How to Create a Summary Table in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a summary table in Excel is a straightforward process that involves organizing your data into a format that is easy to read and analyze. You’ll need to input your data, use the ‘PivotTable’ feature to summarize it, and customize the table to suit your needs. Follow these steps to create a summary table that can help you quickly understand your data.

Creating a Summary Table in Excel

In this section, we will walk you through the steps needed to create a summary table in Excel. By following these steps, you’ll be able to compile your data into a concise and informative table.

Step 1: Open Excel

The first step is to open Excel on your computer.

If you already have your data in an existing Excel file, open that file instead.

Step 2: Input Your Data

Input the data you want to summarize into a spreadsheet.

Make sure you organize the data into rows and columns, with headers at the top of each column. This helps Excel understand what each piece of data represents.

Step 3: Select Your Data

Highlight the range of data you want to include in your summary table.

Click and drag to select the cells. Be sure to include your headers in the selection.

Step 4: Insert a PivotTable

Go to the ‘Insert’ tab and click ‘PivotTable.’

A dialog box will appear, prompting you to choose where to place the PivotTable. Usually, you can allow Excel to place it on a new worksheet.

Step 5: Arrange Your PivotTable

Drag and drop fields from the ‘PivotTable Field List’ into the ‘Rows,’ ‘Columns,’ and ‘Values’ areas.

This is where you decide how to summarize your data. For instance, you might place ‘Salesperson’ in Rows and ‘Sales’ in Values to see total sales per person.

Step 6: Customize Your Table

Customize your summary table by using features like ‘Value Field Settings’ to change calculations or adding filters to focus on specific data.

You can also format your table for better readability.

Step 7: Analyze Your Data

Review your summary table to ensure it accurately reflects your data.

Make any necessary adjustments to the arrangement or formatting to get the insights you need.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a summary table that condenses your data into an easy-to-read format, helping you make sense of large datasets quickly.

Tips for Creating a Summary Table in Excel

  • Use Descriptive Headers: Clear headers make it easier to understand the data in your summary table.
  • Keep Data Clean: Remove any duplicate or irrelevant data before creating your summary table.
  • Experiment with Layouts: Try different arrangements in your PivotTable to find the most insightful summary.
  • Utilize Filters: Use filters to focus on specific segments of your data, making your summary even more targeted.
  • Refresh Data: If your data source updates, make sure to refresh your PivotTable to keep the summary current.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PivotTable?

A PivotTable is an Excel feature that allows you to summarize and analyze data efficiently.

Can I update my summary table if my data changes?

Yes, you can refresh your PivotTable, and it will update to reflect any changes in your data.

How do I format my summary table?

You can format your table using the options in the ‘Design’ tab under ‘PivotTable Tools.’

What if my data isn’t organized?

Try to clean and organize your data into a clear, tabular format before creating your PivotTable.

Can I use a summary table for different types of data?

Absolutely! PivotTables can summarize numerical data, text data, dates, and more.


  1. Open Excel
  2. Input Your Data
  3. Select Your Data
  4. Insert a PivotTable
  5. Arrange Your PivotTable
  6. Customize Your Table
  7. Analyze Your Data


Creating a summary table in Excel might seem a bit daunting initially, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes a powerful tool for data analysis. Think of it as turning a mountain of data into a small, easily digestible nugget. Whether you’re a student trying to analyze survey results or a business professional looking to summarize sales data, mastering this skill will make your life so much easier.

If you’re eager to learn more, plenty of resources are available, including Excel’s own Help features and numerous online tutorials. Dive in and experiment with different data sets to see how versatile and helpful summary tables can be. Feel free to reach out if you have questions or need further guidance. Now, go ahead and create your first summary table in Excel!

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