Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Applications

This chapter is from the book

Making Report Layout Changes

Excel 2013 offers three report layout styles. The Excel team continues to offer the newer Compact Layout as the default report layout, even though I continually hound them about the fact that people who work in the real world would rather use the Tabular Report Layout, or at least would like to have a choice about which one to use as a default.

If you consider three report layouts, and the ability to show subtotals at the top or bottom, plus choices for blank rows and Repeat All Item Labels, you have 16 different layout possibilities available.

Layout changes are controlled in the Layout group of the Design tab, as shown in Figure 3.8. This group offers four icons:

  • Subtotals—Moves subtotals to the top or bottom of each group or turns them off.
  • Grand Totals—Turns the grand totals on or off for rows and columns.
  • Report Layout—Uses the Compact, Outline, or Tabular forms. Offers an option to repeat item labels.
  • Blank Rows—Inserts or removes blank lines after each group.
Figure 3.8

Figure 3.8. The Layout group on the Design tab offers different layouts and options for totals.

Using the New Compact Layout

By default, all new pivot tables use the Compact layout shown in Figure 3.6. In this layout, multiple fields in the row area are stacked in column A. Note in the figure that the Communications sector and the AT&T customer are both in column A.

The Compact form is suited for using the Expand and Collapse icons. Select one of the Sector value cells such as Communications in A5. Click the Collapse Field icon on the Analyze tab. Excel hides all the customer details and shows only the sectors, as shown in Figure 3.9.

Figure 3.9

Figure 3.9. Click the Collapse Field icon to hide levels of detail.

After a field is collapsed, you can show detail for individual items by using the plus icons in column A, or you can click Expand Field on the Analyze tab to see the detail again.

Figure 3.10

Figure 3.10. When you attempt to expand the innermost field, Excel offers to add a new innermost field.

Using the Outline Form Layout

When you select Design, Layout, Report Layout, Show in Outline Form, Excel puts each row field in a separate column. The pivot table shown in Figure 3.11 is one column wider, with revenue values starting in C instead of B. This is a small price to pay for allowing each field to occupy its own column. Soon, you will find out how to convert a pivot table to values so you can further sort or filter. When you do this, you will want each field in its own column.

Figure 3.11

Figure 3.11. The Outline layout puts each row field in a separate column.

The Excel team added the Repeat All Item Labels option to the Report Layout tab starting in Excel 2010. This alleviated a lot of busy work because it becomes two clicks to fill in all the blank cells along the outer row fields. Choosing to repeat the item labels causes values to appear in cells A6:A7, A9:A10, and A12:A15 of Figure 3.11.

Figure 3.11 shows the pivot table in Outline form with labels repeated.

This layout is better suited if you plan to copy the values from the pivot table to a new location for further analysis. Although the Compact layout offers a clever approach by squeezing multiple fields in one column, it is not ideal for reusing the data later.

By default, both the Compact and Outline layouts put the subtotals at the top of each group. You can use the Subtotals drop-down on the Design tab to move the totals to the bottom of each group, as shown in Figure 3.12. In Outline view, this causes a not-really-useful heading row to appear at the top of each group. Cell A5 contains “Communications” without any additional data in the columns to the right. Consequently, the pivot table occupies 44 rows instead of 37 rows because each of the seven sector categories has an extra header.

Figure 3.12

Figure 3.12. With subtotals at the bottom of each group, the pivot table occupies several more rows.

Using the Traditional Tabular Layout

Pivot table veterans will recognize the Tabular layout shown in Figure 3.13. This layout is similar to the one that has been used in pivot tables since their invention through Excel 2003. In this layout, the subtotals can never appear at the top of the group. The new Repeat All Item Labels works with this layout, as shown in Figure 3.13.

Figure 3.13

Figure 3.13. The Tabular layout is similar to pivot tables in legacy versions of Excel.

The Tabular layout is the best layout if you expect to use the resulting summary data in a subsequent analysis. If you wanted to reuse the table in Figure 3.13, you would do additional “flattening” of the pivot table by choosing Subtotals, Do Not Show Subtotals, and Grand Totals, Off for Rows and Columns.

Controlling Blank Lines, Grand Totals, and Other Settings

Additional settings on the Design tab enable you to toggle various elements.

The Blank Rows drop-down offers a choice for Insert Blank Row After Each Item. This setting only applies to pivot tables with two or more row fields. Blank rows are not added after each item in the inner row field. You see a blank row after each group of items in the outer row fields. As shown in Figure 3.16, the blank row after each Region makes the report easier to read. However, if you remove Sector from the report, you would have only Region in the row fields and no blank rows would appear (see Figure 3.17).

Figure 3.16

Figure 3.16. The Blank Rows setting makes the report easier to read.

Figure 3.17

Figure 3.17. However, blank rows will not appear when there is only one item in the row field.

Grand totals can appear at the bottom of each column and/or at the end of each row, or they can be turned off altogether. Settings for grand totals appear in the Grand Totals drop-down of the Layout group on the Design tab. The wording in this drop-down is a bit confusing, so Figure 3.18 shows what each option provides. The default is to show grand totals for rows and columns, as in Figure 3.17.

Figure 3.18

Figure 3.18. The wording is confusing, but you can toggle off the grand total column, row, or both.

If you want a grand total column but no grand total at the bottom, choose On for Rows Only, as shown at the top of Figure 3.18. To me, this seems backward. To keep the grand total column, you have to choose to turn on grand totals for rows only. I guess the rationale is that each cell in F5:F8 is a grand total of the row to the left of the cell. Hence, you are showing the grand totals for each row, but not for the columns. Perhaps someday Microsoft will ship a version of Excel in English-Midwest where this setting would be called “Keep the Grand Total Column.” But for now, it remains confusing.

In a similar fashion, to show a grand total row but no grand total column, you open the Grand Totals menu and choose On for Columns Only. Again, in some twisted version of the English language, cell B18 is totaling the cells in the column above it.

The final choice, Off for Rows and Columns, is simple enough. Excel shows neither a grand total column nor a grand total row.

Back in Excel 2003, pivot tables were shown in Tabular layout and logical headings such as “Region” and “Product” would appear in the pivot table, as shown in the top pivot table in Figure 3.19. When the Excel team switched to Compact form, they replaced those headings with “Row Labels” and “Column Labels.” These add nothing to the report. To toggle off those headings, look on the far right side of the Analyze tab for an icon called Field Headers and click it to remove “Row Labels” and “Column Labels” from your pivot tables in Compact form.

Figure 3.19

Figure 3.19. The Compact form introduced in Excel 2007 replaced useful headings with “Row Labels.” You can turn these off.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020