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We have often studied pie chart templates in school and are often used to illustrate statistics using this chart at work too. A pie chart or pie graph is a circular illustration that looks like a pie. Each slice of the pie represents one category of data as part of the whole. Simple as it may seem, a pie chart can become complicated you use too many data categories on it.

History of a pie chart

A pie chart template is a circle-shaped chart with wedge-shaped sectors each illustrating proportions. The total value of the pie or all its wedges should equal 100% and each wedge is a part of the entire circle. This pie chart design, because of its simplicity, is very easy to read at a mere glance.

This is the reason why stock pie charts are commonly used in education and for business presentations to represent the proportions across different categories including segments of populations, expenses, answers to surveys, and more.

Pie charts have been in existence since the 1800s when people used them to illustrate maps and statistics. The benevolent Florence Nightingale introduced the use of the pie graph or chart to present statistics. Her chart illustrations called the attention of the Western World about mortality rates during the Crimean War due to poor sanitary conditions.

Downloadable Templates:

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How does a pie chart differ from other types of charts?

Some say that the parts of the pie chart template are a challenge to compare with other pie charts. Also, if a stock pie chart has too many slices, these slices in the pie chart would be a challenge to visually compare against each other unlike the heights of the bars in a bar graph. Let us discuss briefly other charts to understand more about how the pie chart performs in comparison:

  • Bar Chart
    These charts are easier to understand or interpret when you need to compare categories or understand at changes over time. What this chart lacks is the part-whole relationship that the pie chart advantageously has. Pie charts can imply that a change in one wedge automatically changes another. This doesn’t apply to two bars in a bar chart.
  • Donut Chart
    This one is almost visually similar to a pie chart except that it has a blank space at its center, a donut used to contain another layer of data. The aim of the chart is also to illustrate proportions.
  • Ring Chart
    This is a variation of the pie chart. It’s a donut chart with several layers and rings that represent data hierarchies concentrically.

What data can you represent on a pie chart template?

A pie chart design is a circle-shaped graph used to show the relative contributions of different categories contributing to a whole. The pie is usually divided into wedges of different sizes, each representing a category’s contribution. Here are some examples of data that you can present using a pie chart:

  • Data that you can also present using a small table.
  • Data that you can classify into ordinal or nominal categories. Nominal data is usually categorized according to qualitative or descriptive information like place of birth, type of car owned, and more. Ordinal data is a lot like nominal data except that you can rank the different categories. For instance, in a survey, you may ask people whether they’re classed as either very poor, poor, fair, good or very good.
  • Data that is either proportional or percentage. Usually, you provide the percentage represented by each of the categories next to its corresponding slice of the pie.
  • Data that involves six or fewer categories. More categories would make it challenging for the eyes to distinguish the different sizes of the sectors, thus, making the chart more challenging to interpret.

Simple as a pie chart is, a lot of people don’t know how to use it correctly. When interpreting or creating your own pie chart design, consider these important aspects:

  • What it means
    The slices of the pie charts should have meaningful concepts when taken as a whole. Otherwise, you may want to consider using another type of chart. Always remember that a pie chart must easily make sense with a single glance.
  • Exclusivity
    Don’t make the mistake of setting exclusive numbers, percentages or parts into the pie chart. Should you have any overlaps between the figures, try resetting your data or maybe consider using another type of chart. If you have categories with sizes that are almost similar, think about how to interpret these.
  • The purpose
    It’s not appropriate to use a pie chart for comparing between different parts. Instead, you should use it to show the relationship between overall and partial elements. Pie charts can be very effective for categorical data groups as each wedge shows a specific category.
  • Consider the value of the data
    Pie charts templates are normally used for six or fewer sets of varying values. Too many may cause difficulty in reading as our eyes cannot relatively distinguish the sizes among sections. Also, remember that you cannot use pie charts for zero or negative values.
  • No axes
    These are not shown as other elements in the pie chart although it’s the perimeter of the circle that actually contributes to the axis. Don’t try to use a pie chart if you need to present data trends.

How to make a pie chart template?

Pie charts templates are commonly used for comparing statistics. This chart gets its name from its appearance, a circle with small sections that look like pie slices. Each slice is a portion of the total percentage. This makes it easily understood and, as such, can be an excellent tool for sharing complex data.

Moreover, it’s also very easy to create a pie chart. You can do it by hand with the use of a mathematical compass and markers or pencils. For the tech-savvy, you can make a digital pie chart using a word processing software. Here are the steps to make a pie chart template using different methods:

  • Using Microsoft Excel
    In the spreadsheet, input each of the data’s label on the left-hand column.
    Then input each of the corresponding data in the row next to it.
    Highlight the numbers and labels by clicking on the top cell. Then hold the mouse button down before you drag it over everything you want to select.
    Release the mouse button then click on the small icon that appears beside the numbers.
    Click on Charts > Pie Charts to create a pie chart.
  • Using Microsoft Word
    Click on the “Insert” tab.
    Click the “Chart” button.
    On the left side, click “Pie” then choose the style that you want for your chart. On the new window that pops up, choose the style of your chart.
    Edit each of the labels by typing the categories of your data.
    Edit the chart’s title by clicking on it and inputting the title. Replace each of the values next to each of the labels according to your data.
  • Drawing your pie chart template
    Use a mathematical compass for drawing a circle on a piece of paper. Do this if you want the circle to be both accurate and clean. On the mathematical compass, slide t pencil into the holder to attach it. Press the needle into the point where you want the center of your pie chart to be. Turn the compass around to make a circle while keeping the needle still to ensure precision.
    Draw a line from the middle of the circle to its edge to create the radius. Hold the needle of the compass in place then turn the pencil to the top part of the circle. Draw a straight line with the pencil going down after you loosen the hinge.
    Depending on what your compass’ style is, you might have to place a dot in the middle after you move the needle then draw the line with a ruler.
    Line up the radius using a protractor. Place the tiny hole at the bottom of the protractor right on the point of the needle of your compass. Draw a straight line upward using the 90-degree mark on the protractor. The hole at the bottom of the protractor is the crosshair that you use for making perfect 90-degree angles. This is essential to create the wedges of your pie chart.
    Draw each of the slices by moving the crosshair every time you draw a new line. Keep the crosshair in the middle of the circle then add the first point of data to 90. You can see this value on the exterior of the protractor then create a mark for it. Then, draw a line from the mark you’ve made to the middle of the circle. Draw each of the lines using the 90-degree point for the next part that you calculate.
    Color each of the segments and come up with a key for the pie chart. Color code each section making it easy to find out what each of the slices refers to. Outline the circle and all of the pencil marks using a black marker to make all the colors pop.


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