Litigation Support

 View Only

Excel Tips for Litigation Teams (Or Anyone) - Pivot Tables

By Brian Balistreri posted 01-16-2023 12:19


****Please enjoy this blog posted on behalf of Julie Niebel. Julie has over 25 years of experience in Litigation Support / Information Services and is now retired. She is passionate about education, learning and trying to keep up with technology!

Pivot Tables 

Pivot noun the central point, pin or column on which something turns or balances.[1]

In the context of litigation and data sets, the two key words are: “column” and “turns”.  A pivot table provides a way to “turn” or change the way you look at information by adjusting the data columns. Pivot tables in Excel are used to view and analyze complex information to identify patterns or trends and can also be used to quickly calculate and summarize numerical data.

Before creating a pivot table, check that the data is properly formatted in a range of columns and rows.  The data set must have column titles and no blank rows.

Figure 1 Column Titles Shown in the First Row

Creating a Pivot Table in Excel

  1. Click anyplace in the worksheet data.
  2. From the Insert tab, select Recommended Pivot Tables if you are new to working with pivot tables.

    3. Notice a preview of each Recommended Pivot Table.


4. Select the desired pivot table. It will be inserted in a separate worksheet.

5. Use the various Pivot Table fields, to further analyze the data by dragging the field(s) into the desired area.

Figure 2 Date/Time field added to the Columns Area.

6. Further analyze the data by moving fields into the different areas or removing fields to drill down into the data set.

                  a. For example, to view which Quarter had the most activity, remove Years from the Columns area.

Figure 3 Pivot Table Showing Activity for Each Quarter

b. To narrow down the scope of data, apply a filter to the File Extension field (column) in the Pivot Table

Figure 4 Filtered Results Showing the Total Number of Doc and MSG Files

 c. To drill down into the activity for a Quarter(s), expand the selection by clicking the + symbol.

Figure 5 Qtr1 Expanded to Show Month by Month Activity

7. Once you have the Pivot Table created, consider inserting a Pivot Chart to show a graphical representation of the data set.