Pivot tables

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This guide describes how and why to use the Google Sheets API to create pivot tables in your spreadsheets.

What is a pivot table?

Pivot tables provide a way to summarize data in your spreadsheet, automatically aggregating, sorting, counting, or averaging the data while displaying the summarized results in a new table. A pivot table acts as a sort of query against a source data set. This source data exists at some other location in the spreadsheet, and the pivot table presents a processed view of the data.

For example, consider the following sales data set:

A B C D E F G
1 Item Category Model Number Cost Quantity Region Salesperson Ship Date
2 Wheel W-24 $20.50 4 West Beth 3/1/2016
3 Door D-01X $15.00 2 South Amir 3/15/2016
4 Engine ENG-0134 $100.00 1 North Carmen 3/20/2016
5 Frame FR-0B1 $34.00 8 East Hannah 3/12/2016
6 Panel P-034 $6.00 4 North Devyn 4/2/2016
7 Panel P-052 $11.50 7 East Erik 5/16/2016
8 Wheel W-24 $20.50 11 South Sheldon 4/30/2016
9 Engine ENG-0161 $330.00 2 North Jessie 7/2/2016
10 Door D-01Y $29.00 6 West Armando 3/13/2016
11 Frame FR-0B1 $34.00 9 South Yuliana 2/27/2016
12 Panel P-102 $3.00 15 West Carmen 4/18/2016
13 Panel P-105 $8.25 13 West Jessie 6/20/2016
14 Engine ENG-0211 $283.00 1 North Amir 6/21/2016
15 Door D-01X $15.00 2 West Armando 7/3/2016
16 Frame FR-0B1 $34.00 6 South Carmen 7/15/2016
17 Wheel W-25 $20.00 8 South Hannah 5/2/2016
18 Wheel W-11 $29.00 13 East Erik 5/19/2016
19 Door D-05 $17.70 7 West Beth 6/28/2016
20 Frame FR-0B1 $34.00 8 North Sheldon 3/30/2016

You could use a pivot table to create a report showing how many of each model number were sold in each region:

screenshot of a pivot table showing count of model number by region

For the source code used to generate this pivot table, see the Example section below.

Once a pivot table is placed in a spreadsheet, users can interactively change the summary's structure and details using the Sheets UI.

Working with pivot tables

A pivot table definition is associated with a single cell on a sheet. Although its rendered appearance is many cells in both height and width, programmatically it's located at a single cell coordinate. This cell becomes the top-left corner of the rendered pivot table, with its horizontal and vertical extent determined by its definition.

Adding a pivot table

To add a pivot table, use the batchUpdate method, supplying an updateCells request. You use this request to supply a PivotTable definition as the content of a cell as shown below:

"updateCells": {
  "rows": {
    "values": [{
      "pivotTable": MyPivotTable
    },
    "start": {
      "sheetId": sheetId,
      "rowIndex": 0,
      "columnIndex": 0
    },
    "fields": "pivotTable"
  }

This places the pivot table described by MyPivotTable on the specified sheet, with the top-left corner at cell A1. (The height and width of the pivot table are dynamic; you specify only the origin.)

The PivotTable type lets you specify:

  • Source data range
  • One or more fields whose data will form the rows of the pivot table
  • One or more fields whose data will form the columns of the pivot table
  • Filtering and aggregation criteria
  • Pivot table layout

Modifying and deleting pivot tables

There are no explicit requests to modify or delete a pivot table. Instead, use an updateCells request with different cell contents:

  • To modify a pivot table, create a modified PivotTable definition and update the cell using it, similar to adding a new pivot table.
  • To delete a pivot table, update the cell with empty values. For an example, see the Delete a pivot table sample.

Use cases

There are many different uses for pivot tables, across a broad range of areas including statistical analysis, ERP applications, financial reporting, and others. Classic pivot table use cases include items like:

  • Total sales by region and quarter
  • Average salary by title and location
  • Count of incidents by product and time of day

The number of potential applications of pivot tables is vast, and the ability to generate them programmatically is powerful. You can generate pivot tables that support interactive exploration but are tailored to specific circumstances, for example:

  • Explore incident data for the most recent 24-hour period
  • View/analyze aggregated data corresponding to the currently selected account
  • Examine sales data for territories belonging to the current user

Example

This example creates a pivot table from a data set to produce the "model number by region" report shown in the introduction of this page. For additional examples, see the pivot table sample page.

