How to Refresh a Pivot Table in Google Sheets (3 Ways)

With pivot tables being such a powerful data summarization tool, it is no wonder why their use is so widespread. With that popularity, many users may have questions: How do I refresh a pivot table in Google Sheets?

There are multiple ways to approach this, which we will discuss in detail in this article.

But that question comes with a couple more, which we will clarify first.

Do Google Sheets Pivot Tables Automatically Refresh?

Yes. Google Sheets is a browser-based application. This means that every time a change is made to the spreadsheet, the application saves the data automatically.

Whenever this happens, a dependent tool, function, or formula automatically refreshes and updates the data.

And yes, even pivot tables are affected, and their data is automatically refreshed.

Why is the Pivot Table not Updating or Refreshing in Google Sheets?

Even though Google Sheets refreshes every time any data is updated, it is still possible for the pivot table to not update accordingly. There are a few reasons for that:

  1. The new data entered may be outside the range of the pivot table.
  2. The pivot table may have filters. Filters sometimes don’t update when a new type of data is entered.
  3. The source dataset may be using recurring functions or formulas like RAND, TODAY, etc.

These are some of the problems we will solve in this article.

How to Refresh a Pivot Table in Google Sheets

1. Manual Refresh from the Browser

Being a browser-based application, Google Sheets is dependent on a good internet connection.

This also means that any hiccups in the connection may temporarily stop any updates from going through.

So, it is a good idea to occasionally refresh the tab that contains the Google Sheets spreadsheet manually.

You can use the refresh button of the browser (see image below), or use the F5 key of the keyboard.

using the refresh button of the browser to refresh google sheets pivot table

Refreshing the browser should also refresh any Google Sheets pivot table as well.

2. Update the Data Range

For this example, we use the following worksheet:

an example worksheet

To create the following pivot table:

example pivot table

Now, if we enter new data into the table…

a new data is entered into the source worksheet

The pivot table does not update (the total sales for the West region should have been 657), why is that?

the pivot table data is not updated

This happens because of the data range of the pivot table. As you can see in the following image, the data range for our pivot table stops at row 21.

the data range does not include the new entries

The new data that was entered in row 22, thus, that data was not included in the pivot table.

To refresh and update this data, simply include the new row in the range. The best practice for this is to include the entire columns of data as a range for the pivot table.

Change the range from Sheet1!A1:C21 to Sheet1!A:C.

updating range to update and refresh the google sheets pivot table

Now, any new data entered into the source dataset will also be updated in the pivot table every time it is refreshed.

Note: The same can be done for columns.

3. Check Filters of the Pivot Table

We have now entered a few more data into the source dataset:

more data entered into the worksheet

However, these new values don’t show in the pivot table. Even when the data range includes them.

the new data does not show up in the pivot table

This happens because there is a Filter applied to the Region data of the dataset. We applied this filter initially to remove any blank cells in our pivot table.

a preexisting filter stops the pivot table from showing newly entered data

If a Filter is already applied before new data is entered with a new filter condition, the new condition will be unchecked in the filter by default.

new data is not automatically refreshed in a google sheets pivot table

Checking these options in the Filter will make them appear in the pivot table:

we must update the filter to show the new data

Learn More about Filtering Pivot Tables: How to Filter with Custom Formula in a Pivot Table of Google Sheets

Extra: Working with “Running” Functions like RAND, TODAY, etc.

Google Sheets pivot tables don’t work very well with functions that are recurring or need to be refreshed constantly. The functions are RAND, TODAY, NOW, etc. We also call them “running” functions.

Every time the worksheet is refreshed or updated; these values change.

For this example, we have added a column of random numbers using the RAND function and included its sum in the pivot table.

a new column with random values using the RAND function

With these functions, every time the worksheet is opened or if any changes are made, the values will update.

using F5 to refresh the google sheets pivot table

We are using F5 to refresh the spreadsheet

However, a lot of strain is put on the spreadsheet due to this constant calculation of data.

Final Words

It is crucial for a pivot table to update itself to always show the latest data. While in most cases, the Google Sheets pivot table will refresh automatically, there are times when it might not happen.

These scenarios are mostly due to the pivot table not including the newly updated cells in its range. Or it can also be due to these data not being included in the Filter. Whatever the case, as long as the user is aware, these issues can be easily remedied.

Please feel free to leave any queries or advice you might have in the comments section below.

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Mehrab Imtiaz

Mehrab Imtiaz

Mehrab Imtiaz is a Technical Writer for specializing in everything Google Sheets. Mehrab has always had a profound passion for writing and with his experience with MS Excel and Google Sheets throughout his career, it seems to be a great match when it comes to dishing out tips and tutorials for all to enjoy.

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