Questions Power Users Ask about Excel: #3 of N

In this series, I intend to document common questions asked by Power users about Excel connected to SSAS cubes (or data warehouse) after they go beyond the basic stage of understanding & using Row labels, column labels, report filter & values in Pivot Tables. This post is #3 of N:

a. How to remove Grand Totals & Sub Totals?

1. Select the Pivot Table.

2. From the toolbar, go to Pivot Table Tools > Design > Sub Totals > Do not Show Sub Totals.

you can also choose to remove it just for rows or columns. it depends on your requirement on how to layout data.

Pivot Tables Sub Totals How to remove

Similarly, you can remove Grand Totals:

Pivot Tables Turn off Grand TotalsAlternatively, you can remove grant totals from Pivot Table options:

Grant Totals Pivot Table Options

There’s also an alternate method for removing subtotals. Put your mouse over the hierarchy level for which you do not need subtotals. Right click > remove subtotals “field name”. But you’ll have to do that for all hierarchy levels if you need to remove all subtotals.

b. How to configure Automatic Data Refresh?

A common question asked by power user is how to make sure that the excel file is pulling the latest data from the cube? Good news for them is that Excel files that are configured to connect to a data source like SSAS cube can be configured to automatically refresh. Here’s how:

1. From the toolbar, Go to Data > Connections

Excel Data Connections Cube Properties2. Select the connection that interested for automatic data refresh > properties

Excel SSAS Cube Property connection3. From here, you can configure the file to do an automatic data refresh every xyz minute and/or configure the file to refresh data every time you open it.

Excel Data Refresh Cubeclick ok when you’re done and close the workbook connections after you’ve configured the data sources that you needed for automatic data refresh.


In this post, we saw how to remove grand totals & subtotals and, how to configure the automatic data refresh.

In previous articles we saw:

#1: How to sort data? How to add slicers? How to change Pivot table Layout

#2: How to add calculated measures?

How to strip double quotes while importing data from CSV or TSV using SSMS Import Data wizard OR SSIS?

Long Title! Let me explain. This post will help you solve following problem if you run into it:

1) You are using SSMS Import data wizard to load data from a comma (or tab) separated value (CSV/TSV) file into SQL Server Table & you find that your source data values has double quotes and so you want to strip them before loading to destination table.

2) You are using SSIS to load data from a CSV/TSV file into SQL Server Table & you want to strip the double quotes in source table fields before you load the data to destination table.

Double Quotes CSV file SSMS SSIS LoadSolution:

1. After you’ve configured the Flat File connection. you’ll reach to a point where you’ll see “Flat File Connection Manager” in SSIS. Or in the SQL Server Import & Export data wizard, you’ll see a dialog box to configure flat file connections.

2. In the Text Qualifier, enter

Strip Double Quotes SSMS SSIS Import Wizard3. Make sure to Preview the data to verify that the double quotes around data fields have been trimmed.

4. That’s it! You’ve successfully configured the flat file connection manager to strip double quotes.

What is the purpose of creating Tables & Graphs?

Knowing why we do what we do is important. Stephen Few lists four reason for creating Tables & Graphs in his book “Show me the number”. I really liked them so I am posting it here for your reference:

  1. it helps us communicate. It helps present information to others.
  2. it helps us analyze data. it helps us find the insights in the data.
  3. It helps us Monitor Performance. It helps us keep track information about performance e.g. Sales Performance, Speed of Manufacturing, etc.
  4. It helps us Plan. It helps us predict and prepare for the future.

Slicing/Dicing data in multiple Excel Pivot Tables with ONE slicer:


This week I created a couple of Excel Dashboard’s for a project that I am working on. As a part of the that, I decided to include slicers for these Excel Dashboards. And the reason I did that was because data in multiple pivot tables needed to be sliced with one click. In this blog post, I’ll show you steps to connect an Excel slicer to multiple pivot tables:

Steps for Excel 2010:

1. Based on your requirements, decide if multiple items on a dashboard (excel sheet) need to be affected with one click

2. Now, for the purpose of this blog post, let’s assume that you have two Pivot Tables like shown below:

two excel reports slicer 1

Note: the Two Excel Pivot Tables are created by connecting to same cube. And the slicer comes from the same cube.

