Linking provides a simple yet powerful way of combining the data from two tables. Use linking to join tables or worksheets into a single, bigger table with columns from both.

When you work a lot with data, you will often find yourself in a position where you want to use two separate tables, which contain different but related data, to answer a question. The 1010data Insights Platform has a highly effective feature that allows you join the information from related data tables together in a straightforward manner. It is called linking, and it is one of the things the Insights Platform does best.

The Sales Item Detail table you have been working with in the previous tutorials of this guide contains information about every transaction for your fictitious retail chain. However, what if you wanted to know which department each item in those transactions came from? That information is found in the Product Master table. Similarly, what if you wanted to know more about the store in which that transaction took place? That information is found in the Store Master table. If you could combine those tables with your Sales Item Detail table and match up the data, you would be able to learn exactly what those details are.

In the linking tutorials in this guide, you will start with the Sales Item Detail table.

This table contains a lot of useful information about every transaction in your fictional retail point of sale (POS) system. The Item SKU column provides a reference to the exact product that was purchased. Within this table, you can see the date, store, and sales price of every item that was sold, as well as in which transaction it took place. However, based on the information in this table, you do not know any details about the items other than a SKU code. Fortunately, you have access to a Product Master table that gives a description of these items.

Note: It is not necessary to open the Product Master table to link it in. Linking in a table can be done without opening the foreign table. It is shown here to illustrate the relationship between the tables in the link operation.
The Product Master table shown above contains specific information about all the product SKUs that are also in the Sales Item Detail table. Here you can see descriptions for each product, its category, and the department of the fictitious retail chain in which it is sold. But what if you wanted to look at this information as it relates to your sales data? The answer is to link the two tables together at a common data point. In this instance, both tables contain item SKU data. In this tutorial, you will use the SKU column in both tables to link them together.
Note: If you have an SQL background, you can think of linking tables as equivalent to a join in SQL.

For more information about linking, see Linking tables and worksheets in the 1010data Insights Platform User's Guide.