While PivotTables can certainly be used to summarize numerical information, they can also be used to organize non-numerical information. Case in point: packing for vacation. I used to have a vacation packing list in Word, but I found I needed a more flexible method because I wanted to have a packing list for the beach that would work whether I traveled by air or chose to drive and stay at a campground. There were many similar items I would need no matter how I traveled, so I decided to convert my list from Word to Excel.
Please click this link to open an Excel 2007 file (zipped, no macros) named “Vacation Packing List.xlsx.” In this file, I started by creating a sheet named “List” and in a single column listed all the items I would pack if I traveled by air, and all the items I would pack if I traveled by car to a campground. I then added columns for category (Bath, Beach, etc), as well as two columns to show which bag I would use for the type of travel I planned. Next, I set up two sheets, each containing two PivotTables. One sheet, named “Pivot-by Category, by Bag” is what I plan to use as I gather items together to be packed.. The second sheet, named “Pivot-Final Check” is what I plan to use to make sure I actually packed everything. More information about how to create PivotTables can be found in Chapter 7 of the book “Simply Learning Excel 2007.”
How do you organize your vacation packing list(s)?
By the way, did you notice the little plus sign above Column C in the sheet named “List”? That’s another way to hide columns using a feature called Grouping, and I’ll discuss that next week.