Featured - How to make a pie chart in excel

Pie charts are an incredibly useful tool when you want to highlight the differences between certain data points. However, though great, they aren’t exactly precise – it’s hard to discern an accurate number from the angle of a particular section. In this article we’re going to show you how to create a pie chart in Excel with labels so that you can have the best of both worlds.

How to make a pie chart in Excel: There are different ways

We’ll first look at creating a basic Excel pie chart, then move on to adding labels, customizing its visuals, exploding the pie chart, and finally creating a pie chart with a bar chart to the side.

Before you put the time in to make a pie chart in Excel, do bear in mind that you can only display a single data series in one and are unable to use zero or negative values. If your data set doesn’t fit those requirements, you may be better served by our bar chart tutorial, which is linked at the bottom of the page.

How to Make a Quick Pie Chart in Excel

Creating a basic pie chart in Excel is really easy. In fact, we only need a single step and four clicks to show you how:

  1. Select your data and press the pie icon in the “Insert” tab of the ribbon

    You can then choose which type of pie chart you want. In our case, that’s the basic “2-D Pie” option. However, you can also create a 3d pie chart in Excel by pressing the option under “3-D Pie”.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Insert Pie

How to Label a Pie Chart in Excel

So, you have a basic pie chart now, but your viewers will likely be hard-pressed to tell whether some segments are bigger than others and exactly how much by. We can solve this by adding data labels, which will clearly display the number on top of each segment:

  1. Right-click your graph and choose “Add Data Labels”

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Add Data Labels

  2. Your data will automatically appear on the pie segments

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Add Data Labels - Result

  3. Customize them by right clicking the graph and pressing “Format Data Labels…”

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Format Data Labels

  4. Tick what you want each label to contain and choose where to position them

    For example, you can add an Excel pie chart percentage by ticking the “Percentage” option.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Format Data Labels - Labels Options

  5. Preview the changes on your pie chart and close the formatting window when you’re done

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Format Data Labels - Labels Options - Result

How to Customize a Pie Chart in Excel

The default design of pie charts in Excel is very plain and often uses colors that aren’t visually appealing. You can fix this by modifying your chart design, color palette, and gradient.

  1. Click on your pie chart in Excel and choose a style from the “Chart Design” tab

    You’ll find various styles above the “Chart Styles” heading which will give your chart a fresh look.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Chart Design - Chart Styles

  2. Press “Change Colors” and pick from one of the color palette presets

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Chart Design - Change Colors

  3. OR: Open the “Page Layout” tab and press “Themes”, then pick an option 

    Bear in mind that this will change the settings across your entire document, rather than just this particular graph.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Page Layout - Themes

  4. Click the four squares next to the Themes button to change your chart colors

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Page Layout - Colors

  5. Press the text icon to change your font

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Page Layout - Fonts

  6. Click the shape icon and choose a shading type for your elements

    Windows 11 - Excel - Pie Chart - Page Layout - Effects

How to Explode a Pie Chart in Excel

It sounds dramatic, but when you explode a pie chart in Excel all you’re doing is adding spacing between the pieces. This is quite easy to achieve, and you can do it manually or automatically

  1. Click on your chart to select it

    Windows 11 - Excel Select Pie

  2. Click again and drag to the side

    You’ll see a dotted blue border around your pie that will indicate how far out your pie will explode.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Select Pie - Click & Drag

  3. Release your mouse button to apply the changes

    Windows 11 - Excel - Select Pie - Click & Drag - Result

  4. OR: Click a single slice to select it

    Windows 11 - Excel - Select Slice

  5. Drag it out to move it individually

    You can repeat the process for each slice in your pie or leave it as-is if you want to highlight a particular result.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Select Slice - Drag Out

How to Create a Pie of Pie Chart

It’s may feel a bit silly, but there are several instances where you may want to create a separate pie chart out of only part of the data from your original pie. This is inventively named the “Pie of Pie” chart. Here’s how to make one:

  1. Select your data, press the pie icon in the “Insert” tab of the ribbon, and click the pie of pie icon

    A pie of pie chart in Excel is indicated by a picture of a big and small pie with lines between them.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data -Insert - Pie of Pie

  2. Change the data used for the pie of pie by right-clicking and choosing “Format Data Series…”

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data -Insert - Pie of Pie - Format Data Series

  3. In the series options, choose what you want to split the data series by

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data -Insert - Pie of Pie - Format Data Series - Choose Options

  4. Close the data series window once your preview looks correct

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data -Insert - Pie of Pie - Format Data Series - Result

How to Create a Bar of Pie Chart

Alternatively, you can create a Bar of Pie chart, which as you may expect displays a small bar chart next to your data for the smallest. This is quite useful, as it lets viewers more easily see the differences between them:

  1. Select your data, click the pie icon, and choose the Bar of Pie chart option

    The option is in 2-D pie settings, next to the pie in pie icon.

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data -Insert - Bar of Pie

  2. The smallest sections of your pie will be automatically split into a bar chart

    Windows 11 - Excel - Data -Insert - Bar of Pie - Result

Extra: How to Make a Bar Graph in Excel

If you realized that a pie chart doesn’t really work with your data set, chances are you can’t go wrong with a trusty bar graph. We even have a dedicated bar graph in Excel guide to help you make one.

Extra: How to Find Duplicates in Excel Data and Remove Them

If you noticed that you’ve entered the same data multiple times after creating your pie chart (a common mistake) you can try some of the formulas in our how to find duplicates in Excel guide. They should get rid of them and save you a lot of manual deletion.