How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets

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Do you know how to make a pie chart in Google Sheets? If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide, you’ve come to the right place.

This comprehensive guide will help you make a pie chart in Google Sheets, from beginner to advanced. By reading this article, you’ll learn what pie charts are, when to use them, and the advantages of using them to present your data.

By the end of this post, you will be ready to create visually appealing pie charts to present your data effectively.

What are pie charts?

Pie charts are a popular and effective way to visually represent data in a clear and concise manner. In essence, they are circular graphs divided into slices, with each slice representing a different category or data point. The size of each slice is proportional to the quantity it represents, allowing viewers to easily compare the relative proportions of different categories. As a result, the entire pie chart represents the total or 100% of the data being represented.

By providing a visual representation of how individual categories contribute to the whole, pie charts are particularly useful when you want to showcase the distribution of a single variable or compare the proportions of different categories within a dataset. 

Since pie charts help simplify complex data sets, communicate trends, and highlight patterns or disparities, they are commonly used in various fields such as business, finance, marketing, and education. Whether you want to showcase sales figures, demographic information, survey results, or any other type of data, pie charts can provide valuable insights at a glance.

What are the advantages of using pie charts?

Pie charts offer several advantages that make them a popular choice for data visualization. Some of these advantages include:

Simplicity: pie charts present data in a simple and intuitive manner. The circular shape and distinct slices make it easy for viewers to understand and analyze the information, even without extensive knowledge of data analysis.

Visual representation: pie charts provide a visual representation of proportions, allowing viewers to easily understand the relative sizes of different categories. The size of each slice corresponds to the proportion it represents, making it easy to compare and interpret the data.

Highlighting categories: pie charts are effective at highlighting dominant or significant categories within a dataset. Larger slices immediately catch the viewer’s attention, making it easy to identify the most important or impactful categories.

Showing the relationship between parts and the whole: these charts visually demonstrate the relationship between individual categories and the total or 100% of the data. As a result, this allows viewers to see how each category contributes to the overall picture, helping them understand the distribution and composition of the data.

Data storytelling: these charts can be visually appealing and engaging, making them a powerful tool for storytelling with data. By using colors, labels, and other visual elements, you can create visually striking pie charts that capture the readers’ attention and effectively convey your message.

Key features of pie charts

Pie charts have several key features that contribute to their effectiveness as a data visualization tool. Understanding these features will help you create accurate and informative pie charts. Here are the key features of pie charts:

Circular shape: pie charts are circular in shape, representing the entirety or 100% of the data you want to present. The circular shape allows for easy visualization and comparison of different categories.

Slices: the pie chart is divided into slices, with each slice representing a specific category or data point. 

Labels: pie charts often include labels that provide additional information about each category or data point. Labels can be placed inside or outside the slices, indicating the name or value associated with each category.

Colors: colors play an important role in pie charts, as they help differentiate between different slices and make the chart visually appealing. Each slice is typically assigned a different color, making it easier to distinguish between categories.

Legend: a legend is used to explain the colors or patterns used in the pie chart. By providing a key that associates each color or pattern with its corresponding category or data point, the legend helps viewers understand the meaning of each slice.

Data values: pie charts often display the actual values or percentages associated with each category. These values can be shown within the slices, next to the labels, or in a separate table. 

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets

Now that we know what pie charts are, what are the advantages of using them to present data and their key features, we’ll learn how to create a pie chart in Google Sheets.

In this example, we’ll use a spreadsheet that contains the number of customers by age group.

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 1

First, we’ll make a pie chart to show the number of sales by age group. Click Insert and select Chart.

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 2

Now I’ll start to build the chart by selecting Pie chart. Then, I’ll select the data range and add the values.

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 3

After building the chart, we can use the chart editor to customize it. Here you can change the background color, the font and the chart border color.

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 4

Now we can customize different parts of the chart. For example, I can add a slice label to help the audience understand and analyze the chart.

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 5

I could easily turn the pie chart into a donut chart by selecting a percentage under Donut hole.

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 6

When I click Pie slice, I can choose the color of each slice. Select the label and pick a color. 

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 7

You can also choose a specific slice and detach it from the chart by selecting a percentage under Distance from center.

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 8

Now it’s time to add an appropriate title to the chart. After typing in the title text, choose your favorite font, a font size and the text color.

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 9

By selecting Legend, I can customize the legend font, size, format and color. I can also choose where I’ll place it. In this example, I will move the legend to the bottom of the graph.

How to make a pie chart in Google Sheets 10

Conclusion

There you have it! That’s how you can make a pie chart in Google Sheets. Pie charts are a great way to visually represent data and analyze the distribution of different variables. Whether you are a student, a business professional, or simply someone who loves organizing data, knowing how to create a pie chart can be a valuable skill.

If you want to learn more about charts and graphs, check out this step-by-step guide to making a line graph in Google Sheets.

Ready to streamline your spreadsheet data?

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