CP004: Can I Pie Chart in Public? Discussion about Pie charts, their merits and drawbacks, when to use & when to avoid them

In the 4th session of Chandoo.org podcast, lets talk about Pie charts.

Pie charts evoke strong opinions among analysts & managers. Some people love them and can’t have enough of them in reports. Others despise them and go to any lengths to avoid them. And that is why we are going to talk about them in this session.

CP004: Can I Pie Chart in public? - Discussion about merits & drawbacks of Pie charts, whether you should use them or avoid.

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What is in this session?

This sessions is all about pies, donuts, bars & bubbles. Yummy, I say!

You will learn,
One of the many limitations of Pie charts - demo

  • Special, secret transmission from guest stars
  • What is a pie chart?
  • Why they work? 2 reasons
  • Why they don’t work ? 4 reasons
  • Cousins & siblings of Pie charts
    • Donut charts
    • Gauge charts (speedometer)
    • 3D pies
    • Area charts
    • Bubble charts
  • 4 Situations when making a pie chart is ok
  • Alternatives to Pie charts
  • Mistakes you should avoid
  • About the resources
  • Conclusions

Go ahead and listen to the show

Links & Resources mentioned in this session:

Books mentioned

Articles & Discussion on Pie Charts
Good examples of Pie charts

Bad examples of Pie charts

Debatable examples of Pie charts

Alternatives & Improvements to Pie charts

Extra resource:

Note about book links: The links to various books mentioned in this podcast are affiliate links. It means when you click on them & purchase, good folks at Amazon pay me a few cents. I recommend these books because I genuinely love them. I would have recommended even if there is no benefit to me.

Transcript of this session:

Click here to download the transcript.

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Do you use Pie charts?

I do not avoid them completely. Once in a while I like to throw a pie in to my dashboards. They are a great way to visualize data despite the pitfalls.

What about you? Do you use pie charts? Please share your experience using comments.


Hello Awesome...

My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.

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4 Responses to “CP004: Can I Pie Chart in Public? Discussion about Pie charts, their merits and drawbacks, when to use & when to avoid them”

  1. Jay says:

    hello mike testing 1 2 4....1 2 4, pie charts are 'not wolking' for me...so i don't use pie charts 😀

  2. AMBARISH N says:

    Really nice & informative...... keep it up......

  3. Martin Ryder says:

    I'm a software trainer. I've always loved your site. I've had to teach myself a lot of Excel, from scratch, to teach it. You've made that so much easier. Now you have these amazing podcasts. Thanks for all the work you've done to pass on your knowledge.

  4. jdogzilla says:

    Can't agree more with you ... 3-D charts totally distort data, and pie charts are very misleading. I hadn't put down a solid reason why I disliked (note I'm not saying hated) pie charts, but after hearing this podcast, I know my points of argument. Thanks!

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