I didn’t know there was anything fancy to Excel (barring VBScript hackery) until I heard about pivot tables. It’s clear they’re pretty flexible, and let people do things in Excel that I assumed were impossible without code.
There’s a lot to be said about building tools at every level of technical complexity, so that people can level up their knowledge slowly and just as much as they need. But boy howdy, are pivot tables not something that normal people understand.
I do know that many users of spreadsheet programs want to do some simple tasks that aren’t just formulas and sorts of their data. They want to zip two things together, or see which rows have an employee ID not in the list of people bringing snacks to the company event at the park, or any number of things.
Some things are so complicated that there simply is no tool that can do them without tremendous complication. I think pivot tables allow for sub-aggregations, for example.
But if you want to match up the columns of two different data sets – well, I hope that just got a lot easier.