3. And what if you need to slice data in both pivot tables by one common slicer? Let’s say we want to slice the data in the two pivot tables that we have by Product Category – here’s what you do (assuming that the tables are related in your data source and slicing makes sense)

4. click on any of the pivot table and you’ll see PivotChart Tools in the toolbar

pivot table charts tools5. Switch to Analyze Tab & click on insert slicer & Select the field that you want as slicer & click OK

pivot table insert slicers6. you’ll see a slicer on your sheet now:

slicer on pivot tables

7. Let’s format the report to make it look better:

#1: move the slicer such that it does not overlap any of the pivot tables.

#2: In this case, I want to move the slicer to the top of the sheet and change the slicer to have 5 columns. Here’s how you can do that:

select the slicer > from the toolbar > slicer tools > column

slicer tools option excel

#3 I also changed the slicer style from the slicer tools to match its color palette with that of the Pivot Tables:

8. Note that the slicer is connected to just ONE pivot table. Let’s connect it to both pivot tables

9. From Slicer Tools options > Pivot Table connections > check all pivot tables that you want the slicer to be connected to:

pivot table connections excel

10. Done! Test your slicers, with one click you should be able to see that the data gets sliced in both pivot tables:

#1: Sliced by Bikes

excel pivot analysis data 1

#2: Sliced by Accessories

excel pivot analysis data 2That’s about it for this post. Your comments are very welcome!

Related Posts:

Comparing Slicers in Excel 2010 to Standard PivotTable Filters


How to change the layout of the Excel Pivot Tables?

Pivot Tables are powerful mechanism to analyze data. And as you may know, it’s really popular among business professionals that use excel for their day-to-day data analysis needs. With that context, Here’s the blog post on Pivot Tables Layout:


I got a question from my client who had a specific need on how she wanted her Pivot Tables to look. Here’s how the Pivot Table should look like:

excel pivot table power pivotSolution:

I am using Excel 2010 Pro Plus to demo the solution, please use this solution to adapt to use it with other versions of excel.

Without formatting and changing the layout, the excel pivot table looked like this:

step 1 excel pivot table from power pivot

Now, let’s work step by step to meet the requirement:

Step 1: click somewhere on the Pivot Table and from the Toolbar, Switch to the Design Tab under PivotTable Tools

Pivot Table Tools Design ExcelStep 2: Now here, Go to Report Layout > Show in Tabular Form

Pivot Table Layout Tabular Form

Step 3: As you might have noticed the “hierarchical” structure is now broken up into multiple structure getting us closer to meet the requirement.

half way pivot table layout

Step 4: In our requirement, you can see that it does not give the user to see the “+” or “-” (expand, collapse) buttons. So, let’s hide these buttons from the report from Step #3

Right click somewhere on the pivot table > PivotTable Options > Display tab > uncheck the box that says “Show expand/collapse buttons“:

pivot table hide expand collapse button

Step 5: so now it looks as follows:

excel pivot table power pivot

So as you can see, it meets our requirement now.

To recap, Here’s what we had to do:

#1: Change the Layout of the Pivot Table

#2: We saw how to hide the expand/collapse buttons too.


That’s about it for the post! Thanks for reading.

your comments are most welcome!


Resource: Introduction to Data Science by Prof Bill Howe, UW

Introduction to Data Science course taught by Bill Howe just started on coursera platform. Having studied the Data Intensive Computing in Cloud course at UW taught by Prof Bill Howe, I can say that this course would be great resource too!

Check it out:

Introduction to Data Science

PASS Business Analytics Conference Keynote Day #2

Dr. Steven Levitt’s (Indiana Jones of economics & Author of Freakonomics) work involves finding insights from data. In the keynote, he shared some of the interesting & fun insights that he found from data.

One Example: Dr. Levitt: According to the data, It was 7 times more dangerous to sell crack in Chicago than it was being in combat in Iraq.

He also talked about other insights that he found which could also be found in his book Freakonomics. After getting audience fascinated about what analyzing data can do – he moved to his real world experiences of analyzing data for businesses. And tied all these fascinating insights back to some tips he had for the audience. Here is a brief recap of the tips he shared:

> “Ideas don’t come out of the blue. Almost always ideas come out of the data” – Dr. Steven Levitt

> “You guys are the future. What you’re doing is the key to a business’ success or failure.”

