Use smart categories in Numbers

Organize your data in a new way with smart categories. For example, if you track business sales in a spreadsheet, create a category that groups sales by department. You can also add subcategories, summarize categorized data, create charts based on the categories in your table, and more.

To use smart categories, get the latest version on your iPad, iPhone, or Mac. You can also use smart categories with Numbers online at iCloud.com.

Create a category

A table can have one main category and up to four subcategories. You can create categories based on the data in the table or by selecting rows.

Create a category with existing data

If your table contains the data that you want to use to organize your table, you can create a category based on the column that contains that data.

  1. Tap or click the table you want to categorize, tap or click Organize button, then click or tap Categories.
  2. Tap or click the Add a Category pop-up menu.
  3. Choose a column from the list. For example, if your table has store sales data, you might choose the Department column to categorize sales data by department. Numbers automatically creates groups of rows based on shared values in the selected column.
  4. Click or tap Disclosure trianglenext to a group name to collapse or expand the rows in that group.

Spreadsheet showing categorized data

Create a category from selected rows

If your table doesn’t contain the data that you want to categorize, you can manually create a category on iPad, iPhone, and Mac. Use this method when you have a simple list of names that you want to separate into groups.

  1. Select the rows that you want to group together.
  2. On iPad or iPhone, tap Row Actions in the pop-up menu, then tap Create Group. On Mac, choose Organize > Create Group for Selected Rows. Numbers moves the selected rows into a new group, and the remaining rows in the table are moved into another group. 
  3. To rename the new group, select the cell with the name. 
    • On iPad or iPhone double-tap the cell to open the keyboard, type a new name, then tap Return. 
    • On Mac, type a new name. 

Add a subcategory

You can add up to four subcategories to a table. For example, if your table of sales is currently categorized by department, you could add a subcategory that organizes data by sales date.

  1. Select the table, click or tap Organize button, then click or tap Categories.
  2. Click or tap Add a Category, then choose a column for the new subcategory you want to create. You can reorganize categories and subcategories in a table after you've added them.

Spreadsheet showing category and subcategory


Edit categories

Once you've created categories, you can change category hierarchies, change how Numbers groups rows by date, and more.

Change category hierarchies

You can change the hierarchy of categories at any time to reveal new insights into your data. For example, if your table shows sales by department per month, you can change the hierarchy of the categories to see each month's sales for every department.

On iPad, iPhone, or Mac, you can change the hierarchy in the Organize inspector:

  1. Select the table, click or tap Organize button, then click or tap Categories.
  2. On iPad or iPhone, tap Edit. On Mac, go to the next step.
  3. Drag  Promote or demote button  next to a category up or down. The rows in the table move to reflect the new hierarchy.

On iPad, iPhone, Mac, or on iCloud.com, you can change the hierarchy in the table itself:

  1. Select a row with a group name that's in the category you want to move up or down in the hierarchy.
  2. On iPad or iPhone, tap Row Actions.
    On Mac or online at iCloud.com, move the pointer over the row border (to the left of the first column in the row), then click the arrow that appears.
  3. Choose Promote to move the category up in the hierarchy, or Demote to move it down.

Change how Numbers groups rows by date

You can change how Numbers groups rows by date. For example, in a table with a date category, the rows might be grouped by month. To see yearly or quarterly trends instead, you can choose to group the data by year, quarter, week, and more.

  1. Select the table.
  2. Click or tap Organize button.
  3. For the category you want to adjust, click or tap the pop-up menu next to By, then choose an option.


Summarize your data

You can summarize the data in categories in your table. For example, if your table with sales data is categorized by department, you could calculate subtotals for the sales in each department. 

  1. Click or tap a cell in the row with the group name.
  2. On iPad or iPhone, tap Summary button Summary. On Mac or in Numbers for iCloud, click Summary Action button.
  3. Choose a calculation. The same calculation is automatically added to all of the groups in that category. You can show different summaries for each category in each column.

iPad with a Numbers spreadsheet showing a count function added to a summary row in a categorized table.


View your category as a chart

You can create a chart based on the category you've created for your table. For example, if your table with sales data is categorized by department, and you added a summary that calculates subtotals for the sales in each department, you can quickly create a chart of that summary data. Select the cell with the summary data you want in the chart, click or tap Chart, then choose a chart.*

Spreadsheet showing category summary as a donut chart

* When you create a chart, make sure the summary data is in a body column, not a header column.

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