# Orientation for spreadsheet users

Sigma presents a spreadsheet-like interface for your data, however Sigma is much more powerful than a spreadsheet. If you are a spreadsheet user, here are some tips for transitioning to Sigma.

## Contents

Direct access to your cloud data warehouse

Aggregate functions in groupings

## Direct access to your cloud data warehouse

Unlike traditional spreadsheets that are standalone and unconnected to shared data stores, Sigma directly connects to the business data in your organization’s cloud data warehouse. Sigma pushes calculations, filters, sorts, and more to the data warehouse for execution, instead of on your local device.

For more information about the benefits of direct access to cloud data, see From Spreadsheets to Sigma: 5 Things to Know.

## Columns, not cells

In traditional spreadsheets, you work in cells, by contrast, in a Sigma table, you work in columns. All commands are applied to an entire column, using other columns as inputs. Calculations made in each column are applied to every row. Every cell in a column is defined by the same formula.

To create a worksheet calculation in a table, you create a new column and enter the formula into the formula bar. For more information see Create and manage tables.

## Groupings in tables

Groupings in Sigma tables let you analyze rows of data based on shared values within a single column. Any column in a table can be used to define a grouping. When used to define a grouping, the column's individual rows merge into single cells based on their distinct values. Subsequently, the rows of data to the right of the group column in the table are bundled into groups based on each unique value in the key column. You can then calculate group aggregates based on the cell values within each row in the group. For more information see Create a grouping.

Table groupings are an alternative to a spreadsheet pivot table. However, Sigma also provides pivot tables. For more information see Working with pivot tables.

## Aggregate functions in groupings

Aggregate functions are special functions that summarize all the rows that make up a group. For example, you can sum all of the values of a column, or count all of the values for each grouping of a column. As such, aggregates always refer to columns that make up a grouping, meaning that the same aggregate will provide different results based on what grouping it is associated with. For more information see Aggregate functions overview.

## Formulas and functions

To create a calculation in Sigma, create a column and enter the formula into the formula bar, just like a traditional spreadsheet. The formula is then applied to every row of data in that column and can be edited at any time.

For more information see Functions index and Top 10 Sigma Functions vs Excel.

## Related resources

- From Spreadsheets to Sigma: 5 Things to Know (Sigma blog)
- Top 10 Sigma Functions vs Excel (Sigma blog)