Many people will agree that the pie chart is one of the most confusing graph types used in presentations. The area covered by each section is difficult to compare, and it takes a train of thought for many people to realize that the more extensive selection always represents the more enormous amount.
The best way to avoid these issues is by using a pie chart maker and keeping the following tips in mind:
1.Only use a pie graph when appropriate.
Pie charts effectively display categorical data, such as the proportion of each class within a population or survey results. However, pie charts should not be used to show trends over time. If you need to show change over time, consider using a column chart instead. Other types of graphs can be used if you have multiple categories. For example, a stacked bar may be the best way to display how much of your company’s profits come from different product lines or geographical regions.
2. Use only one category in a pie chart creator.
You don’t have to put everything into one pie chart, but if you’re starting out with more than six items, it will get crowded quickly and might end up looking messy anyway! The pie chart should be easy to read at a glance. For more than six categories, consider creating sub-categories or using another type of graph for the rest.
3. Label each segment in a doughnut chart with its corresponding value.
Labels are important because they tell you what you’re looking at and how much of it there is! You can either label each angle directly (make sure you’re using the correct numerical values!) or display the data in table format below your pie chart.
4. Choose between 3,4,8,16 angles or multiples thereof for your pie graph maker.
Pie charts work best when all segments have an equal width—the typical number of angles used to create this effect would be three, four, eight, or sixteen (multiples of four work best). If you have an odd number of segments, it’s fine to go one overlong as the widths remain equal. It is not recommended that pie charts have more than eight parts for aesthetic reasons.
5. Make sure the most significant angle always fills up the space allocated.
The size of each segment should correspond precisely to its percentage value compared to all other elements combined. Otherwise, your pie chart will be misleading. This may mean needing to distort the shape of some angles beyond what would typically seem sensible—sorry about that! It’s necessary, believe us.
As a tip, if you need to make some angles bigger while keeping their total smaller than another (larger) angle made of many parts, complete each segment of the smaller curve a bit longer. This is ok because you’re still comparing like to like.
6. Make sure the chart is easy to read from left to right.
Bars with labels on the left are usually more accessible for people to understand. Still, it’s best practice to choose a consistent orientation and stick with it throughout your charts—it will make them easier to follow if they use consistent language or symbols rather than switching between orientations.
7. Use a free pie chart maker, and don’t include more than one pie chart in a table.
You don’t have to use pie charts as infographics by themselves, but avoid pairing them up with other visualization types, such as bar graphs. Pie charts should ideally be used only once in an article (or at least section).
8. Don’t use more than three colors in an online pie chart.
Avoid using more than three colors; otherwise, it will be challenging for your readers to differentiate between them, and you’ll lose the effect of showing the relationship between different angles. It is possible to go beyond this rule if there are two categories with very similar values so that one couldn’t be distinguished from the other even with just a single color, but try not to go overboard!
9. Use a clean design.
Pie charts do best when they’re clean and straightforward, as extra decorations may make them look cluttered and render text labels illegible. You want your chart to be clear at a glance, so keep it as minimal as possible while still illustrating what you need it to be. If in doubt, look at other examples of pie charts for inspiration.
10. Keep your pie chart out of the way
You don’t want a pie chart to dominate a page, so make sure you use them with plenty of white space around and keep labels clear and prominent if possible. Don’t make your readers squint to see the data! Try not to cram too much information into one place—no one likes a wall of text.
Pie charts are great visualization tools when used correctly, but they’re straightforward to mess up, which can lead to confusion or even miscommunication from your infographic! Remember that with anything in the design, there is always room for representation and simplification. Accuracy is essential, but so is being able to communicate effectively. Your goal in creating pie charts is to help people understand, so think about how they will be interpreted before publishing. Visit pie chart maker sites like Venngage for all of your pie chart needs.