How to Analyze Large Data Sets in Excel (6 Methods)

Let’s work with the sales information dataset for electronic devices. Although this dataset may not be large, we can still demonstrate examples of how to analyze and manipulate data using it.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

When analyzing this dataset, using it in table format is convenient. To convert the data into a table:

  1. Select the dataset, then navigate to Insert >> Table.
  2. A dialog box will appear; ensure you choose My table has headers.
  3. Finally, click OK.

Executing this operation will convert your dataset into an Excel table.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

Method 1 – Analyzing Large Data Sets with Pivot Table 

Excel offers various methods to analyze large datasets, and one effective approach is utilizing Pivot Tables available under the Insert Tab. A Pivot Table facilitates the examination of product sales data through customizable columns and rows, enabling users to view data aggregated by months or years. Below is a step-by-step guide:

  • Begin by selecting the data table, then navigate to Insert >> Pivot Table.
  • A dialog box will appear, giving you the option to choose between a New Worksheet or Existing Worksheet, based on your preference.

  • Opting for a New Worksheet will generate the Pivot Table features in a fresh worksheet. Drag the relevant data ranges (such as Date, Price, Seller Name, etc.) into the Pivot Table Fields. This action will provide a summarized view of sales information within the Pivot Table.
  • For instance, dragging the Date range into the Rows Field will automatically create a Month range, allowing observation of sales information on a monthly basis.
  • Additionally, including Seller Name in the Columns Field can aid in identifying the top-performing employees for potential bonuses.
  • By dragging the Price range into the Values Field, you can assess the total sales within the selected period.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • Upon reviewing your Pivot Table, you will observe comprehensive information such as total sales by month, sales per seller, and the overall sales Grand Total.

  • For further granularity, you can explore data breakdowns by dates simply by clicking on the plus icon (+) adjacent to the Month Name.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

Leveraging Pivot Tables proves invaluable for analyzing extensive datasets, particularly when dealing with routine sales information.

Read More: How to Analyze Raw Data in Excel

Method 2 – Analyzing Large Data Sets with the Filter Command

Another approach to analyzing extensive data sets in Excel involves using the Filter Command, which allows you to refine information based on specified criteria. Here are the steps:

  • Begin by selecting the dataset range, then navigate to Home >> Sort & Filter >> Filter.

  • Subsequently, the Filter Icon will appear in the headers.
  • However, if you intend to view total sales inclusive of VAT while utilizing the Filter Command, you’ll need to employ the following formula:

=SUBTOTAL(9,Table13[Net Price])

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • This formula utilizes the SUBTOTAL Function to calculate the total net sales of the filtered data.
  • With the dataset filtered, you can customize it according to your preferences. For example, to filter by month, click the drop-down icon beside the Date header and select one or multiple months.

  • After selecting May, and clicking OK, you’ll observe the sales information specific to that month, including the total sales with VAT.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • Similarly, if you wish to ascertain the sales attributed to an individual seller, simply select their name and click OK.

  • Subsequently, the corresponding sales information will be displayed in the Excel sheet.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

Leveraging the Filter Command enables effective analysis of large data sets by allowing for tailored filtering based on specific criteria

Method 3 – Utilizing Excel Power Query Editor for Analysis

The Excel Power Query Editor proves invaluable for analyzing large datasets. Below, we outline the process:

  • Begin by selecting your data table, then navigate to Data >> From Table/Range.

  • Your dataset will then appear in the Power Query Editor, equipped with filtering capabilities to summarize or isolate specific sales or employee records.

how to analyze large data sets in excel using power query editor

  • While not mandatory, it’s advantageous to remove the time component from the dates in the Date column. This can be easily achieved by navigating to the Transform Tab of the Power Query Editor and selecting Date >> Date Only.
  • Next, utilize the drop-down icon to filter your dates, opting to filter by individual dates or months.

  • For instance, selecting May provides insights into sales for that specific month. Alternatively, you can employ the Custom Filter option to filter for sales records spanning multiple months or periods.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • Subsequently, the sales data for May will be displayed.

  • To load this filtered data into an Excel sheet, simply click on Close & Load.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • Upon doing so, the sales records for May will be presented as a table in a new sheet.

  • You can further refine your analysis by filtering based on Seller Names or Price Ranges in the Power Query Editor and subsequently loading them into a new sheet using the same procedure.

