Excel Pie Chart Secrets
The tip in this show is from Charts and Graphs for Excel 2007.
(Click the book for more details)
Brianna Mcivor, Bill Jelen, and Leo Laporte on the set of The Lab with Leo Way too many charts rely on the pie chart. In this segment, we will take a look at when you should use a pie chart and when you should not. Also, some cool tricks for sweeter pie charts. A pie chart should be used to show components that add up to a whole:
Never use a pie to show a time series. Instead, use a column or line chart:
What if you need to show changing pies over time? Switch to a stacked bar chart:
Avoid 3-D Pie charts. Which ever slice is in the front appears much larger. Here, both pies in this image have 30% for Labor, but the lower pie has 107% more dark blue pixels.
Instead, use a 2-D pie, where 30% looks like 30% whether it is at the top or the bottom:
Rather than exploding the entire pie, it is more interesting to explode one slice of the pie. To do this, follow these steps:
If you have many tiny slices, the labels tend to overwrite each other. Rotate the pie so that the small slices are in the lower right. There is more room for labels there. To rotate a pie chart:
If you have too many small slices, switch the chart type to a Bar of Pie type chart. Small slices are moved to a secondary chart:
You can control which slices end up in the secondary pie. Right-click the pie and choose Format Data Series. The top options shown here allow you to specify that the secondary pie should be split by percentage, value, or number of items.
Check back in May 2008 and you can view my segment here.
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