Pivoting reshapes wide short tables into thin tall tables. You need to pivot when your data has several columns where the column name is more useful as a data value. Survey data, public government data, and pre-formatted reports in Excel frequently have these shapes. In the example below, I’ll show you how to wrangle a sales report in Excel.
Have you ever wanted to create a Viz like this?
Using a dataset that looks like this?
This is a wide short table. Currently in Tableau, each of those columns is a new pill, making it difficult to build this Viz. What you need is to reshape the data from wide and short to tall and long. When we pivot, the dates in the column headers become data values. Once they’re data values, we can take advantage of Tableau’s date and time features. Here is what the reshaped data should look like – just three columns and 180 rows.
Long tables are easier to analyze in Tableau, especially when every column has a clear and consistent meaning. In our case, we now have a date field that includes “Month”, “Sales”, and “Store”. Building our Viz couldn’t be easier! But pivoting can be hard to understand and even harder to describe. That's why our new pivot experience encourages you to play with your data. Drag and drop columns and you'll instantly see the results. You can experiment with different pivots until you get just what you need. Check out the video below where we wrangle those columns into rows.