> Experiment & Test Hypothesis using DATA

> Misconceptions can cripple you. Let the data speak, even when it might be difficult

> Most important people = who understand and know what to do with data, not those who pretend they know the answer.

> Dr. Levitt: without data any biz will be left behind, must experiment and accept failure

*Above text is linked to tweets.

That’s about it for this post. What do you think about the tips that Dr Levitt shared?


Excel: Swapping (reversing) the Axis of a Table Data

Data preparation (or call it pre-processing) is an essential and time-consuming part of any data analytic’s project. To that end, I was working on a data set needed some changes before I could plot it on an effective data visualization. Here’s what I did:

My Challenge:

I was working on a data set that looked like this:

Date Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Adalaj, Gujarat, India Addison, TX
1/1/2013 1 4 2
1/2/2013 1 4 2
1/3/2013 1 4 3
1/4/2013 3 3 3
1/5/2013 2 2 4
1/6/2013 2 3 4
1/7/2013 2 3 3
1/8/2013 2 2 4
1/9/2013 2 2 3

BUT: I wanted my data to look like

Date 1/1/2013 1/2/2013 1/3/2013 1/4/2013 1/5/2013 1/6/2013 1/7/2013 1/8/2013 1/9/2013
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 1 1 1 3 2 2 2 2 2
Adalaj, Gujarat, India 4 4 4 3 2 3 3 2 2
Addison, TX 2 2 3 3 4 4 3 4 3

What did my real data looked liked?

it has 380 columns and 500+ Rows and so MANUAL copy pasting was NOT an option!

Excel 2010 Solution:

It’s so simple!

Step 1: Select the data > COPY (Shortcut: ctrl + c)

Step 2: Switch to a new/different excel sheet

step 3: Paste Special > Transpose (T)

excel paste special transpose swap axis data

So After doing this, This is how the Input & output looks:

excel paste special reverse axis


In this post, We saw how to swap or reverse the axis of a table data in Excel 2010.

An auto-refreshing Word Document that fetches data numbers from Excel:

In this post, I’ll show you how you can create a word document that:

1) Gets numbers from Excel

2) auto refreshes when the data gets changed/updated in Excel

Note: I am using Excel 2010 & Word 2010 for the purpose of this blog.

Here are the steps:

1. Scenario:

Let’s say we have a line in word that says “The revenue for year _____ was $ ______”

and we want to fetch data numbers for Year and revenue from Excel.

2. Let’s go!

here’s the data in Excel:

excel data numbers

3. In excel; copy A2 that has value 2012

4. switch to WORD:

now this is IMPORTANT. do NOT just paste it.

move your cursor to the destination position > right-click > paste options > Link and Merge formatting 

link and merge formatting

There’s also an option of link and keep source formatting, this is how it looks:

link and keep source formatting

5. repeat the steps for revenue

6. Close Word.

7. Open Excel and change the value of year to 2011 and revenue to 4000

8 Now open Word 2010, say yes if a dialog box pops up

And here you go:

linked word file to excel data


In this post, we saw how to create an auto-refreshing word document that fetches data numbers from Excel.

How to add secondary axis in a chart in Excel 2010?

In this post, I’ll show you how you can add secondary axis in a chart in Excel 2010:

First up, Why do you need secondary axis?

Look at the Data and the chart that I just created:

creating a chart from Data excel 2010

Notice something? Column A is not “visible” – Is it? So Now let’s see the effect how adding a Secondary Axes:

secondary axis in a chart in excel 2010

Looks better? Here are the steps:

1. Select the chart

2. can you see charts tool options in the menu bar? Yes? Great!

3. Switch to Format Tab

4. select the column that you want to put on a secondary axes:

select column in format area data excel chart

5. After selecting the column, click on Format Selection

6. In the dialog box, select secondary axes:

secondary axis excel 2010 chartclick on close.

7. Can you see the secondary axis now? Great!

secondary axis in a chart in excel 2010

8. Let’s do one more thing!

Let’s change the chart type of the secondary axis. Here are the steps:

a. Make sure the column is selected from the format Tab

b. Switch to the Design Tab under the charts Tool

c. Click on change chart type and select the chart of your choice. I select a column chart and this is how it looks:

more than one chart type on a single chart in excel 2010


In this post, we saw how to add a secondary axis. We also saw how to change the chart type of the secondary axis.