Excel Power Pivot - Hierarchies

A hierarchy in Data Model is a list of nested columns in a data table that are considered as a single item when used in a Power PivotTable. For example, if you have the columns − Country, State, City in a data table, a hierarchy can be defined to combine the three columns into one field.

In the Power PivotTable Fields list, the hierarchy appears as one field. So, you can add just one field to the PivotTable, instead of the three fields in the hierarchy. Further, it enables you to move up or down the nested levels in a meaningful way.

Consider the following Data Model for illustrations in this chapter.


Creating a Hierarchy

You can create Hierarchies in the diagram view of the Data Model. Note that you can create a hierarchy based on a single data table only.

  • Click on the columns − Sport, DisciplineID and Event in the data table Medal in that order. Remember that the order is important to create a meaningful hierarchy.

  • Right-click on the selection.

  • Select Create Hierarchy from the dropdown list.

Create Hierarchies

The hierarchy field with the three selected fields as the child levels gets created.

Hierarchy Field

Renaming a Hierarchy

To rename the hierarchy field, do the following −

  • Right click on Hierarchy1.

  • Select Rename from the dropdown list.

Renaming Hierarchy

Type EventHierarchy.

Event Hierarchy

Creating a PivotTable with a Hierarchy in Data Model

You can create a Power PivotTable using the hierarchy that you created in the Data Model.

  • Click the PivotTable tab on the Ribbon in the Power Pivot window.

  • Click PivotTable on the Ribbon.

Hierarchy in Data Model

The Create PivotTable dialog box appears. Select New Worksheet and click OK.

Select New Worksheet and Click Ok

An empty PivotTable is created in a new worksheet.

PivotTable Empty

In the PivotTable Fields list, EventHierarchy appears as a field in Medals table. The other fields in the Medals table are collapsed and shown as More Fields.

  • Click on the arrow Arrow in front of EventHierarchy.

  • Click on the arrow Arrow in front of More Fields.

The fields under EventHierarchy will be displayed. All the fields in the Medals table will be displayed under More Fields.

Under EventHierarchy

As you can observe, the three fields that you added to the hierarchy also appear under More Fields with check boxes. If you do not want them to appear in the PivotTable Fields list under More Fields, you have to hide the columns in the data table – Medals in data view in Power Pivot Window. You can always unhide them whenever you want.

Add fields to the PivotTable as follows −

  • Drag EventHierarchy to ROWS area.

  • Drag Medal to ∑ VALUES area.

Drag EventHierarchy

The values of Sport field appear in the PivotTable with a + sign in front of them. The medal count for each sport is displayed.

  • Click on the + sign before Aquatics. The DisciplineID field values under Aquatics will be displayed.

  • Click on the child D22 that appears. The Event field values under D22 will be displayed.


As you can observe, medal count is given for the Events, that get summed up at the parent level − DisciplineID, that get further summed up at the parent level − Sport.

Creating a Hierarchy based on Multiple Tables

Suppose you want to display the Disciplines in the PivotTable rather than DisciplineIDs to make it a more readable and understandable summarization. In order to do this, you need to have the field Discipline in Medals table that as you know is not. Discipline field is in Disciplines data table, but you cannot create a hierarchy with fields from more than one table. But, there is a way to obtain the required field from the other table.

As you are aware, the tables − Medals and Disciplines are related. You can add the field Discipline from Disciplines table to the Medals table, by creating a column using the relationship with DAX.

  • Click data view in Power Pivot window.

  • Click the Design tab on the Ribbon.

  • Click Add.

The column − Add Column on the right side of the table is highlighted.

Type = RELATED (Disciplines [Discipline]) in the formula bar. A new column − CalculatedColumn1 is created with the values as Discipline field values in the Disciplines table.

Discipline Field

Rename the new column thus obtained in the Medals table as Discipline. Next, you have to remove DisciplineID from the Hierarchy and add Discipline, which you will learn in the following sections.

Removing a Child Level from a Hierarchy

As you can observe, the hierarchy is visible in the diagram view only, and not in the data view. Hence, you can edit a hierarchy in the diagram view only.

  • Click on the diagram view in the Power Pivot window.

  • Right click DisciplineID in EventHierarchy.

  • Select Remove from Hierarchy from the dropdown list.

Remove from Hierarchy

The Confirm dialog box appears. Click Remove from Hierarchy.

