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TM Retro Slicer

Purpose of TM Retro Slicer

Install the add-in

Use TM Retro Slicer

The TM Retro Slicer dialog box

Work with a slicer

Register TM Retro Slicer

Things to be aware of



Purpose of TM Retro Slicer

With Excel 2010, Microsoft introduced something it calls a slicer.  This is an independent object that acts as a filter for a PivotTable (and its associated PivotChart, if any).  TM Retro Slicer enables some of the features of a slicer in older versions of Excel particularly Excel 2007 and Excel 2003.  For example, Figure 1 shows a PivotTable shows the number of scans done only for specific technologists  (those whose names appear in a blue background in the slicer).

Figure 1

A PivotTable can have multiple slicers filtering data in it.  Also, the slicer object is customizable in terms of the number of columns used to show the item values.  For example, Figure 2 shows the PivotTable filtered to show data for all technologists other than Cassandra and to show data only for CT and Pet scans.

Figure 2

While Excel supports filters for pivot fields, the UI is less that friendly.  The Slicer UI, on the other hand, is very easy to understand and use.

One feature that Excel does not support natively is filtering data on fields not present in the PT.  The 2010 slicer enables this capability.  With TM Retro Slicer one can also add a slicer for an element not present in the PivotTable.  However, to make the slicer work correctly, the add-in will add this element as a page field in the PT.

Figure 3 -- An Excel 2003 PivotTable before adding slicers for fields not already present in the PT

Figure 4 -- After adding slicers for fields not already present in the PivotTable;
the add-in adds these fields as page fields



Install the add-in

Note that the self-installer version also installs an uninstall capability.  To uninstall select Windows Taskbar | Start | Control Panel Add or Remove Programs... | scroll down to the TM Retro Slicer entry.

If you chose to download the zip version, unzip the add-in file to a directory of your choice.

For installation instructions see common installation instructions.  In Excel 2003 load the TM Retro Slicer add-in.  In Excel 2007 or later, load the TM Retro Slicer (Ribbon UI) add-in.



Use TM Retro Slicer

In Excel 2007 or later, select TM tab | Pivot group | Create Slicer button.  This will bring up the TM Retro Slicer dialog box.  Another way to get to the dialog box is to click inside an existing PivotTable, then select PivotTable Tools context menu | TM tab | Pivot group | Create Slicer button.

Figure 5

In Excel 2003 or earlier, select TM | Slicers Create...  or click inside a PivotTable then select PivotTable toolbar | TM dropdown | Slicers Create... 

Figure 6

This will bring up the TM Retro Slicer dialog box (Figure 7). 

The TM Retro Slicer dialog box

To create a slicer select a workbook, a worksheet in it, a PivotTable in that worksheet, and a field in that PivotTable.  To the extent possible, the add-in will pre-select the choices in the various dropdowns.  So, if the current selection is a range within an existing PivotTable, the first three dropdowns will have selections already made.  Of course, those choices can be changed as required.

Figure 7

Select a field from the Slicer Field dropdown to enable the slicer for that PivotTable field.  Note there is no 'OK' button.  Simply select an item from the Slicer Field dropdown to create the corresponding slicer.

Figure 8


Work with a slicer

A slicer is essentially an easy-to-use filter associated with a field in the PivotTable.  The slicer UI has one button for every value in the field.  If the value has a blue background it is included in the PT.  If it has a white background, it is filtered out.

For example in Figure 9, the Modality slicer shows items for all values of Modality.  By contrast, Figure 10 shows only the CT and MRI values.

Figure 9


Figure 10

There are several buttons in the slicer that make it easy to interact with it.  Figure 11 shows the locations of the various buttons.  Click on any of the blue rectangle around the buttons to learn more about their respective functions. 

Figure 11 -- Hover over, or click, any blue rectangle for more on that button

Clear all filters for this slicer: Click this button to quickly clear all the filtered values for this slicer.  The PivotTable will show all values for the slicer field.



Increase number of columns shown: Click on the up-arrow to have the add-in use more columns to show field values.

A slicer with a single column:

Click the up-arrow to see one more column

Each click on the up-arrow adds yet another column

Figure 12



Decrease number of columns shown: Click on the down-arrow to use one less column to show the field values.



Hide / show slicer and add-in status: To make more real-estate available to the consumer, use the - button to temporarily hide the the information about the slicer and the add-in.



Resize the slicer: Drag to increase or decrease the slicer object size.  If not all items in a column are visible, use the scroll bar to move up or down.



Future development : This button is reserved for future development



Register the add-in

The add-in comes with a trial period.  To continue using the add-in after this trial period, please register it from the add-in's web page.  Once you get the registration key, use the Register... button to add the key to the add-in.




Things to be aware of

  1. A slicer works with a single pivot table.
  2. A slicer works with a pivot table on the same worksheet as the slicer.
  3. If the add-in adds a page field to support a new slicer, the page field remains when the slicer is closed.
  4. There are numerous ways of organizing and formatting a pivot table.  The add-in has been tested with several different layouts.  However, if you use a layout that the add-in has difficulty working with, please contact the author to see if the add-in can be enhanced for your specific case.
  5. This applies only to Excel 2003: Because of the way Excel 2003 treats a pivot table page field, the add-in must temporarily change the slicer field to a row field.  This means there must be space to the right of the pivot table to accommodate this additional row field.  Also, in some instances, there must be empty rows below the PivotTable to accommodate total rows.  If the column to the right of the pivot table (or in some cases the row below the pivot table) already has data, the slicer will work only if you let Excel delete the data (or you create additional space by hand).