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How to Create Pivot Tables in MATLAB

 An Introduction to Pivot Tables in MATLAB

What is a Pivot Table?

Pivot tables are an excellent way to summarize tabular data and gain insights by identifying patterns. They allow you to quickly and interactively rearrange your data to answer specific questions. In this blog, we will explore how to create pivot tables in MATLAB and use them to analyze a dataset of energy outages across the United States.

Importing Your Data

To create a pivot table in MATLAB, you need to first import your data into the MATLAB workspace. Once you have your data set ready, open a new live script. You can then create a pivot table programmatically using the pivot command. Specify the data, rows, and columns for the pivot table, and add any optional arguments if needed. Running the script will generate your pivot table.

Creating a Pivot Table Interactively

If you prefer a more interactive approach, MATLAB offers the Pivot Table Live Task. To access this feature, go to the Task dropdown menu and search for "Pivot Table." Once selected, you will have the option to create and customize your pivot table.

First, choose your data from the input table dropdown. Next, specify the pivot variables. Think about what you want the final result to look like. In our example of energy outages, we want a table where each region is its own column and each row represents a year. We can add "Outage Time" as the row variable and specify the binning method as "Year."

The Pivot Table Live Task will immediately display the desired pivot table. The values in the table represent the counts of events in a region for each year. By default, the values option is set to what we want, but you can control what values go into the table.

Customizing Your Pivot Table

The Pivot Table Live Task provides additional options to customize your pivot table. Under the optional pivot parameters, you can choose to add totals for rows or columns by checking the respective boxes. This allows you to see the overall count for each region or year.

You can also filter out any unwanted data, get data for a specific range, or remove missing values using the available options. Additionally, you can change the binning method to specify bin intervals of your choice or add more variables to the pivot table to gain more granular insights from the data.

For example, if you want to determine the most common cause of outages in the Midwest region, you can change the values going into the pivot table. Under the value section, specify the data variable for your requirement. The Pivot Table Live Task allows you to choose the computation method from various options available for that data variable. Alternatively, you can create a new custom function of your choice.

Visualizing Your Pivot Table

Once you have created your pivot table, you can visualize the data using charts such as heat maps. These visualizations help you draw quick insights and identify patterns and trends at a glance.

Using Autogenerated MATLAB Code

After you have finalized your pivot table, you can get the autogenerated MATLAB code for the steps you have followed. This code allows you to apply the same analysis on similar data sets or share it with your colleagues for reproducibility.

Learn More About Pivot Tables in MATLAB

If you want to learn more about pivot tables in MATLAB, you can refer to the MATLAB documentation. It provides detailed information and examples to help you explore the full potential of pivot tables in your data analysis.


Pivot tables are a powerful tool for analyzing tabular data. In this blog, we have learned how to create pivot tables in MATLAB, both programmatically and interactively using the Pivot Table Live Task. We have seen how to customize the pivot table, filter data, and visualize the results. With the autogenerated MATLAB code, you can easily replicate your analysis on new datasets or share it with others for collaboration and reproducibility.

If you are interested in learning more about data analysis with MATLAB, be sure to check out our other videos on YouTube or visit the MathWorks website for additional resources.

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