The Comprehensive Guide to Pie Charts (2023)

Pie charts are a type of graphical representation that illustrate information in a circular format. They display the relative sizes of data through circular sectors, making them a specific type of data visualization. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about pie charts, including their definition, when to use them, examples, templates, alternatives, and the method for creating a pie chart.

Part 1: Definition of Pie Chart

A pie chart is a useful tool for organizing and displaying data as a percentage of the whole. This visualization type utilizes a circle to represent the entirety of the data and slices it according to its proportions. It symbolizes the various categories that make up the whole. Users can employ pie charts to compare the relationship between different dimensions. Numerical data is typically divided into percentages of the total sum in the chart. Each slice represents a percentage value and should be measured accordingly. When interpreting a pie chart, it is important to consider the area, arc length, and angle of each sector. Significant grouping is crucial as comparing portions can be challenging. To make a pie chart more user-friendly, it should be logically organized, typically from largest to smallest. To effectively process the data, start with the most significant component and work down to the smallest. To reduce the time viewers spend consulting the legend, the colors of the slices should correspond to the corresponding blocks in the legend. Additionally, a pie chart should be used to illustrate how various components relate to the whole. They work best when applied to dimensions with few category options. A pie chart can help highlight data stories if you need to show that a part of the whole is overrepresented or underrepresented. However, pie charts are ineffective for comparing precise figures.

Part 2: When to Use a Pie Chart

In this section, you will learn when to use a pie chart. We will provide some use cases to help you understand when a situation calls for a pie chart. There are two main use cases for a pie chart:

  1. When the exact sizes of the portions are less crucial, and you want your audience to understand the relationship between the parts and the whole in your data.
  2. To express that a part of the whole is small or large. In the second use case, you can easily draw a broad conclusion. The slice is relatively larger or smaller than the others.

Part 3: Examples of Pie Charts

  • 2D Pie Chart: A 2D pie chart displays the frequency at which different variables occur in a dataset. This type of pie chart presents the entries of the pie chart in two dimensions.
  • Exploded Pie Chart: An exploded pie chart is created by separating the slices of the pie chart instead of combining them. In a pie chart, this is usually done to draw attention to a particular sector or area.
  • Budget Pie Chart: Another example is a budget pie chart, which helps divide all possible expenses.
  • Fun Pie Chart: Nowadays, you can find fun pie charts on the internet. Their main purpose is to entertain people with memes, jokes, and more.

Part 4: Pie Chart Templates

  • Customer Feedback Pie Chart Template: Use this template to display what customers are saying about your company. With the help of this template, you can gather customer opinions and responses, giving you an idea of what actions to take.
  • Most Visited Destinations Pie Chart Template: This pie chart template showcases the most well-known travel destinations worldwide. If you're planning a trip, you can use this chart as a reference.
  • Camera Company Sales Pie Chart Template: Utilize this pie chart template to present sales figures for well-known camera manufacturers. This will give people an idea of which camera to choose.
  • Water Consumption Pie Chart Template: With this pie chart template, you can display how many glasses of water you consume daily. Additionally, you'll see the percentage breakdown to observe any differences.

Part 5: Alternatives to Pie Charts

Sometimes, certain data is not suitable for pie charts. If you have a large amount of data, using a pie chart can be complicated. In such cases, you'll need the best alternative to a pie chart. In this section, you will learn about alternative visualizations you can use alongside or instead of pie charts.

  • Bar Chart: The bar chart poses the biggest threat to the pie chart. A bar chart is preferred over a pie chart because it conveys arguments more succinctly and simply. A bar chart is suitable for addressing many of the issues with pie charts. However, bar charts do not effectively convey the comparison of parts to the whole, which is the main advantage of a pie chart.
  • Stacked Bar Chart: The stacked bar chart is a powerful competitor to the pie chart in terms of its ability to convey a comparison of parts to the whole. You can compare individual stacked bar charts to a rectangular version of the sectors in a pie chart. Additionally, the rectangular shape simplifies the comparison of category breakdowns between multiple groups. Despite this, pie charts are still worth considering for the use case of comparing parts to the whole due to their advantages in terms of familiarity and aesthetics.
  • Waffle Chart: The waffle chart is another alternative to the pie chart. It uses a grid of squares to represent data proportions. Each square represents a certain percentage of the whole. The advantage of the waffle chart is that it provides a visual representation that is easy to understand and compare.

Part 6: Method for Creating a Pie Chart

If you plan to create a pie chart, the best tool we can recommend is MindOnMap. MindOnMap has an easy-to-understand interface with basic procedures for creating a chart. This makes it convenient for all users, especially beginners. Additionally, the online tool offers various shapes, font styles, themes, and more. After creating a pie chart, you can save it in multiple formats, including PDF, SVG, PNG, JPG, and more. Furthermore, MindOnMap is available on all browsers, including Google, Safari, Explorer, Edge, Mozilla, and more. You can even use the tool on your mobile devices.

  1. Open your browser and visit the MindOnMap website.
  2. Create your MindOnMap account by clicking on the "Create Online" option. MindOnMap also offers a desktop version, which you can download for free.
  3. After that, click on the "New" option on the left screen. Then select the "Flowchart" icon. Once you do that, the main interface will appear on the screen.
  4. When the interface appears, you can start creating your pie chart. You can use the circle shape in the left interface. Additionally, to add color, go to the "Fill Color" option. Create your pie chart according to your preferences.
  5. After creating a pie chart, click the "Save" button to save the chart to your account. Click "Share" to share the chart with others. Finally, click "Export" to save the chart in various formats.

Part 7: Frequently Asked Questions about Pie Charts

  1. Why do we use pie charts? We use pie charts to represent data in a single graph. Their concept is to understand the percentage of data in the whole pie.
  2. What are the two types of pie charts? The two types of pie charts are 2D and 3D pie charts based on the chart's dimension.
  3. How do you calculate the percentage of data in a pie chart? You need to measure the angle of each slice. After that, divide it by 360 degrees. Then, multiply by 100. This way, you can calculate the percentage of the data.

In conclusion, this comprehensive guide has provided you with all the information you need to know about pie charts. You now have an understanding of their definition, use cases, examples, templates, alternatives, and the method for creating a pie chart using MindOnMap. By following the guidelines and best practices outlined in this guide, you can effectively utilize pie charts to visualize and communicate your data.

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