Hide Calculated Items With Zero Totals In PowerPivot PivotTables

The method for hiding items with zero totals in a PivotTable is different if you're working with a regular PivotTable or a PowerPivot PivotTable. This article focusses on how to accomplish this goal in the PowerPivot version. (If you're working with a regular and you want to hide calculated items that have zero balances, you'll want to check out Debra Dalgleish's blog post on the subject.)

To start, assume that we’ve got a fairly simple PowerPivot pivot table that looks like this:

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Actual, Budget and Variance are all calculated fields (measures) which are made up as follows:

[Actual]: =-SUM(tblTransactions[Amount])
[Budget]: =-SUM(tblBudget[Amount])
[Variance]: =[Actual]-[Budget]

Notice that we’ve got some blank cells in the Actual column, a bunch of zeros in the Budget column and a bunch of zeros in the Variance column. This would indicate that:

  • There were no transactions at all for the blank cells in the Actual column,
  • There was a budget amount of $0 held in the Budget table, and
  • The Variance column of BLANK – 0 = 0.

So at this point, we’re tempted to try the trick that Debra blogged about to hide those zeros. But if we right click “Green Fees – 18 Junior Wk-Day”, select Filter --> Value Filters, we get the following:

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This isn’t good, as we're being forced to choose one of our measures. We can’t choose Budget, as there are amounts where budget is 0 but there were revenues. We also can’t choose Variance, as it’s possible that Actual and Budget could match even if they weren’t 0. And we certainly can’t choose Actual either. So now what?

The secret to this is that PowerPivot automatically suppresses lines that are blank. So we need to modify our measures a bit:

[Actual]: =IF(SUM(tblTransactions[Amount])=0,BLANK(),-SUM(tblTransactions[Amount]))
[Budget]: =IF(SUM(tblBudget[Amount])=0,BLANK(),-SUM(tblBudget[Amount]))

As you can see, we use an IF function to test if the value of the line item is 0. If so, then we put in a BLANK, and if not we return the result.

The resulting PivotTable now suppresses any lines where the Actual column was blank (or 0). In addition, all 0’s in the Budget table are converted to blanks as well. And the end result is that those rows are filtered out of our table, as you can see below:

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And that’s all good, but now we have blank cells in our PivotTable. I personally can’t stand that, as it always looks unfinished to me. No worry though, as we can just flip the PivotTable options to show blank cells as 0.

Right click the PivotTable, choose Options, make sure “For empty cells show:” is checked, and enter 0. Click OK and you’re done!

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