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DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL

The history of the pivot table, the spreadsheet’s most powerful tool

Steve Jobs in the 1980s pointing at someone.
Reuters/Blake Sell
Young Steve Jobs loved the pivot table.
  • Dan Kopf
By Dan Kopf

Data editor

Pivot tables are the quickest and most powerful way for the average person to analyze large datasets. No coding skills or mathematical brilliance are necessary—just the ability to point and click your mouse.

But don’t take our word for it. Pivot tables had a superfan in none other than Apple founder Steve Jobs, who immediately saw their genius.

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