FAQ: Why Are Pie Charts Bad?

Why is a pie chart misleading?

Pie chart. The usage of percentages as labels on a pie chart can be misleading when the sample size is small. Making a pie chart 3D or adding a slant will make interpretation difficult due to distorted effect of perspective. Bar-charted pie graphs in which the height of the slices is varied may confuse the reader.

What is wrong with a pie chart?

The problem with pie charts is that they force us to compare areas (or angles), which is pretty hard. Comparing objects along one dimension is a lot easier than along two, which makes comparing the length of bars a lot easier than the areas of pie slices.

When should you not use a pie chart?

Whenever there is similarity in the information available, a pie chart is not the right chart to use. Whenever there are multiple (3 or more) different points of data, a pie chart is not the right chart to use. Pie charts are very easy to abuse.

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Should you ever use a pie chart?

Today, pie charts are anathema to most serious data visualizers. Leading experts like Edward Tufte suggest they should almost never be used. The truth is that charts aren’t only about communicating data effectively. They’re also about aesthetics and drawing in an audience.

What can I use instead of a pie chart?

Stacked Bar Charts are the closest linear equivalent to Pie Charts, in terms of both one-to-one mapping and layout. They may be the best alternatives to Pie charts. A single-series Pie chart with N slices is actually equivalent with N series of Full 100% Stacked Bars, each with one single value.

Why are 3D pie charts bad?

Part two of the argument is that adding 3D makes them worse. For some background, check out this, and this, and this. The underlying point is that 3D tends to skew how we perceive the data. You may think you are adding depth and visual intrigue, but you are actually making it harder to understand.

Why is a bar chart better than a pie chart?

The bar/column chart excels at showing discrete data while comparing one data-point vs. another, while the pie chart is the classic way to show how various parts makes up a whole. For example, the bar chart is also great for showing time series data.

How do you increase a pie chart?

How to make pie charts look better

  1. Don’t use more than five sections. Too many skinny slices are hard to read.
  2. Place the largest slices from “12” at the top (like on a clock) and work your way around the circle. Like this:
  3. Avoid comparing one pie chart to another.
  4. Don’t use 3-D pie charts.
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Why do we use pie charts?

A pie chart expresses a part-to-whole relationship in your data. Imagine an actual pie (I’ll let you choose your favorite variety!). Each slice represents one component and all slices added together equal the whole. A pie chart provides us this comfort of a part-to-whole relationship.

How do you put data into a pie of pie chart?

Double- click the slice you want to pull out, and then drag that slice away from the center of the chart. Draw attention to small slices in a pie-of-pie or bar-of-pie chart

  1. Right-click the chart and then click Change Series Chart Type.
  2. Click Pie, and then click Pie of Pie or Bar of Pie.

Can a pie chart be more than 100 percent?

Pie charts are designed to show parts of a whole, so any sum below or above 100% doesn’t represent the entire picture. Finally, when it comes to legends, pie charts don’t generally need one. It’s cleaner to label your data directly.

Which is best conveyed using a pie chart?

A pie chart is best used when trying to work out the composition of something. If you have categorical data then using a pie chart would work really well as each slice can represent a different category. A good example of a pie chart can be seen below.

When would a pie chart be an effective visualization?

In short, a pie chart can only be used if the sum of the individual parts add up to a meaningful whole, and is built for visualizing how each part contributes to that whole. Meanwhile, a bar chart can be used for a broader range of data types, not just for breaking down a whole into components.

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Do you think pie charts are an effective visualization tool?

Pie charts are relatively not an effective visualization tool. There are better visualization tools such as a bar graph that can effectively visualize the differences in the proportions of data. In a pie chart, the differences in the proportions or “slices” of data is not very obvious.

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