A pie chart is a pictorial representation of data. It is generally used to show the composition of an individual item. Categorical data is best represented using a pie chart as it makes each slice represent a different category. The main purpose of the pie chart is to show part-whole relationships.
A pie chart can only be used if the sum of the individual parts add up to a meaningful whole, and is built for visualizing how each part contributes to that whole. This can be the representation of a pie chart. The pie chart is a circular-shaped chart with one or more than one division in it and each division represents some portion of a total circle or total value.
E.g: This is the data of students present (out of a total of 60 students) in the class in a particular week.
Creating a Pie Chart:
Now, Let’s see the steps involved to create a pie chart in Excel :
- Step 1: Open the MS Excel in your system.
- Step 2: In the toolbar, go to the insert option.
- Step 3: Then check the pie chart icon for different pie chart segments.
- Step 4: Choose the type of pie chart you need.
There are really amazing pie charts according to different needs and properties. Before checking them, let’s create data for the pie charts.
Data: It is the information, which has to displayed pictorially in the form of the pie chart.
Let’s take a small data table that is related to a student’s marks obtained (out of 100 marks) in six subjects. Data is as follows:
So, here we can see, there are two types of data present: Subject name and Marks obtained. Following that the values are filled. To create the pie chart of this data, select the data of the table. (Click on the upper-left most cell & drag the cursor to the bottom-right most cell and leave).
Now go to Pie chart options which are already explained earlier. (Insert > Pie chart icon > Select pie chart) Select the type of pie chart you want to create.
In MS-Excel there are different types of Pie charts available. You can view that by clicking on a Pie chart drop-down option (as you have seen above).
- 2D Chart
- PIE of Pie Chart
- Bar of Pie Chart
- 3D Pie Chart
- Doughnut Chart
Let’s see them one by one.
1. 2D Chart
After selecting a 2D Pie chart. We get a colorful Pie chart is created with different divisions. At the bottom, there is a legend that determines which color represents which division on the chart.
Now after getting the pie chart. If you want to make some changes in the context of design and format, follow the below:
1. Select the chart.
2. Then select the “Design” and “Format” options that occur in the toolbar.
Different designs will be present there. Choose accordingly.
Different designs and other options (for changing layout, a combination of colors of divisions, etc.) will be present there as follows. Choose accordingly.
Different formats which include (shape insertion, chart boundary color, shape fill etc.) will be present there for modifications as follows. Choose accordingly.
Features of Pie Chart:
Now, let’s talk about more features for pie charts. To make some more changes for individual division or to some group of division. Select the chart. You will see three signs, named as Chart elements || Chart styles || Chart filters
1. Chart elements (“+” symbol):
The chart area is divided into three parts: Chart title || Date series || Legend
In this option, we can add, remove or change chart elements such as title, legend, gridlines, and data labels. Select the Data labels to option ⇢ Data callout.
Data Callout: By which each division on the chart represents its subject name and contributed percentage.
You can try more modifications in the Pie chart representation by these options given. Deselect mark, to remove that portion from the chart or etc…
In chart title, you can make changes like shifting the position of the title, different alignment.
In data labels, you can make changes like shifting the position of data values at different places.
In legend, you can make changes for the legend part of the chart. E.g. color, positions etc..
2. Chart styles :
In chart style, we get to see amazing different styles.
We can try different combination colors of the division of the pie chart. (earlier also we saw it, in design option)
3. Chart filters :
This is one of the dynamic features, this allows you to easily click through your data to visualize different segments by just keeping the cursor on the required data.
Select the chart, then click the Filter icon to expose the filter pane.
When you have multiple charts to filter that is based on the same range or table. The on-object chart controls in Excel allow you to quickly filter out data at the chart level, and filtering data here will only affect the chart – not the data.
We can also reduce the legend and chart title part. (refer below data)
In case if you want to add the expenses category to the division. Select the chart and right-click from the popup menu select the “Format data labels”.
You can see different changes by selecting or deselecting some options. You can make changes according to your need.
- If we want to change the colors or other settings of the division, select the required division as below.
Right-click on the selected chart and select the “format data point” option.
Make changes according to your need.
2. PIE of PIE Chart
Now with the same data, we will create Pie of Pie chart.
To create this chart, we will follow the same steps we followed for 2D Pie chart. And then select the required PIE of PIE Chart option, as shown below.
In this type of chart (pie of pie chart), you will have two pie charts. The first one is a normal Pie chart and the second one is a subset of the main pie chart.
In the sub-chart part, we have only two categories which are representing the break up of 99 (64 + 35 computer science and chemistry). To check the categories of sub chart part, we can add the labels.
3. Bar of PIE Chart
Now with the same data, we will Bar of PIE Chart.
To create this chart, just select the Bar of Pie chart then the below chart will be created.
It is almost similar to Pie of the pie chart with a small difference that the sub pie chart is a sub bar chart.
As of now, we have completed all the 2D charts and now we will see a 3D Pie chart.
4. 3D PIE Chart
To create this chart, just select the 3D PIE Chart then the below chart will be created.
A 3D pie chart is similar to a 2D Pie chart but it has a height in addition to length and breadth. To get a clear image of divisions in 3D, right-click on the chart and select the “Format data series”.
Select the series option and increase the Pie explosion scale (for reference see the figures).
To rotate the chart, change the “Angle of first slice” option. Rotation will take accordingly
5. Doughnut Chart
To create this chart, just select the Doughnut Chart then the below chart will be created.
The doughnut chart looks different from the other pie charts because this pie chart has a hole in the middle (looks like a ring).
With that hole, it looks like a Doughnut that is the reason it is referred to as a Doughnut chart.
To reduce the hole size right-click on the chart and select the “Format Data Series“ and reduce the hole size.
Different options like color change, soften edges, doughnut explosion(as we did earlier with 3D pie chart), etc. are there, Use them as per requirements.
Now, as we have completed all the types of pie charts. Let’s make some common and important conclusions from all of them.
Important points to remember About Pie Charts
- Never use negative values as it will not show any difference in the chart, and it may create confusion too. Hence, the amount should be of positive values because they well-defined and have a magnitude in the chart portion
- It is advisable to use less than 8-9 segments or divisions because more divisions will look more crowded and the clarity of the chart will become dull.
- Always try to use different and effective colors for each division to avoid confusion between little same colors because it may be difficult to differentiate divisions.
- Pie charts are useful for representing the nominal and ordinal data categories.