Apps Script

sheets/api/spreadsheet_snippets.gs
/**
 * Create pivot table
 * @param {string} spreadsheetId spreadsheet ID
 * @returns {*} pivot table's spreadsheet
 */
Snippets.prototype.pivotTable = (spreadsheetId) => {
  try {
    const spreadsheet = SpreadsheetApp.openById(spreadsheetId);

    // Create two sheets for our pivot table, assume we have one.
    let sheet = spreadsheet.getSheets()[0];
    sheet.copyTo(spreadsheet);

    const sourceSheetId = spreadsheet.getSheets()[0].getSheetId();
    const targetSheetId = spreadsheet.getSheets()[1].getSheetId();

    // Create pivot table
    const pivotTable = Sheets.newPivotTable();

    let gridRange = Sheets.newGridRange();
    gridRange.sheetId = sourceSheetId;
    gridRange.startRowIndex = 0;
    gridRange.startColumnIndex = 0;
    gridRange.endRowIndex = 20;
    gridRange.endColumnIndex = 7;
    pivotTable.source = gridRange;

    let pivotRows = Sheets.newPivotGroup();
    pivotRows.sourceColumnOffset = 1;
    pivotRows.showTotals = true;
    pivotRows.sortOrder = 'ASCENDING';
    pivotTable.rows = pivotRows;

    let pivotColumns = Sheets.newPivotGroup();
    pivotColumns.sourceColumnOffset = 4;
    pivotColumns.sortOrder = 'ASCENDING';
    pivotColumns.showTotals = true;
    pivotTable.columns = pivotColumns;

    let pivotValue = Sheets.newPivotValue();
    pivotValue.summarizeFunction = 'COUNTA';
    pivotValue.sourceColumnOffset = 4;
    pivotTable.values = [pivotValue];

    // Create other metadata for the updateCellsRequest
    let cellData = Sheets.newCellData();
    cellData.pivotTable = pivotTable;

    let rows = Sheets.newRowData();
    rows.values = cellData;

    let start = Sheets.newGridCoordinate();
    start.sheetId = targetSheetId;
    start.rowIndex = 0;
    start.columnIndex = 0;

    let updateCellsRequest = Sheets.newUpdateCellsRequest();
    updateCellsRequest.rows = rows;
    updateCellsRequest.start = start;
    updateCellsRequest.fields = 'pivotTable';

    // Batch update our spreadsheet
    let batchUpdate = Sheets.newBatchUpdateSpreadsheetRequest();
    let updateCellsRawRequest = Sheets.newRequest();
    updateCellsRawRequest.updateCells = updateCellsRequest;
    batchUpdate.requests = [updateCellsRawRequest];
    const response = Sheets.Spreadsheets.batchUpdate(batchUpdate,
      spreadsheetId);

    return response;
  } catch (err) {
    // TODO (developer) - Handle exception
    Logger.log('Failed with error %s', err.message);
  }
};

Java

sheets/snippets/src/main/java/PivotTables.java
import com.google.api.client.googleapis.json.GoogleJsonError;
import com.google.api.client.googleapis.json.GoogleJsonResponseException;
import com.google.api.client.http.HttpRequestInitializer;
import com.google.api.client.http.javanet.NetHttpTransport;
import com.google.api.client.json.gson.GsonFactory;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.Sheets;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.SheetsScopes;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.AddSheetRequest;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.BatchUpdateSpreadsheetRequest;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.BatchUpdateSpreadsheetResponse;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.CellData;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.GridCoordinate;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.GridRange;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.PivotGroup;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.PivotTable;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.PivotValue;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.Request;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.RowData;
import com.google.api.services.sheets.v4.model.UpdateCellsRequest;
import com.google.auth.http.HttpCredentialsAdapter;
import com.google.auth.oauth2.GoogleCredentials;
import com.google.common.collect.Lists;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.Collections;
import java.util.List;

/* Class to demonstrate the use of Spreadsheet Create Pivot Tables API */
public class PivotTables {
  /**
   * Create pivot table.
   *
   * @param spreadsheetId - Id of the spreadsheet.
   * @return pivot table's spreadsheet
   * @throws IOException - if credentials file not found.
   */
  public static BatchUpdateSpreadsheetResponse pivotTables(String spreadsheetId)
      throws IOException {
        /* Load pre-authorized user credentials from the environment.
           TODO(developer) - See https://developers.google.com/identity for
            guides on implementing OAuth2 for your application. */
    GoogleCredentials credentials = GoogleCredentials.getApplicationDefault()
        .createScoped(Collections.singleton(SheetsScopes.SPREADSHEETS));
    HttpRequestInitializer requestInitializer = new HttpCredentialsAdapter(
        credentials);