Confirm dialog box

The field DisciplineID gets deleted from the hierarchy. Remember that you have removed the field from hierarchy, but the source field still exists in the data table.

Next, you need to add Discipline field to EventHierarchy.

Adding a Child Level to a Hierarchy

You can add the field Discipline to the existing hierarchy - EventHierarchy as follows −

  • Click on the field in Medals table.

  • Drag it to the Events field below in the EventHierarchy.

Adding Child Level

The Discipline field gets added to EventHierarchy.

Field Added

As you can observe, the order of the fields in EventHierarchy is Sport–Event–Discipline. But, as you are aware it has to be Sport–Discipline-Event. Hence, you need to change the order of the fields.

Changing the Order of a Child Level in a Hierarchy

To move the field Discipline to the position after the field Sport, do the following −

  • Right click on the field Discipline in EventHierarchy.

  • Select Move Up from the dropdown list.

Order of Child Level

The order of the fields changes to Sport-Discipline-Event.

Fields Order

PivotTable with Changes in Hierarchy

To view the changes that you made in EventHierarchy in the PivotTable, you need not create a new PivotTable. You can view them in the existing PivotTable itself.

Click on the worksheet with the PivotTable in Excel window.

Click on Worksheet

As you can observe, in the PivotTable Fields list, the child levels in the EventHierarchy reflect the changes you made in the Hierarchy in Data Model. The same changes also get reflected in the PivotTable accordingly.

Click the + sign in front of Aquatics in the PivotTable. The child levels appear as values of the field Discipline.

Fields List

Hiding and Showing Hierarchies

You can choose to hide the Hierarchies and show them whenever you want.

  • Uncheck the box Hierarchies in the top menu of diagram view to hide the hierarchies.

  • Check the box Hierarchies to show the hierarchies.

Hiding and Showing Hierarchy

Creating a Hierarchy in Other Ways

In addition to the way you created hierarchy in the previous sections, you can create a hierarchy in another two ways.

1. Click the Create Hierarchy button on the top right corner of the Medals data table in diagram view.

Create Hierarchy

A new hierarchy gets created in the table without any fields in it.

New Hierarchy in Table

Drag the fields Year and Season, in that order to the new hierarchy. The hierarchy shows the child levels.

Fields Year

2. Another way of creating the same hierarchy is as follows −

  • Right click on the field Year in the Medals data table in diagram view.

  • Select Create Hierarchy from the dropdown list.

Same Hierarchy

A new hierarchy is created in table with Year as a child field.

Child Field

Drag the field season to the hierarchy. The hierarchy shows the child levels.

Field Season

Deleting a Hierarchy

You can delete a hierarchy from the Data Model as follows −

  • Right click on the hierarchy.

  • Select Delete from the dropdown list.

Deleting Hierarchy

The Confirm dialog box appears. Click Delete from Model.

Delete From Model

The hierarchy gets deleted.

Hierarchy Deleted

Calculations Using Hierarchy

You can create calculations using a hierarchy. In the EventsHierarchy, you can display the number of medals at a child level as a percentage of the number of medals at its parent level as follows −

  • Right click on a Count of Medal value of an Event.

  • Select Value Field Settings from the dropdown list.

Calculations Using Hierarchy

Value Field Settings dialog box appears.

  • Click the Show Values As tab.

  • Select % of Parent Row Total from the list and click OK.

Field Settings

The child levels are displayed as the percentage of the Parent Totals. You can verify this by summing up the percentage values of the child level of a parent. The sum would be 100%.

Parent Totals

Drilling Up and Drilling Down a Hierarchy

You can quickly drill up and drill down across the levels in a hierarchy using Quick Explore tool.

  • Click on a value of Event field in the PivotTable.

  • Click the Quick Explore tool - Explore Tool that appears at the bottom right corner of the cell containing the selected value.

Drilling Up

The Explore box with Drill Up option appears. This is because from Event you can only drill up as there are no child levels under it.

Click Drill Up.

Click Drill Up

PivotTable data is drilled up to Discipline.

Drilled Up

Click on the Quick Explore tool - Explore Tool that appears at the bottom right corner of the cell containing a value.

Explore box appears with Drill Up and Drill Down options displayed. This is because from Discipline you can drill up to Sport or drill down to Event.

Explore Box

This way you can quickly move up and down the hierarchy.