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Using Surface Values in Data Functions

Data functions, when applied to total rows or columns, can either apply calculations to Surface Values (the values displayed in the pivot table) or Underlying Values (the values from the original Results section).

When applied to surface values, data functions recalculate the values in the visible cells or surface of the pivot table. When applied to underlying values, data functions return to the unaggregated values beneath the pivot table and recalculate based on those values. When underlying values are used, the results often appear incongruous with the aggregate surface values of the chart element. In other words, a total of the underlying values does not match the total of the surface figures.

Consider a simple pivot table with two values of 20 and 30. Each of these is already a total of underlying values:


30 = 10 + 20

An average of the underlying values yields the result of:


An average of the surface values yields a result of:


To match surface-level values in your calculation, you can instead apply surface values to the totals derived from data functions. For example, if you use surface values for an average applied to a total, the total is converted to the average of the surface values in the corresponding element.

To use surface values:


Choose Pivot then Use Surface Values.

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