How to Refresh Pivot Table in Google Sheets [A Complete Guide]

November 28, 2023 841 views

In the world of spreadsheet dynamics, timely data updates are the backbone of insightful analyses. This preface introduces the crucial skill of refreshing pivot tables in Google Sheets, a fundamental aspect for users of all levels. Join us as we delve into the techniques and best practices, ensuring your data-driven decisions are always based on the latest information. Let's navigate the landscape of spreadsheet analytics with confidence.

Part 1: How to Refresh a Pivot Table in Google Sheets

Refreshing a pivot table in Google Sheets ensures that it reflects the latest changes made to the source data. There are two ways to refresh a pivot table: manually and automatically.

Method 1: Manual Refresh


Step 1: Open the Google Sheets spreadsheet containing the pivot table you want to refresh.

Step 2: Click on the pivot table you want to refresh.

Step 3: Locate the Refresh button in the toolbar above the pivot table. It's usually represented by a circular arrow icon.

Step 4: Click the Refresh button.


Suppose you have a pivot table showing sales data for different regions. If you add a new row to the source data with additional sales figures for a specific region, the pivot table will not reflect this change until you manually refresh it.

Method 2: Keyboard Shortcut

A quicker way to refresh a pivot table is using the keyboard shortcut F5. This shortcut works similarly to clicking the Refresh button.


You can use the F5 shortcut to refresh the pivot table mentioned earlier, ensuring it reflects the newly added sales data.

  1. How to Automatically Refresh a Pivot Table in Google Sheets

Automatically refreshing a pivot table in Google Sheets ensures that it always reflects the latest changes made to the source data. This is particularly useful when you need to keep your pivot table up to date without having to manually refresh it each time.


Step 1: Open the Google Sheets spreadsheet containing the pivot table you want to set for automatic refresh.

Step 2: Click on the pivot table you want to set for automatic refresh.

Step 3: In the Pivot Table Editor, right-click on any cell within the pivot table.

Step 4: Select Pivot Table Options from the context menu.

Step 5: In the Pivot Table Options dialog box, navigate to the Data tab.

Step 6: Under the Refresh data section, select the desired refresh frequency. You can choose to refresh the pivot table every minute, every hour, or manually.

Step 7: Click OK to save the changes.


If you set the refresh frequency to Every minute, the pivot table will automatically update every minute, reflecting any changes made to the source data within that time frame. This ensures that your analysis is always based on the latest information.

By setting your pivot tables to refresh automatically, you can save time and effort while ensuring that your data visualizations are always up to date.

The refresh button might not be working due to several factors, including:

  • Manual refresh settings: The pivot table might be set to refresh manually instead of automatically.

  • Data range issues: The source data range for the pivot table might have been changed or modified.

  • Browser cache issues: The browser's cache might be storing an outdated version of the pivot table.

  • Add-on conflicts: Third-party add-ons related to pivot tables might be conflicting with the default refresh mechanism.

In any of these scenarios, manually refreshing the pivot table is necessary to ensure it reflects the latest data changes.

Part 2: How to Check the Range of Data in Google Sheets

Checking the range of data in Google Sheets is crucial for ensuring that pivot tables and other data analysis tools are working correctly. The range of data defines the specific set of cells that a pivot table should consider when generating its summary statistics and visualizations. If the range is incorrect, the pivot table may not reflect the entire dataset accurately, leading to misleading or incomplete insights.

Here are some specific reasons why you might need to check the range of data in Google Sheets:

  • Ensuring Pivot Table Accuracy: When creating a pivot table, it's essential to verify that the range encompasses the entire dataset you want to analyze. Incorrectly defining the range can exclude relevant data points, resulting in inaccurate summaries and visualizations.

  • Detecting Data Entry Errors: If you've made changes to the source data, checking the range ensures that the pivot table reflects those changes. This helps identify potential data entry errors or inconsistencies that might affect the pivot table's calculations.

  • Validating Data Import: When importing data from external sources, checking the range guarantees that the imported data is properly mapped to the expected range in Google Sheets. This prevents data misalignment and ensures that the pivot table is using the correct dataset.

Solutions to Refresh the Pivot Table

If the pivot table is not reflecting the latest changes made to the source data, there are two methods to refresh it:

  • Manual Refresh: Click the Refresh button located in the toolbar above the pivot table. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut F5.

  • Automatic Refresh: Set the pivot table to refresh automatically by right-clicking within the pivot table, selecting Pivot Table Options, navigating to the Data tab, and choosing the desired refresh frequency (every minute, every hour, or manually).

By regularly checking the range of data and ensuring that the pivot table is refreshed appropriately, you can maintain the accuracy and integrity of your data analysis in Google Sheets.

Part 3: How to Check Filters in Google Sheets

Filters are essential tools for narrowing down data and focusing on specific subsets of information in Google Sheets. They allow you to temporarily hide or exclude certain rows or columns based on specified criteria, enabling you to analyze and visualize specific aspects of your data more effectively.

There are two primary methods for checking if filters are applied within a Google Sheet:

Filter Icons:

  1. Observe the filter icons atop each column.

  2. A blue filter icon indicates an active filter.

  3. Click the filter icon to access filter details and modify settings.

Data > Filter Menu:

  1. Select 'Filter' from the 'Data' menu.

The Filter Manager will display all applied filters and their settings.

