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Excel Cannot Group Dates in Pivot Table: 3 Quick Fixes to Try.

Aug 25, 2022

The date grouping option in Microsoft Excel is a very strong tool that, if used properly, can save you plenty of time and effort.

It can allow you to analyze data in a large worksheet while also grouping your data into dates, weeks, months, or years.

However, the gate grouping option doesn't always work. Sometimes, you will notice that the Group Field button from the Analyze tab of your pivot table ribbon is greyed out or disabled.

This article will look at why we cannot group dates in a pivot table and how to rectify this issue.

3 Methods to Solve Group Dates Problem in Pivot Table

Option 1: Replace Missing or Distorted Date Values with Group Dates in Pivot Table

Step 1:

The only way to get around this error while you use the Group Field tool for dates is to ensure all the cells from your date columns within the source data contain dates or blank cells.

If any cells within your data field include errors or text, the date grouping feature will not work, and the grouping feature will tell you that you cannot group that selection.

This is often due to issues in the date field your pivot table is using. To rectify these issues, you must insert dates into those cells that currently have no date value.

Step 2:

Next, let's group data together. To do this, we need to create a pivot table. Select the Insert tab, and choose the Pivot Table button from your Insert ribbon. Then, choose the data you want to implement and the location for your pivot table.

Step 3:

Once your pivot table is created, highlight some of the cells you want to group. Right-click on those chosen cells, and a small window will show. Select Group from that window.

Another window will now appear, called Grouping. Here, you can choose how you want to group your data.

Once chosen, select OK.

If this hasn't worked, you will be shown an error message. Double check you have followed all of the steps highlighted above.

Option 2: Filter to Find Out Distorted Date Values

Now let's focus on some ways to understand the error date values in your pivot table. There are three simple ways to gather these dates. The first is to use the filter to gather the date values that contain errors.

Step 1:

Choose every cell from the data range. Select the filter option from the Data tab.

Next, select the small downward arrow located next to Ship Date. You will notice the filter drop-down menu has grouped every date value. All of the text and error date values can be found at the bottom of the list.

Step 2:

You might notice that the column contains dates that have gotten entered in the incorrect format. Because of this, Excel does not deem these dates as dates when they were input in the cell and instead marks them as text.

To filter the Text and ERROR values, you need to uncheck all the date items, or you can remove the tick from the Select All option. After this, choose the text and error items.

Hit OK, and the column will not get filtered to only show the text values and error messages.

Step 3:

From there, it is time to understand why these values are got getting deemed correct and amend them. Once this is complete, you can select the Filter option once more.

The data range will get returned to its initial state, with the correct dates now included.

Option 3: Locate the Error Date Values Via the GoTo Special Menu to Group Dates in Pivot Table

Another option is to use the Go To Special menu, which is an excellent feature that lets you choose cells containing different sorts of data, including blanks, comments, formulas, constants, and more.


Firstly, choose the entire column of the data field. To do this, press the CTRL+SPACE simultaneously.

Head to Find and Select from the Home tab, and choose Go To Special.

Then choose the Constants button, and uncheck the Numbers button before hitting OK.

Any cells containing text or error values will get selected. Now apply a different fill color to highlight those cells, which will help you fix them in the next step.

Pivot Table Grouping: Summary and Key Takeaways

From this article, you now know how to solve the pivot table grouping issue to ensure all the date values in your spreadsheet are accounted for. Working with two pivot tables or more can be extremely tricky, so getting these basics nailed first is important before moving on to more advanced pivot table work.

If you liked this article, check out the other content on the Simple Sheets blog!

Frequently Asked Questions About Pivot Table Grouping

What is an Excel Pivot Table?

A pivot table is the best interactive way to analyze and summarize large quantities of data. Pivot tables are perfect for analyzing numerical data and are ideal for large amounts of data.

Can you create Excel pivot tables in blank cells?

You can place your pivot table on a blank cell, but you will need to link it to data in your spreadsheet, or no data will show in the pivot table.

How do normal pivot tables work?

A pivot table is a perfect tool for showing large quantities of data. Once you have set up your pivot tables based on your data, you can start dragging and dropping sections to show data in a way that suits your needs.

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