How To Refresh a Pivot Table In Google Sheets (3 Fixes)

Pivot tables are one of the best tools in Google Sheets for showing data in a more organized and easily digestible way. It’s perfect for reporting and data analysis and for presenting info in meetings. However, while pivot tables are expected to refresh their data on their own, a few things may prevent this from happening.

Normally, you won’t have to refresh your pivot sheets on your end since the tool does this for you automatically. But if you’re wondering how to refresh a pivot table in Google Sheets manually, the quickest way is to just hit the refresh button on your web browser and wait for your spreadsheet to reload. This should refresh not only the spreadsheet but your pivot table as well.

But there are a few situations that require a bit more than a simple refresh to update your pivot table information. Just follow the instructions outlined in this guide depending on which scenario you are facing, and your pivot table should be back to being accurate in no time.

What Causes Pivot Tables Not To Refresh?

Under normal circumstances, after you create a pivot table in Google Sheets, they refresh automatically in order to display updated data. There are a few scenarios, however, where your pivot table doesn’t refresh despite changes being made to the data it’s pulling from. These scenarios include the following:

  • There may be filters in your pivot table preventing it from refreshing properly.
  • The source data the pivot table is pulling from may require recalculations due to specific functions.
  • There may be new data being added that’s beyond the range of the pivot table.

How To Refresh a Pivot Table In Google Sheets

As mentioned previously, Google Sheets refreshes pivot tables automatically to limit the work that has to be done on the user’s end. But if you’d like to refresh the table manually for whatever reason, it’s a very straightforward process. Pretty much all you have to do to refresh a pivot table in Google Sheets is open a tab with your spreadsheet and hit the refresh button as described below:

  1. First, open a web browser instance with a tab showing the Google spreadsheet that has your pivot table in it.
  2. Next, make any changes to your dataset or pivot table, such as adding filters, etc.
  3. Hit the Refresh button near the top part of your browser window and wait for the tab to reload. Your Google Sheets pivot table should refresh along with the entire spreadsheet.
Refresh button

Alternatively, you can hit the F5 button, which serves as a shortcut for refreshing your web browser tab.

While the quickest way to refresh a pivot table is by simply hitting the refresh button, the scenarios mentioned in the previous section require different methods to refresh your Google Sheets pivot table. We’ll go through each of them in detail so your pivot table can get back to accurately showing data.

Scenario 1: Pivot Table Is Not Refreshing With Data From New Rows

While using pivot tables, one of the common issues users run into is when data from new rows in the dataset are not showing up in the table. Therefore, when you create a pivot table in Google Sheets, you need to specify the range of data that the table will be pulling from.

If data from new rows is not appearing in the pivot table, then it’s highly likely that those rows are not included in the table’s range. To rectify this, you can simply edit the dataset that the pivot table is pulling from and include the new rows you want to show in the table.

Pivot table editor

Furthermore, to avoid these kinds of situations in the future, you can include some blank rows in your pivot table range if you’re expecting to add more data. Let’s say your pivot data is currently only using four rows, but you know that there’ll be more in the future. Simply select an additional ten, twenty, or even a hundred extra empty rows when deciding on the data range of your pivot table.

That way, even if more data is added to your dataset, it will refresh properly on the table on its own, without you having to manually add rows each time you want to add new info.

The downside to this solution is that empty rows will also appear in your pivot table, which can be unsightly. Fortunately, this can easily be remedied by filtering the table to hide blank rows and only show those that hold a value.

Scenario 2: Filters Are Preventing Your Pivot Table From Refreshing Properly

When using pivot tables with filters, this will sometimes cause the data shown in the table to remain unrefreshed when the info in your dataset is amended. It is one of the more glaring faults of the pivot table tool that, unfortunately, cannot be circumvented. You’re only course of action in these cases is to do away with the filters first, then edit the data in the dataset before putting the filters back up.

Here are the steps on how to do just that:

  1. To get started, hover over your pivot table and click the Edit button to bring up the Pivot Table Editor panel from the right side of the window.

 

Edit your pivot table
  1. Turn your attention to the Filters section of the editor and click the “x” button on the top-right corner of each of the filters that have been added. Keep in mind that this will delete those filters, so you might want to make a note of them before proceeding so you won’t have a hard time recalling the filters that were added in the first place.
    Remove a filter
  2. After that, go back to your dataset and make any changes you would like.
  3. Once you’re done amending the dataset, head back to the Pivot Table Editor and click the Add button under Filters to recreate all the filters that were removed in step 2.
    Add a filter

Scenario 3: Certain Functions In Your Dataset May Be Barring Your Pivot Table From Refreshing

If your dataset includes formulas with functions that inherently require refreshing, this will almost certainly cause issues for your pivot table. These functions include RAND, which generates a random number within a defined range, and TODAY, which inputs the value of the current date into a cell.

Given how the values of these types of functions fluctuate by nature in your dataset, the limitation of pivot tables is that they aren’t capable of reflecting these changes. The disappointing news here is that there currently is no solution for accurately reflecting these kinds of functions in a pivot table. Your best bet in these types of situations is to avoid such functions and seek alternative methods to achieve your desired results.

Wrapping it Up

You now know how to refresh a pivot table in Google Sheets. We hope this guide was helpful! If you have any questions for us, feel free to leave us a comment below.

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Emma Collins

Emma Collins

Emma Collins is a tech writer for Spreadsheet Point. She's been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Data Recovery, Cybersecurity, Gaming, and more as a tech writer for over 6 years. You can find her work on many established tech websites, including Productivity Spot, Hackr.io, MakeUseOf, Help Desk Geek, Online Tech Tips, HandyRecovery, Cleverfiles, and more.