Slasher movies are a scary Halloween tradition, and you can fight back against these horror films, by using Excel Slicers. The Guardian recently posted a list of Greatest Films of All Time, and you can download their data in this Greatest Films spreadsheet.
I’ve avoided seeing the Halloween movie, but long ago I saw another frightening holiday film — Black Christmas. Don’t take the kids to see that one! But it didn’t even make the Guardian’s list of top horror films (anti-Canadian bias?).
What are Excel Slicers?
Slicers are a new feature in Excel 2010, and while they aren’t as frightful as a slasher movie, they are very powerful, and help you rip into your Excel data.
In this example, I created a pivot table from the greatest films data, and put Genre and Actor into the Report Filters area. When I selected Horror from the Genre drop down, the pivot table showed the top 25 horror movies.
When I clicked the drop down for Actors, it showed all the actors, not just the ones in the top horror films. James Stewart isn’t in any of those names, but he shows up with Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh.
Add Excel Slicers
Instead of Report Filters in Excel 2010, you can use Excel Slicers. To add one, select a cell in the pivot table, and on the Ribbon’s Insert tab, click Slicer.
In the Insert Slicers dialog box, there’s a list of fields from the pivot table. Add a check mark to the fields you’d like to use as slicers.
Use the Excel Slicers
To use the slicers, click on one of the items. Other slicers connected to the same pivot table will change, to highlight items in the filtered data.
For example, Horror is selected in the Genre slicer. In the ActorName slicer, actors from those horror films are listed at the top. Below those actor names, in grey font, are the remaining actors, from films in other genres.
I clicked Vera Miles in the ActorName slicer, and in the Genre slicer you can see that she is listed in films for both the Action and Horror genres.
This is a helpful new feature, and provides the dependent type of filter that pivot table users have wished for. Also, unlike Report Filters, you can position the slicers anywhere in the workbook — even on a different worksheet.
Have you used slicers? Do you like them better than Report Filters?
Watch the Excel Slicers Video
To see the steps for using Excel Slicers, watch this short Excel video tutorial.