How to Use Excel Pie Charts for Effective Data Visualisation

Data visualisation is an essential component of data analysis because it allows us to show complicated information in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and simple to comprehend. One of the most well-liked and adaptable tools for data visualisation offered by Excel, the commonly used spreadsheet programme, is the pie chart. We’ll look at how to use Excel pie charts effectively for data representation in this blog, addressing both Excel newbies searching for an Excel Training primer and those want to know how to produce an Excel Pie Chart.

Table of Contents  

  • Understanding Excel Pie Charts 
  • Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Pie Chart in Excel 
  • Customizing the Pie Chart 
  • Utilizing Chart Elements 
  • Best Practices for Effective Pie Chart Usage 
  • Conclusion  

Understanding Excel Pie Charts 

Before diving into the practicalities of creating an Excel pie chart, it’s essential to comprehend what a pie chart represents and when it’s appropriate to use one. A pie chart is a type of circular graph used to display data as sectors. Each sector represents a proportion or percentage of the whole and is ideal for highlighting the distribution of a single data set across different categories. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Pie Chart in Excel 

Here is a step-by-step tutorial to walk you through the process of making a pie chart in Excel: 

  1. Your data should first be organised in a tabular style in Excel. The category names should be included in one column, and the matching numerical values should be listed in another column. 
  2. You should highlight the data range for your pie chart. Include the category names as well as the corresponding numerical values.  
  3. Navigate to the “Insert” tab on the Excel ribbon while the data is chosen. Click the “Pie Chart” icon here. A drop-down menu with several pie chart options will appear in Excel. Please select the option that suits your data and visualization requirements. Once you have made your choice, Excel will generate a basic pie chart automatically.
  4. The pie chart you just made has to be customised in order to improve its aesthetic appeal and effectively communicate the facts. The chart has numerous formatting and modification choices when you right-click on it. You may alter the title of the chart, add data labels, modify the colour scheme, and even explode particular parts to draw attention to them. 
  5. You may add a variety of chart components from Excel to your pie chart to enhance its informational value. For example, you might include a legend to describe the different types of data, data labels to show the precise numbers, or even a data table to display the information in a tabular manner. Click on the chart to open these choices, then click the “Chart Elements” (+) icon to choose the components you wish to use. 

Best Practices for Effective Pie Chart Usage 

Excel pie charts are useful tools for visualising data, but they must be used correctly to maintain clarity and prevent misunderstanding. The following are some recommendations to remember:

  1. To maintain clarity and reduce clutter, keep the number of categories in your pie chart to a minimum. The chart may become complex and difficult to understand if there are too many slices. 
  2. Make sure the correct percentage or amount is prominently shown on each slice. Data labels eliminate any ambiguity and facilitate precise comprehension. 
  3. Arrange the data in descending or ascending order to efficiently draw attention to important slices and trends. 
  4. To avoid confusion, if data labels overlap, move them or think about using a leader line.
  5. Use a legend to properly identify the data sets in your chart if it has several categories. 
  6. Explode or slightly remove a slice from the chart to draw attention to a certain category.
  7. Always give your pie chart a detailed title and include the data source to increase trust. 
  8. You can display data, make wise judgements, and share insights with your audience successfully by adhering to these rules and learning the art of making Excel pie charts.  


Anyone working with data analysis and visualisation will find Excel pie charts to be an important tool. In this article, we’ve explored how to create a pie chart in Excel step-by-step as well as best practises to guarantee its efficacy. Pie charts are straightforward and simple to understand, but it’s important to use them properly with appropriate modification and obvious labelling. You can use the power of pie charts to graphically express data insights with a little Excel training and practise, making you a more successful and efficient data analyst.

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