Layout and Navigation of the PivotTable Report

The PivotTable report is composed of the four general sections, as shown in Illustration 11 below. We exploit the power of OLAP in our PivotTable report by simply placing our dimensions in the sections in such a way as to present data in the desired combinations. As we drag and drop the dimensions and their members into different positions, the measures we have placed in the Data Items section change to match the new placement of the combinations. Values are therefore presented in the context of the axes.

Illustration 11: The PivotTable "Map"

Dimensions and measures are presented as items on the PivotTable Field List, which, for our current example, appears below. Each item is paired with one of two types of icons that represent dimensions and measures respectively. The dimension icons appear as tiny "reports" or "tables;" the measure icons contain a characteristic "01 10" pattern.

Illustration 12: The Items of the PivotTable Field List

The PivotTable Field List items are the main ingredients of the Excel PivotTable report. The PivotTable Field List can be anchored to either side of the Excel window ("docked") simply by dragging it to the desired location, making it a fixed target (something I find easier to handle than the "floating" approach. I have docked mine in the illustration of the PivotTable Report displayed in Illustration 13 below, as well as others), where it can be made to disappear and reappear easily with the rightmost button (default position) on the PivotTable Toolbar. The same is true for the PivotTable Toolbar, except that it can be docked at the top, bottom, or sides of the window, along with the other toolbars, and can be retrieved from hiding with the View ` Toolbars ` PivotTable selection sequence from the top menu.

Browsing Our Cube Data

A PivotTable report is highly flexible in that it serves as both a browser and a report writer. As we have seen, the dimension and measure components of the PivotTable report appear on the PivotTable Field List. We are restricted to dragging dimensions to the axes, and measures to the Data section, so potential confusion is eliminated to a large extent. Indications as to the nature / identity of the toolbar objects are a fringe benefit of our connection to the OLAP cube, as we shall see.