For specific cell ranges, select the range and apply either method. To check filters for the entire spreadsheet, navigate to 'Data' > 'Filter Views'.

There are several reasons why users may need to check filters in Google Sheets:

  • Identifying specific data quickly

  • Analyzing trends and patterns

  • Creating custom views

  • Troubleshooting errors

  • Preparing reports

  • Improving data visualization

  • Complying with data privacy regulations

  • Simplifying data analysis for non-technical users

  • Enhancing collaboration

Refreshing a pivot table ensures that it reflects the latest changes made to the source data, including any changes to filters. There are two primary methods for refreshing a pivot table:

  1. Manual Refresh

  2. Automatic Refresh

By regularly checking filters and refreshing pivot tables, you can maintain the accuracy and integrity of your data analysis in Google Sheets, ensuring that your insights are based on the most up-to-date and relevant information.


Google Sheets is a free, cloud-based, and easy-to-use spreadsheet application. It is a great option for individuals, students, and small businesses who need a basic spreadsheet tool. However, it may lack certain advanced features and may experience performance issues with large datasets.


  • Free and accessible

  • Cloud-based for easy collaboration

  • User-friendly and easy to use.

  • Wide range of features

  • Integrates with other Google products.


  • May lack advanced features.

  • May experience performance issues with large datasets

  • Requires an internet connection.

Overall, Google Sheets is a good choice for basic spreadsheet tasks. However, for users who need more advanced features or the ability to work offline, Microsoft Excel may be a better choice.

Part 4. Best Free Alternative to Google Sheets -  WPS Spreadsheet

WPS Office is a modernized powerful office tool that offers a suite of apps for mobile devices, Windows PCs, macOS, and Linux. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation maker, and PDF reader. WPS Office is compatible with Microsoft Office files, so you can easily open and edit your existing documents. WPS Office also has a number of unique features, including:

  • WPS AI: A built-in AI assistant that can help you with tasks such as writing, translating, and summarizing documents.

  • Templates: A large library of free templates for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.

  • WPS 365: A cloud-based version of WPS Office that allows you to access your documents from anywhere.

WPS Office is a great alternative to Microsoft Office, and it is available for free. You can download WPS Office from the official website:

Pros of WPS Office Compared to Google Sheets

  • Compatibility with Microsoft Office formats: WPS Office seamlessly supports Microsoft Office file formats, ensuring compatibility with existing documents and spreadsheets.

  • Offline functionality: WPS Office allows users to work on documents and spreadsheets even without an internet connection, providing flexibility and convenience.

  • Advanced features: WPS Office offers a suite of advanced features, such as mail merge, pivot tables, and macros, catering to the needs of power users.

WPS Office is particularly well-suited for individuals and businesses seeking a feature-rich office suite that combines modern design with powerful functionalities. Its multi-platform compatibility and collaborative tools make it an excellent choice for diverse user needs.

Having personally used WPS Office, I can attest to its ease of use and comprehensive feature set. The ability to work seamlessly with Microsoft Office formats and the availability of offline functionality have been particularly beneficial. Overall, WPS Office emerges as a compelling alternative to Google Sheets, particularly for users who value compatibility, offline capabilities, and advanced features.


Can I refresh a pivot table on the phone?

Refreshing a pivot table in Google Sheets, including on mobile, may be limited. Typically, complex tasks like this are better suited for the desktop version of Google Sheets on a computer. To refresh a pivot table, use the desktop version and click on the cell within the pivot table, then look for the "Refresh" or "Update" option in the "Data" or "Pivot table" menu.

How do I create a pivot table in Google Sheets?

  • Open Google Sheets:

  • Access your Google Sheets document.

  • Select Data Range:

  • Highlight the data you want to include, ensuring there are headers.

  • Insert Pivot Table:

  • Click "Data" and select "Pivot table."

  • Configure Pivot Table:

  • Drag fields to Rows, Columns, and Values areas in the Pivot Table Editor.

  • Customize:

  • Experiment with configurations and customize as needed.

  • Refresh Data (if needed):

  • Click on the table, go to "Data," and select "Refresh."

  • Explore Options:

  • Use options for sorting, filtering, and formatting.

  • Done:

  • Your pivot table is ready for analysis!

Can I refresh a pivot table using keyboard shortcuts?

Yes, you can use keyboard shortcuts to refresh a pivot table. After clicking on the pivot table, press "Alt + Shift + F" on Windows or "Option + Command + F" on Mac to refresh the data.

What happens if I delete data from my source range? Will the pivot table automatically adjust?

If you delete data from the source range, the pivot table will not automatically adjust. You need to manually refresh the pivot table to reflect the changes in the data range.


This comprehensive guide illuminates the vital process of refreshing Pivot Tables in Google Sheets, catering to users of all levels. It delineates both manual and automatic refresh methods, providing step-by-step instructions alongside troubleshooting tips for common issues. Emphasizing the significance of precise data analysis, the guide explores the role of checking filters in Google Sheets and elucidates the best free alternative, WPS Spreadsheet, with its advanced features. The accompanying FAQs address user queries, offering a one-stop resource for mastering the art of keeping data up-to-date and making informed decisions with confidence.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.