If you regularly use spreadsheet programs like Google Sheets, learning to use pivot tables is a must.
When you are new to using pivot tables, it’s common to have some questions about how they work. One thing beginners should learn is how pivot tables refresh data.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to refresh a pivot table in Google Sheets.
Table of Contents
Do Pivot Tables Automatically Update?
Yes, pivot tables automatically update when the data is updated. You actually shouldn’t even need to refresh a pivot table in Google Sheets because it should automatically refresh.
However, there are still some cases where your pivot table may not refresh, so you should learn a little bit of troubleshooting.
Why Won’t My Pivot Table Refresh?
Rows or Columns are Not in Pivot Table
One very common reason that your pivot table may not seem to be refreshing is that there are new rows or columns added after the pivot table is created, so it will not show up in the pivot table.
There are two solutions you can do if this is your issue. The first solution is to always create your pivot table with extra rows and columns so that you can add more data if you need to.
The next solution is to insert new rows or columns in between the already existing data. If you add new data in between existing data, your pivot table range will automatically update and you should be able to select the new data in the pivot table.
Refreshing with Filters
Another common reason that your pivot table may not be updating is that you have filters applied. This can sometimes prevent your pivot table from updating properly.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Above is a basic pivot table where I have the sales data for various items. I will now apply a filter to the data to only view items with sales that are greater than 150.
Here is how the filtered data looks:
Next, I will update my original data set so that another item is above this 150 threshold for the filter.
Notice how my sales for the “hat” item are now above 150.
However, it does not automatically show up in my pivot table:
This is a small flaw with the way pivot tables work. If you have a filter on, any data that is updated after the filter is applied will not automatically refresh. The only solution to this is to remove your filter and then if you want you can reapply it and then your pivot table should be updated:
Making sure your pivot table is showing the most up-to-date version of your data is important. In most cases, it will automatically refresh, however, there are a few scenarios that you should be aware of where it may not update.
The most common causes of this are rows or columns outside the pivot table data range and filters. This is something every pivot table user should be aware of so that you know to watch out for these as you continue to work with spreadsheets.
Be sure to watch the video if you still need help understanding this!