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Excel Pie Chart

Guest Author - Chris Curtis

The purpose of a Pie Chart is to display data as a percentage of the whole. It gives the reader a good sense for the contributions of each element of data to the whole. A couple of examples where Pie Charts would be meaningful are:.

• Suppose your company sold toys to eight regions around the world. You want to know how much of your total revenues come from each of the regions.
• You also are interested in analyzing your cost base and want to know how much each expense category contributes to your total cost of running the business.

We will start with the regional sales data. I would suggest that you practice this exercise as you follow along with the article.

To create the pie chart follow these simple steps:

• Launch the Excel program
• Enter the data as shown in the illustration below

• Select the range of data to include the row descriptors and the column headings. (A4:D12) The row descriptors will define the quarters on the axis and the column headings will define the column legend.
• Press F11 – the F11 key will create a column chart on a separate worksheet tab. Using the F11 key is the simplest way to create a columnar chart. Once the chart has been created, you can then manipulate the chart in the same way you would have been able to if you had created the chart using the Chart Wizard.

While the basic column chart displays graphically where your largest revenue base resides, a pie chart would be more meaningful. Flipping to the pie chart from the column chart is pretty simple. Note when the chart tab is active, the chart tool bar is displayed. The chart type button is the third button from the left on the tool bar.

• To change your chart to a 3-D pie chart, click on the drop down next to the Chart Type Button and select the graphic that represents the 3-D Pie Chart.

You have now created a basic Pie Chart. Note, however, that the Pie Chart does not reflect any values which would give you a better sense of the disbursement of the revenues. If you hover your mouse pointer over each of the slices, a tool tip will reflect the value and the percentage for that data point. It would be more meaningful to show the values directly on the chart. Here’s what you do.

1. On the main menu, click on Chart | Chart Options
2. Select the Data Labels Tab
3. Check Category Name, Value and Percentage
4. Clear background by right clicking on the grey area. Select Clear from the shortcut menu.
5. Right click on the legend; select Clear – removes the legend from the chart.

Your Chart should now look like this

Let’s take a moment to interpret this pie chart. Now, you can clearly see that more than 50% of the revenues are derived from sales to companies in the US and Canada.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Chris Curtis. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Chris Curtis. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Laura Nunn for details.


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