploring other features as Excel is not only a useful application, but being able use it is also a highly marketable skill.