    // Create the sheets API client
    Sheets service = new Sheets.Builder(new NetHttpTransport(),
        GsonFactory.getDefaultInstance(),
        requestInitializer)
        .setApplicationName("Sheets samples")
        .build();

    // Create two sheets for our pivot table.
    List<Request> sheetsRequests = new ArrayList<>();
    BatchUpdateSpreadsheetResponse result = null;
    try {
      sheetsRequests.add(new Request().setAddSheet(new AddSheetRequest()));
      sheetsRequests.add(new Request().setAddSheet(new AddSheetRequest()));

      BatchUpdateSpreadsheetRequest createSheetsBody = new BatchUpdateSpreadsheetRequest()
          .setRequests(sheetsRequests);
      BatchUpdateSpreadsheetResponse createSheetsResponse = service.spreadsheets()
          .batchUpdate(spreadsheetId, createSheetsBody).execute();
      int sourceSheetId = createSheetsResponse.getReplies().get(0).getAddSheet().getProperties()
          .getSheetId();
      int targetSheetId = createSheetsResponse.getReplies().get(1).getAddSheet().getProperties()
          .getSheetId();

      PivotTable pivotTable = new PivotTable()
          .setSource(
              new GridRange()
                  .setSheetId(sourceSheetId)
                  .setStartRowIndex(0)
                  .setStartColumnIndex(0)
                  .setEndRowIndex(20)
                  .setEndColumnIndex(7)
          )
          .setRows(Collections.singletonList(
              new PivotGroup()
                  .setSourceColumnOffset(1)
                  .setShowTotals(true)
                  .setSortOrder("ASCENDING")
          ))
          .setColumns(Collections.singletonList(
              new PivotGroup()
                  .setSourceColumnOffset(4)
                  .setShowTotals(true)
                  .setSortOrder("ASCENDING")
          ))
          .setValues(Collections.singletonList(
              new PivotValue()
                  .setSummarizeFunction("COUNTA")
                  .setSourceColumnOffset(4)
          ));
      List<Request> requests = Lists.newArrayList();
      Request updateCellsRequest = new Request().setUpdateCells(new UpdateCellsRequest()
          .setFields("*")
          .setRows(Collections.singletonList(
              new RowData().setValues(
                  Collections.singletonList(
                      new CellData().setPivotTable(pivotTable))
              )
          ))
          .setStart(new GridCoordinate()
              .setSheetId(targetSheetId)
              .setRowIndex(0)
              .setColumnIndex(0)

          ));

      requests.add(updateCellsRequest);
      BatchUpdateSpreadsheetRequest updateCellsBody = new BatchUpdateSpreadsheetRequest()
          .setRequests(requests);
      result = service.spreadsheets().batchUpdate(spreadsheetId, updateCellsBody).execute();
    } catch (GoogleJsonResponseException e) {
      // TODO(developer) - handle error appropriately
      GoogleJsonError error = e.getDetails();
      if (error.getCode() == 404) {
        System.out.printf("Spreadsheet not found with id '%s'.\n", spreadsheetId);
      } else {
        throw e;
      }
    }
    return result;
  }
}

JavaScript

sheets/snippets/sheets_pivot_tables.js
function pivotTable(spreadsheetId, callback) {
  // Create two sheets for our pivot table
  const requests = [{
    addSheet: {},
  }, {
    addSheet: {},
  }];
  const batchUpdateRequest = {requests: requests};
  try {
    gapi.client.sheets.spreadsheets.batchUpdate({
      spreadsheetId: spreadsheetId,
      resource: batchUpdateRequest,
    }).then((response) => {
      const sourceSheetId = response.result.replies[0].addSheet.properties.sheetId;
      const targetSheetId = response.result.replies[1].addSheet.properties.sheetId;

      const requests = [{
        updateCells: {
          rows: {
            values: [{
              pivotTable: {
                source: {
                  sheetId: sourceSheetId,
                  startRowIndex: 0,
                  startColumnIndex: 0,
                  endRowIndex: 20,
                  endColumnIndex: 7,
                },
                rows: [{
                  sourceColumnOffset: 1,
                  showTotals: true,
                  sortOrder: 'ASCENDING',
                }],
                columns: [{
                  sourceColumnOffset: 4,
                  sortOrder: 'ASCENDING',
                  showTotals: true,
                }],
                values: [{
                  summarizeFunction: 'COUNTA',
                  sourceColumnOffset: 4,
                }],
                valueLayout: 'HORIZONTAL',
              },
            },
            ],
          },
          start: {
            sheetId: targetSheetId,
            rowIndex: 0,
            columnIndex: 0,
          },
          fields: 'pivotTable',
        },
      }];

      const body = {
        requests,
      };
      gapi.client.sheets.spreadsheets.batchUpdate({
        spreadsheetId: spreadsheetId,
        resource: body,
      }).then((response) => {
        if (callback) callback(response);
      });
    });
  } catch (err) {
    document.getElementById('content').innerText = err.message;
    return;
  }
}

