Finding a Pivot Chart’s Pivot Table

Finding a Pivot Chart’s Pivot Table

I don’t work with pivot charts very much, but recently I got the job of modifying a dashboard that uses a mess of them. As part of the modification, I’m deleting some of the charts, which is leaving behind unneeded pivot tables – pivot tables with unhelpful names like “PivotTable17.” In order to work with all this I wrote a quick routine for finding a pivot chart’s pivot table.

Until today I was under the impression you could create a pivot chart without having a pivot table. I thought they were just a different kind of representation of what’s in a pivot cache and that, as is true with pivot tables, you could have several feeding directly off one pivot cache. That’s not true. Every pivot chart requires a separate pivot table.

This meant that when I started deleting some pivot charts from the workbook I wanted to reduce the workbook clutter by also deleting their pivot tables. The trick was to find them. At first I tried clicking the ribbon’s “Change Data Source” button, but that points at the data the pivot table/chart combo is based on, not at the pivot table the chart is based on. I found I could see the pivot table name and the sheet it’s on in the pivot chart’s “Select Data” dialog. But then I was still stuck trying to figure out which pivot was which. What a perfect excuse to write some VBA and poke into some previously unexplored object model crannies!

The code below cycles through each pivot chart in a workbook, selects its pivot table and displays a msgbox with info about the pivot table. (In actual practice I collected all the pivot table data and used that to delete any pivot tables that weren’t in the collection. No hand-deleting if I can help it!)

The Code

Sub GetPivotChartSources()
Dim ws As Excel.Worksheet
Dim chtObject As Excel.ChartObject
Dim cht As Excel.Chart
Dim pvt As Excel.PivotTable

For Each ws In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
    For Each chtObject In ws.ChartObjects
        Set cht = chtObject.Chart
        If Not cht.PivotLayout Is Nothing Then
            Set pvt = cht.PivotLayout.PivotTable
            'activate the sheet the pivot is on
            pvt.Parent.Activate
            pvt.TableRange2.Cells(1).Select
            MsgBox pvt.Name & " is on " & pvt.Parent.Name & " using data from " & pvt.SourceData
        End If
    Next chtObject
Next ws
End Sub

ChartObjects, PivotLayouts and More

The code above cycles through each ChartObject, which is the container for a chart embedded in a worksheet, as opposed to being its own tab. What we’re really interested in is the ChartObject’s chart object (ha!) so I set a variable to that. Then the key is that pivot charts have a PivotLayout* object, which in turn contains the pivot table object. Once you’ve got that you can access all the usual pivot table properties like Name, SourceData and TableRange2, which is the range containing the entire pivot table including the page filters.

After getting rid of the unneeded pivot tables I went back and ran very similar code to rename them to something more meaningful. First I renamed the charts from “Chart 17”, etc., to something like “chtRegionalRetentionRate” and then substituted this line into the heart of the code above:

pvt.Name = Replace(chtObject.Name, "cht", "pvt")

When I looked around the web for code to do this kind of stuff I didn’t find anything, and had to discover the crucial PivotLayout object on my own. So, as we used to say in the newsgroups, “hth”.

MSDN Errata?
* It seems to me that this MSDN PivotLayout page is wrong, and that it treats the PivotLayout object like the PivotLayout.PivotTable object.

4 thoughts on “Finding a Pivot Chart’s Pivot Table

  1. Handy stuff, Doug. I’ve got some code in development that helps you tie all sorts of things in the Pivot world together, and serves up the result as – wait for it – a PivotTable. Having the result as a PivotTable is handy because there isn’t a one-to-one relationship for many of these things, and you might only be interested in seeing a specific view. PivotTables are perfect for serving up info on PivotTables, and you can easily see which Pivots are on which cache, which slicers are connected to which fields, and so on. Can’t recall right now if I’d got around to adding info about PivotCharts, but this will prompt me to take a look.

  2. Nice code Doug! And maybe you were remembering that in Excel 2013 you can create a Pivot Chart directly from the source data, before creating a pivot table. We were able to build both at the same time way back in 2003, but it was dropped in 2007.
    Also, you’re right about that MSDN page — that’s a really bad example. I just posted my version of code to list all pivot fields for all pivot charts in a workbook.
    http://www.contextures.com/excelpivotchartvba.html

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