Pie Chart

Pie charts are useful when you have only one series of information. Each data in the series represents a percentage of the whole pie. It's important that you have a relatively small number of data points. If you have too many of them, a pie chart can be impossible to interpret.

Select Data

Before we create a pie chart, we need to select data which we want to display.

Select cells from A1 to H2.

Choose Pie Chart Type

Click Insert tab. On the chart area you will find a dropdown button to create a pie chart. We have a few types we can choose from. There are standard Pie Chart, exploded, 3D, and some other variations. The first one is the most practical and widely used. In real life this is the most commonly used pie chart.

Rotate Pie Chart

Sometimes you will be in situation where a pie slice which is most important is located on the back of a chart. You can rotate it using chart rotation. You can rotate 3D chart horizontally and 3D charts horizontally and vertically. There are a few ways you can do that.

  • First (2D and 3D charts):
  • Right click on the Pie Chart and choose "Format Data Point..." (you can also double click in Excel 2010). A "Format Data Series" window will appear. On the "Series Options" tab you will find a rotation slider. You can move it from 0 (no rotation) to 360 (full rotation).

  • Second: (only 3D chart)
  • The second method can only be used with 3D chart. This time, right click on the pivot area and choose "Format Data Point..." (you can also double click in Excel 2010). It will open "Format Plot Area" window. On the "3-D Roatation" area you can find: horizontal rotation (X), vertical rotation (Y) and Perspective.

    Another place when you can find this window is by going to "Layout"->"Background"->"3-D Rotation".

Explode Pie Chart

Sometimes you may find useful to have all slices of a pie separated from each other. This chart is called Exploded pie chart.

There are two ways to do that. First way is to click and hold cursor on the pie chart and drag it out. The second method is to double click on the chart and use "Pie Explosion" slider.

Set slider to 25%. This will give us the following effect.

Pull Out a Slice

Pulling out a slice of a pie chart is very similar to exploding a chart. This time you can also do it using two methods. In the first method you need to click one pie slice, wait a second or so and then drag the slice out. In the second method you need to click a slice, then double-click. As you can see the "Pie Explosion" slider changed to "Point Explosion". Now you can set precisely how much you want to drag a silce out.


Pie charts don't recognize positive and negative values. When you have negative values in your data, you should choose other type of chart.

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