Numbers background

In an earlier blog entry about diagrams we already talked about the different types of view in OPTANO  and outlined the topic of pivot charts. Here, however, we would like to present the advantages of them once again and show you just how easy it is to set up a pivot chart and how to use it. Because even if software has greatly simplified the way we handle large volumes of data, quite often all the possibilities aren’t exploited enough.

What do pivot charts actually do?

Data tables often contain a lot of extensive information which we can no longer  review at a glance or  even in just a very short time. If, for instance, you have the support of an ERP system in production, a considerable volume of data is produced very rapidly. Attempting to obtain the information required  from this mountain of numbers is not always an easy matter.

Pivot charts can help you analyze data without having to alter the original chart. Here, the underlying data is compiled and brought into context. By doing this, details do get lost along the road, but you can get very clear results – you just need to know exactly what it is you would like to know.

How to keep it simple…

Therefore, instead of getting too theoretical, it is easier to explain the function of a pivot chart by  presenting one example. Let’s take general production planning. It concerns sales prognoses and the question of when which amount of which product will be required. In a small sample chart we have the product, the sales market, the date and  the amount.

That’s pretty much ok, right? No superfluous information. But now we have to ask: “How much are we (probably)  going to export into which country?” We could also answer this question by putting the markets into groups of instead of  using a pivot chart:

Yet, this table doesn’t necessarily  give us a clear answer to our question.  Comparing the countries also isn’t that easy – especially when we make clear that this is a just a small output table with merely 24 sets of data and, in reality, tables with several hundred or even thousands of rows are not seldom.

And this is how we create a pivot chart (in OPTANO)

Now we come to the pivot chart: To answer our question (just to jog your memory – how much are we (probably) going to export into which country?), we simply have to define the products and sales markets in columns and/or rows and the quantities (in total) as data. In OPTANO you just drag the name into the corresponding field and the pivot chart gradually takes form.

Let’s take a closer look at the result. We now have a new table that shows us exactly which product is frequently in demand in which country:


Die Produkte werden als Spalten eingerichtet.


Die Märkte werden als Zeilen eingerichtet.


Die Zahlen der Prognose sind die Werte, mit denen die Pivot-Tabelle gefüllt wird.

And  already we can see which quantities of each product are required for the various sales markets and also if products aren’t sold in countries at all. The total amounts, which are presented per column and row, can also be conclusive.  So we have precisely the information we  needed – transparent and compact!

The great thing about pivot charts is that they  enable very different analyses without having to touch or change the actual table. So, with the same output chart, you could compile an overview of how high the sales prognoses are per calendar week:

And here, too, you can obtain the desired information – simply with three clicks to move the data sets.

Pivot charts – easy to use

Pivot charts are really quite simple, yet at the same time they are unbelievably powerful: By compiling and comparing, transparent new charts emerge which summarize the information which is currently required. And since we are only dealing with a reference chart, changes to the original data are always up-to-date in the pivot chart (i.e.they will be once you have clicked “update”).

The images for this blog were created in the software OPTANO production. Here, pivot charts are individual views which we prepare for our customers. The relevant information is provided – you only need to drag them into position as required. A graphical view in the form of a diagram also belongs to a pivot chart, meaning that data can be analyzed even more easily and be re-used.

Of course, pivot charts are also available in other software, e.g. Excel. Basically, a pivot chart functions exactly the same way as it does in Excel, even if the view is somewhat different. (If you are  interested in learning more about pivot charts, you will find a detailed instruction guide here).

Would you like to learn more about OPTANO? Then please contact us! We look forward to hearing from you!

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