How to Create a Pie Chart in Excel

In Excel 2013, creating a pie chart takes only a single click -- choose a chart type and Excel builds the pie using your data. Adjusting the pie to your liking, however, requires a few more steps. Whether you want to change the chart's colors, add different labels or explode a pie segment to call it out, Excel provides the tools, once you know where to find them.

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Pie charts work best with a small number of data points. Add too many and segments become hard to read.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Enter a single row or column of data, optionally preceded by a single row or column containing labels for each value. Your data can contain either raw values or percentages. To use percentages, make sure the sum of the values adds to 100 percent, and include the "%" sign after each number.

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Enter data.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft
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Create the chart.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Select your data and labels, and click the pie chart icon on the Insert tab. Pick one of the pie chart styles. For a standard pie chart, choose the first option in the 2-D Pie or 3-D Pie section. A 3-D pie chart might look nicer, but the effect also makes the data harder to interpret by artificially inflating the front wedge.

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Change the name and style.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Fill in the chart's name and use the Chart Styles section on the Design tab to give the chart a new look. Pick a style that includes data labels on the segments if you want to show percentage values.

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Press "Change Colors" to pick a new color scheme. For a pie chart, especially one with many sections, pick a color scheme with distinct colors to help differentiate the wedges.

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Explode the pie.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Drag a piece of the pie chart away from the center of the circle to explode the pie. To move a piece precisely, double-click it and change the Point Explosion value. An exploded pie chart helps emphasize specific wedges, but can also make the data less visually intuitive.

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Customize the labels.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Double-click any one of the segment data labels to change the contents of all data labels. To switch from percentages to raw values (assuming you provided raw values in your data), uncheck "Percentage" and pick "Value."

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Create a secondary pie.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Choose the "Pie of Pie" chart type if you want to expand a group of pie segments into a secondary pie chart. After picking this chart type, double-click the secondary pie to pick how many segments it should contain and how to select them. By default, Excel pulls out the three smallest segments.