Method 4 – Analyzing Large Data with Pivot Charts

Utilizing Pivot Charts proves to be an effective method for analyzing data through visual representations. Here’s how to proceed:

  • Begin by following the steps outlined in Section 1 to create a Pivot Table.
  • Once the Pivot Table is established, navigate to PivotTable Analyze >> PivotChart within the Pivot Table sheet.
  • Ensure you select any cell within the Pivot Table before proceeding.

how to analyze large data sets in excel using pivot chart

  • Subsequently, a range of options for the Pivot Chart will be presented. Choose your preferred chart type and click OK. For example, I opted for a simple bar chart.

  • The Pivot Chart will then display the monthly total sales.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • Additionally, if you wish to visualize sales by dates, simply drag the Date range above the Month range in the Pivot Table Fields.

  • This action will update the chart to depict sales data by dates.

how to analyze large data sets in excel using pivot chart

Thus, by leveraging Pivot Charts, you can effectively analyze large datasets. Particularly beneficial for visualizing yearly sales or extensive transaction records, Pivot Charts offer enhanced data visualization capabilities for improved insights.

Read More: How to Analyze Text Data in Excel 

Method 5 – Utilizing Power Pivot for Analyzing Large Data Sets

Another method for conducting Pivot Table analysis on large datasets is by leveraging the Power Pivot feature. Here’s a guide to assist you:

  • Begin by closing the current workbook and opening a new one. Then, navigate to Power Pivot >> Manage.

  • In the Power Pivot window, select Home >> From Other Sources.
  • The Table Import Wizard will appear. Choose Excel File and click Next.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • Browse your Excel Workbook containing the dataset.
  • Click Next.

  • Select the Power Pivot sheet of the workbook and click Finish.

how to analyze large data sets in excel using power pivot

  • Upon confirmation, click Close.

  • This operation will upload the dataset from the selected sheet as a table in Power Pivot.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • Rename the column headers by right-clicking and selecting Rename Column from the Context Menu.

  • To perform Pivot Table analysis, select the Pivot Table.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • A dialog box will appear. Choose whether you want the Pivot Table in the Existing Worksheet or a New Worksheet and click OK. For example, I chose to create the Pivot Table in a New Worksheet.

  • You will now see the Pivot Table Fields in a new sheet. Select Power Pivot to view all the ranges it contains, such as Date, Price, VAT, etc.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • Follow the instructions provided in Section 1 to analyze the data using a Pivot Table.
  • If you wish to visualize monthly sales information using a chart, refer to the instructions in Section 4 on how to analyze data with a Pivot Chart.

Method 6 – Utilizing the Analyze Data Feature

To streamline data analysis within a single sheet, consider employing the Analyze Data feature from the Data Tab. This approach can significantly save you time. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Begin by selecting your table, then choose Analyze Data.

how to analyze large data sets in excel method 6

  • Immediately, the Analyze Data window will appear on the right side of your Excel sheet.
  • Scroll down to explore the various options available for data analysis. Among them, you’ll find the option for Pivot Table analysis.

  • As illustrated in the accompanying image, there’s an option for Bar Chart analysis, allowing for comparison of Price and Net Price of products.

  • Let’s select the Net Price by Product chart to demonstrate the analysis.

how to analyze large data sets in excel

  • This action will generate a bar chart analysis depicting the variation of Net Price by Products.

  • Further options can be found by continuing to scroll down. Choose any that suit your needs and proceed with the analysis.

Leveraging the Analyze Data feature enables efficient analysis of large datasets within a unified interface, offering a range of analytical tools to explore and derive insights.

Read More: How to Analyze Time Series Data in Excel

Practice Section

Here, I’m providing you with the dataset from this article so you can practice these methods independently.

how to analyze large data sets in excel do it yourself

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the practice workbook from here:


Related Articles

<< Go Back to Data Analysis with Excel Learn Excel

Get FREE Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions!
Meraz Al Nahian
Meraz Al Nahian

Md. Meraz Al Nahian has worked with the ExcelDemy project for over 1.5 years. He wrote 140+ articles for ExcelDemy. He also solved a lot of user problems and worked on dashboards. He is interested in data analysis, advanced Excel, statistics, and dashboards. He also likes to explore various Excel and VBA applications. He completed his graduation in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET). He enjoys exploring Excel-related features to gain efficiency... Read Full Bio

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions PDF