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A Guide to Pie Chart

Pie chart definition is – a circular chart cut by radii into segments illustrating relative magnitudes or frequencies

When to use a Pie Chart?

There are some simple criteria that you can use to determine whether a pie chart is a right choice for your data.

Do the parts make up a meaningful whole? If not, use a different chart. Only use a pie chart if you can define the entire set in a way that makes sense to the viewer.

Are the parts mutually exclusive? If there is an overlap between the parts, use a different chart.

Do you want to compare the parts to each other or the parts to the whole? If the main purpose is to compare the parts, use a different chart. The main purpose of the pie chart is to show part-whole relationships.

How many parts do you have? If there are more than five to seven, use a different chart. Pie charts with lots of slices (or slices of very different sizes) are hard to read.


The pie chart can be better used in the following example if a company has five divisions, and the pie chart shows profits per division, the sum of all the slices/divisions is the total profits of the company.

How to Draw a Pie chart?

To draw a pie chart, we need to represent each part of the data as a proportion of 360, because there are 360 degrees in a circle. For example, if 55 out of 270 vehicles are vans, we will represent this on the circle as a segment with an angle of (55/270) x 360 = 73 degrees.