Node.js

sheets/snippets/sheets_pivot_table.js
/**
 * Adds a pivot table to a spreadsheet.
 * @param {string} spreadsheetId The Spreadsheet to add the pivot table to.
 * @return {obj} spreadsheet information
 */
async function pivotTable(spreadsheetId) {
  const {GoogleAuth} = require('google-auth-library');
  const {google} = require('googleapis');

  const auth = new GoogleAuth({
    scopes: 'https://www.googleapis.com/auth/spreadsheets',
  });

  const service = google.sheets({version: 'v4', auth});
  try {
    // Create two sheets for our pivot table
    let requests = [
      {
        addSheet: {},
      },
      {
        addSheet: {},
      },
    ];
    let resource = {requests};
    let response = await service.spreadsheets.batchUpdate({
      spreadsheetId,
      resource,
    });
    const sourceSheetId = response.data.replies[0].addSheet.properties.sheetId;
    const targetSheetId = response.data.replies[1].addSheet.properties.sheetId;

    requests = [
      {
        updateCells: {
          rows: {
            values: [
              {
                pivotTable: {
                  source: {
                    sheetId: sourceSheetId,
                    startRowIndex: 0,
                    startColumnIndex: 0,
                    endRowIndex: 20,
                    endColumnIndex: 7,
                  },
                  rows: [
                    {
                      sourceColumnOffset: 1,
                      showTotals: true,
                      sortOrder: 'ASCENDING',
                    },
                  ],
                  columns: [
                    {
                      sourceColumnOffset: 4,
                      sortOrder: 'ASCENDING',
                      showTotals: true,
                    },
                  ],
                  values: [
                    {
                      summarizeFunction: 'COUNTA',
                      sourceColumnOffset: 4,
                    },
                  ],
                  valueLayout: 'HORIZONTAL',
                },
              },
            ],
          },
          start: {
            sheetId: targetSheetId,
            rowIndex: 0,
            columnIndex: 0,
          },
          fields: 'pivotTable',
        },
      },
    ];
    resource = {
      requests,
    };
    response = service.spreadsheets.batchUpdate({
      spreadsheetId,
      resource,
    });
    return response;
  } catch (err) {
    // TODO (developer) - Handle exception
    throw err;
  }
}

PHP

sheets/snippets/src/SpreadsheetPivotTables.php
use Google\Client;
use Google\Service\Drive;
use Google\Service\Sheets\BatchUpdateSpreadsheetRequest;


function pivotTables($spreadsheetId)
    {
        /* Load pre-authorized user credentials from the environment.
           TODO(developer) - See https://developers.google.com/identity for
            guides on implementing OAuth2 for your application. */
        $client = new Google\Client();
        $client->useApplicationDefaultCredentials();
        $client->addScope(Google\Service\Drive::DRIVE);
        $service = new Google_Service_Sheets($client);
        try{
            $requests = [
                new Google_Service_Sheets_Request([
                    'addSheet' => [
                        'properties' => [
                            'title' => 'Sheet 1'
                            ]
                ]
            ]),
            new Google_Service_Sheets_Request([
                'addSheet' => [
                    'properties' => [
                        'title' => 'Sheet 2'
                        ]
                        ]
                        ])
                    ];
                    // Create two sheets for our pivot table
                    $batchUpdateRequest = new Google_Service_Sheets_BatchUpdateSpreadsheetRequest([
                        'requests' => $requests
                    ]);
        $batchUpdateResponse = $service->spreadsheets->batchUpdate($spreadsheetId, $batchUpdateRequest);
        $sourceSheetId = $batchUpdateResponse->replies[0]->addSheet->properties->sheetId;
        $targetSheetId = $batchUpdateResponse->replies[1]->addSheet->properties->sheetId;
        $requests = [
            'updateCells' => [
                'rows' => [
                    'values' => [
                        [
                            'pivotTable' => [
                                'source' => [
                                    'sheetId' => $sourceSheetId,
                                    'startRowIndex' => 0,
                                    'startColumnIndex' => 0,
                                    'endRowIndex' => 20,
                                    'endColumnIndex' => 7
                                ],
                                'rows' => [
                                    [
                                        'sourceColumnOffset' => 1,
                                        'showTotals' => true,
                                        'sortOrder' => 'ASCENDING',
                                    ],
                                ],
                                'columns' => [
                                    [
                                        'sourceColumnOffset' => 4,
                                        'sortOrder' => 'ASCENDING',
                                        'showTotals' => true,
                                    ]
                                ],
                                'values' => [
                                    [
                                        'summarizeFunction' => 'COUNTA',
                                        'sourceColumnOffset' => 4
                                        ]
                                    ],
                                'valueLayout' => 'HORIZONTAL'
                            ]
                        ]
                        ]
                ],
                'start' => [
                    'sheetId' => $targetSheetId,
                    'rowIndex' => 0,
                    'columnIndex' => 0
                ],
                'fields' => 'pivotTable'
            ]
        ];
        return $batchUpdateResponse;
    }
        catch(Exception $e) {
            // TODO(developer) - handle error appropriately
            echo 'Message: ' .$e->getMessage();
        }
    }

