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All About Pie Charts

Pie charts are a type of graph used to display data as a proportion of a whole. Keep reading to see some examples of pie charts and how they are used to visualize data.

What are pie charts?

Pie charts are graphical representations of data divided into slices to illustrate proportions. Each piece in a pie chart represents a proportion of the total, and the size of each slice is proportional to the numerical value it represents. Pie charts can help compare proportions because they make it easy to see which values are larger or smaller than others.

There are many pie charts, but all follow the same basic format. Some examples of pie charts include circular pie charts, sectoral pie charts, exploded pies, and ring pies. The circular pie chart has a circle as its base and radial lines extending from the center to create slices. The sectoral pie chart has straight sides and angles instead of curves. The exploded pie chart has individual slices separated from the whole. Lastly, ring pies have multiple circles instead of one.

What are some tips for creating effective pie charts?


There are a few things to keep in mind when creating pie charts. Here are some tips:

  • The size of the pie chart should be relative to the other elements on the page.
  • The data should be evenly distributed around the circle so that no section is too large or too small.
  • If there are too many data points, it may be better to use a bar chart instead.
  • Labels should be placed outside of the pie chart, and preferably above or below it.
  • The colors used in a pie chart should contrast with each other so that they are easily distinguishable.

How do you make a pie chart in Excel?


There are many ways to format a pie chart in Excel, and the method you use will depend on the specific data you are plotting and the look you want to achieve. In general, there are a few steps you can follow to create a basic pie chart, which include choosing your data, converting your data into a pie chart format, formatting your pie chart, adding labels and other details to your chart, and saving and printing your chart.

To choose your data, select the cells or range of cells that contain the information you want to plot as a pie chart. For example, if you want to create a chart showing how much money different people earned last year, select the cells containing that data. If you want to include percentages in your graph, make sure that all of the values in your selected range are percentages (i.e., they contain no decimals). Otherwise, Excel will automatically calculate the percentages for you based on the values in your selected range when you create the graph.

To convert your data into a pie chart format, go to Insert, then Pie Chart. Excel will automatically create a basic pie chart based on the values in your selected range. The default colors for Excel’s pie charts can be somewhat jarring, so it’s often helpful to format them using one of the built-in presets or by creating custom colors using RGB codes. You can also adjust other properties of your pie chart, such as its size, font style, and font size, using the Formatting Palette.

Once you have created a basic pie chart, there are many ways to customize it further. To add labels indicating what each slice of pie represents, go to Layout, Labels, Legend Entries (Below), and then More Items. This will open up a new window where you can enter text for each label as well as specifying where it should appear on your graph. To add percentage values next to each slice of pie, go to Layout, Data Labels, then Percentages.

To change how colors are assigned to slices of pie, click on one of the colors in the color palette on the left side of the graph, then use either the Edit Colors dialog box or one of three more detailed color choosers, which will open up when you click on the Customize button.

Use this article as a guide the next time you want to create a pie chart.