# How to Find Relative Frequency in Excel Pivot Table?

Are you looking to **find the relative frequency in an Excel pivot table**? Relative frequency shows each value in a data set as a **percentage** of the total, which can be very useful for analyzing and comparing data. In this article, we’ll walk through the steps to calculate relative frequency in an Excel pivot table, making it easy to gain insights from your data.

## What is Relative Frequency?

**Relative frequency** refers to the **percentage each value represents** in a data set. To calculate relative frequency, you take the frequency of each value and divide it by the total of all frequencies. This shows the proportion each value represents, with all relative frequencies in a data set totaling 100%.

For example, let’s say you have data on the number of sales made by each salesperson:

Salesperson | Number of Sales |
---|---|

John | 25 |

Lisa | 34 |

Mark | 19 |

Amy | 41 |

To calculate the relative frequency, you would divide each person’s sales by the total of 119 sales:

Salesperson | Number of Sales | Relative Frequency |
---|---|---|

John | 25 | 21.0% |

Lisa | 34 | 28.6% |

Mark | 19 | 16.0% |

Amy | 41 | 34.5% |

Total | 119 | 100% |

Seeing the data in terms of relative frequency makes it easy to compare the proportions and see that Amy made the highest percentage of sales at 34.5% of the total.

## Why Use Relative Frequency in a Pivot Table?

**Pivot tables** are a powerful tool in Excel for **summarizing, analyzing, and presenting data**. They allow you to easily manipulate data, perform calculations, and generate reports.

Using relative frequency in a pivot table lets you quickly see the **percentage breakdown** of your data. Benefits of this include:

**Comparing proportions:**Relative frequencies allow easy comparison of how much each value represents as a percentage of the total.**Analyzing trends:**When you view data over time using relative frequencies, you can spot trends in the proportions.**Presenting findings:**Showing percentages is often more intuitive and impactful for communicating insights.**Normalizing data:**Converting to relative frequencies puts everything on the same scale, controlling for differences in totals across data sets.

So how do you actually calculate relative frequency in an Excel pivot table? Let’s go through it step-by-step.

## Step 1: Organize Your Data

To create a pivot table to find relative frequency, your data needs to be organized in a tabular format with **rows and columns**, like the sales data shown earlier. Make sure each column has a header describing the data.

It’s also best practice to **remove any blank rows or columns** from your data set before creating the pivot table.

## Step 2: Insert a Pivot Table

With your data properly formatted, you can now insert a pivot table.

**Select any cell**within your data set.- Go to the
**Insert tab**on the Excel ribbon. - Click on
**PivotTable**in the Tables group. - Verify the range for your pivot table is correct and choose where to place it (new worksheet or existing worksheet).
- Click
**OK**.

Excel will create a new worksheet with a blank pivot table and the PivotTable Fields pane on the right where you can build your pivot table.

## Step 3: Add Fields to Your Pivot Table

In the PivotTable Fields pane, you’ll see all the **headers from your data** set listed as available fields. To set up your pivot table:

- Drag the field you want to group by (like Salesperson) into the
**Rows**area. - Drag the numeric field you want to find the frequency of (like Number of Sales) into the
**Values**area.

Excel will automatically generate the pivot table, showing the total for each value in the rows field.

## Step 4: Display Frequency as a Percentage

The pivot table now shows frequency, but we want to see **relative frequency as a percentage**. To convert to percentages:

**Right-click**on any value in the data area of the pivot table.- Select
**Show Values As**>**% of Grand Total**.

The pivot table will now display each value as a percentage of the total, showing the relative frequency.

## Step 5: Format the Percentages (Optional)

To make the percentages easier to read, you can **format them** to show fewer decimal places.

**Select the cells**showing the percentages in the pivot table.- Right-click and select
**Format Cells**. - Choose
**Percentage**as the category and set your desired number of decimal places. - Click
**OK**to apply the formatting.

## Example: Using Relative Frequency in Pivot Table

Let’s walk through an example to solidify the concepts. We’ll use this data set showing the **results of a survey question**:

Response | Frequency |
---|---|

Strongly Agree | 95 |

Agree | 147 |

Neutral | 51 |

Disagree | 38 |

Strongly Disagree | 26 |

Following the steps outlined above:

**Insert a pivot table**from this data set.- Drag the
**Response**field into the**Rows area**to group by the response options. - Drag the
**Frequency**field into the**Values area**to sum up the number of responses for each option. **Right-click a value**in the data area and select**Show Values As > % of Grand Total**to convert to relative frequencies.**Select the percentages**and**format**them to display 1 decimal place.

The result is a pivot table showing the relative frequency for each survey response:

Response | Relative Frequency |
---|---|

Strongly Agree | 26.6% |

Agree | 41.2% |

Neutral | 14.3% |

Disagree | 10.6% |

Strongly Disagree | 7.3% |

Grand Total | 100.0% |

From this, you can easily see that the most common response was Agree at 41.2%, while only 7.3% selected Strongly Disagree. The pivot table with relative frequencies makes the **data easy to analyze and interpret**.

## Final Thoughts

**Finding relative frequency in an Excel pivot table** is a quick and easy way to **analyze your data as percentages**. By following a few simple steps to create a pivot table and convert frequencies to percentages, you’ll be able to compare proportions, spot trends, and gain meaningful insights from your data.

The applications of this technique are endless – from survey analysis to sales reporting and beyond. And once you’ve mastered calculating relative frequencies in a pivot table, you can explore even more advanced Excel tools and functions to take your data analysis skills to the next level.

## FAQs

### How do I organize my data before creating a pivot table?

To create a pivot table to find relative frequency, your data needs to be organized in a tabular format with rows and columns. Make sure each column has a header describing the data and remove any blank rows or columns.

### Can I calculate relative frequency for multiple data fields?

Yes, you can add multiple fields to the Values area of the pivot table and show each as a percentage of the total. This allows you to compare relative frequencies across fields.

### How do I update my pivot table if I change the source data?

When you modify the source data for your pivot table, you can refresh the pivot table to update the calculations. Right-click anywhere in the pivot table and select “Refresh”.

### Can I use relative frequency for data over time?

Absolutely! Adding a field with dates or time periods to the Columns area of your pivot table lets you compare relative frequencies over time to analyze trends.

Vaishvi Desai is the founder of Excelsamurai and a passionate Excel enthusiast with years of experience in data analysis and spreadsheet management. With a mission to help others harness the power of Excel, Vaishvi shares her expertise through concise, easy-to-follow tutorials on shortcuts, formulas, Pivot Tables, and VBA.