Perhaps one of the most useful features with which Microsoft Excel is equipped, making a pie chart can often range from being very useful to simply being done for fun. Since, let’s face it, pie charts are some of the very few statistical elements embraced by the general populous, a lot of people want to know how to create a pie chart in Excel.
While it is very simple at its basis, creating a pie chart in Excel can take a great deal of effort and commitment if the user wants it perfected. The more information one wants to be displayed and the more types of information one wants present on the pie chart, the more complicated it will get.
And seeing as a pie chart or two in a Microsoft Excel document can make an entire presentation more professional and make the presenter look like they know what they’re doing, here’s how to create a pie chart in Excel. However, we’ll first have to talk about some frequently asked question before we move on to the step-by-step explanation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most commonly asked question in regards to making pie charts in Excel are related to the Excel version. Whether it’s how to create a pie chart in Excel 2010, how to create a pie chart in Excel 2013, or in even in Excel 2007, people seem to think it’s a different process.
The truth is that it’s pretty much the same procedure. The only difference is that the pie chart is located in a slightly different position depending on your version of Excel. However, it will always be displayed under the Charts category of the document’s Insert tab.
Another misinformed question that keeps getting asked is what the formula for pie chart in Excel might be. The question is irrelevant since pie charts can be very easily created without the use of any formulas. You will see a very simple tutorial on how to create a pie chart in Excel later in this article.
The last two frequently asked questions which we won’t be approaching in this article are how to create a pie chart in Excel without numbers and how to make a pie chart in Excel with multiple data.
The answer to the first one is very simple – you don’t. Pie charts are to be used with numbers by their very nature, so it would make no sense to have a pie chart that doesn’t use numbers. As for the second question, it’s a much more complicated matter. It’s so complicated, in fact, that we might be dedicating an entire article to that process. Now that those are out of the way, let’s see how to create a pie chart in Excel.
How to Create a Pie Chart in Excel
There are three types of pie chart which we will be approaching – regular 2D or 3D pie charts, exploded 2D or 3D pie charts, and pie of pie or bar of pie charts. Depending on what you need, you can use whichever one is best suited for your task. But before we get into that, let’s first see the process to create a pie chart in Excel.
- Open an Excel document
- Select two adjacent columns
- Title each column (simply write what the column represents above each set of data)
- Insert your data in each of the columns
- Drag and select the cells relevant to the pie chart
- Go to the Insert tab of your Excel document
- Look for the Charts section
- Select the pie chart
- Select the type of pie chart you need
- Click on it or on Done (depending on your version of Excel)
Congratulations! Now you know how to make a simple pie chart in Excel. We’ll move on to slightly more complicated procedures soon, but first, there are a few observations I must make.
- If you don’t name each column, you won’t get a denomination for the chart
- Make sure you select every single cell
- Select the proper type of pie chart for your needs
- Try not to include more than 6 or 7 categories
- Use a pie of pie or bar of pie chart if necessary
Now that you know how to make a pie chart, let’s talk about your chart needs. Depending on what you need from your pie chart, there are three types you can use. And to further increase your number of possibilities, each of those three options has two of their own skins for more customization.
Regular Pie Chart
This particular brand of pie chart is for fans of the classic. It is primarily used to display up to six or seven slices. It can totally display more, but any more than six or seven will make the chart harder to read.
The regular pie chart comes in 2D and 3D, and each individual slice can be dragged away from the center to highlight its importance.
Exploded Pie Chart
The exploded pie chart also comes in 2D and 3D. What it does is to display the contribution of each value to the total, while also emphasizing each individual value.
You can customize the settings for each individual slice of pie, making for a very useful tool when you want to display a larger amount of information.
A downside would be that you cannot move the pie slices around. If you only want some slices to be exploded, you should go for the regular pie chart (in either 2D or 3D).
Pie of Pie and Bar of Pie
These two options are variations of the same function, one of them a bar and the other another pie. What this particular feature does is to extract certain slices from the main pie chart and display them in a separate, smaller one in order to emphasize them.
The pie of pie and bar of pie function is primarily used when there is too much information in the main pie chart. It usually displays the three smallest slices separately, but you can change those settings at any time.
Another question that is asked very frequently is how to create a bar chart in Excel. However, with that being a whole different type of chart, we will most likely dedicate a different article to that. But we do hope that we’ve managed to help you with your upcoming projects.
Now that you know how to create a pie chart in Excel, you can put your newfound skills to good use. If you wanted to, you could even make a pie chart on Excel itself in Excel, albeit it would have to include numbers. Please let us know in the comments below what you’d like to read about next. We could even dedicate a whole article to how to make your pie charts look better, if you wanted to.
Image source: Microsoft Excel