Python

sheets/snippets/sheets_pivot_tables.py
from __future__ import print_function

import google.auth
from googleapiclient.discovery import build
from googleapiclient.errors import HttpError


def pivot_tables(spreadsheet_id):
    """
    Creates the batch_update the user has access to.
    Load pre-authorized user credentials from the environment.
    TODO(developer) - See https://developers.google.com/identity
    for guides on implementing OAuth2 for the application.
        """
    creds, _ = google.auth.default()
    # pylint: disable=maybe-no-member
    try:
        service = build('sheets', 'v4', credentials=creds)
        # Create two sheets for our pivot table.
        body = {
            'requests': [{
                'addSheet': {}
            }, {
                'addSheet': {}
            }]
        }
        batch_update_response = service.spreadsheets() \
            .batchUpdate(spreadsheetId=spreadsheet_id, body=body).execute()
        source_sheet_id = batch_update_response.get('replies')[0] \
            .get('addSheet').get('properties').get('sheetId')
        target_sheet_id = batch_update_response.get('replies')[1] \
            .get('addSheet').get('properties').get('sheetId')
        requests = []
        requests.append({
            'updateCells': {
                'rows': {
                    'values': [
                        {
                            'pivotTable': {
                                'source': {
                                    'sheetId': source_sheet_id,
                                    'startRowIndex': 0,
                                    'startColumnIndex': 0,
                                    'endRowIndex': 20,
                                    'endColumnIndex': 7
                                },
                                'rows': [
                                    {
                                        'sourceColumnOffset': 1,
                                        'showTotals': True,
                                        'sortOrder': 'ASCENDING',

                                    },

                                ],
                                'columns': [
                                    {
                                        'sourceColumnOffset': 4,
                                        'sortOrder': 'ASCENDING',
                                        'showTotals': True,

                                    }
                                ],
                                'values': [
                                    {
                                        'summarizeFunction': 'COUNTA',
                                        'sourceColumnOffset': 4
                                    }
                                ],
                                'valueLayout': 'HORIZONTAL'
                            }
                        }
                    ]
                },
                'start': {
                    'sheetId': target_sheet_id,
                    'rowIndex': 0,
                    'columnIndex': 0
                },
                'fields': 'pivotTable'
            }
        })
        body = {
            'requests': requests
        }
        response = service.spreadsheets() \
            .batchUpdate(spreadsheetId=spreadsheet_id, body=body).execute()
        return response

    except HttpError as error:
        print(f"An error occurred: {error}")
        return error


if __name__ == '__main__':
    # Pass: spreadsheet_id
    pivot_tables("1CM29gwKIzeXsAppeNwrc8lbYaVMmUclprLuLYuHog4k")

Ruby

sheets/snippets/lib/spreadsheet_snippets.rb
requests = [{
  update_cells: {
    rows:   {
      values: [
        {
          pivot_table: {
            source:       {
              sheet_id:           source_sheet_id,
              start_row_index:    0,
              start_column_index: 0,
              end_row_index:      20,
              end_column_index:   7
            },
            rows:         [
              {
                source_column_offset: 1,
                show_totals:          true,
                sort_order:           'ASCENDING',
              },
            ],
            columns:      [
              {
                source_column_offset: 4,
                sort_order:           'ASCENDING',
                show_totals:          true,
              }
            ],
            values:       [
              {
                summarize_function:   'COUNTA',
                source_column_offset: 4
              }
            ],
            value_layout: 'HORIZONTAL'
          }
        }
      ]
    },
    start:  {
      sheet_id:     target_sheet_id,
      row_index:    0,
      column_index: 0
    },
    fields: 'pivotTable'
  }
}]
result = service.batch_update_spreadsheet(spreadsheet_id, body, {})