In early 2021, I was tasked with a task: create a pie chart showing what types of content were performing best on the marketing blog in 2020.
The question was undeniably important as it would impact what types of content we wrote in 2021 and identify new growth opportunities.
But after gathering all the relevant data I got stuck – how could I just make a pie chart to showcase my results?
Fortunately, I’ve since found out. Here, let’s explore how you can make your own Excel pie chart for great marketing reports and presentations. You will also learn how to rotate a pie chart in Excel, explode a pie chart, and even make a three-dimensional version.
Let’s dive in.
How to make a pie chart in Excel
1. Create your columns and / or rows of data. You can label any column of data – Excel will use these labels as the title for your pie chart. Then highlight the data that you want to display in the form of a pie chart.
2. Now click on “Insert” and then on the “Pie” logo at the top of Excel.
3. Here are some cake options including 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional. For our purposes, click the first image of a two-dimensional pie chart.
4. And there you have it! A pie chart appears with the dates and labels you highlighted.
If you’re not happy with the colors or the design of the pie chart, you have plenty of editing options too.
Let’s get into that next.
How to edit a pie chart in Excel
1. You can change the background color by clicking the paint bucket icon in the “Format Diagram Area” sidebar.
Then choose the fill type (whether you want a solid color as the pie chart background or a gradient or pattern fill) and the background color.
Pie chart text
2. Then click on the text in the pie chart itself if you want to rewrite, expand the text, or move the text to a new area of your pie chart.
Pie chart border
3. In the Format Chart Area area, you can also edit the edge of your pie chart – including the edge transparency, width and color.
Pie chart shadow
4. To change the pie chart field itself (including the shadow, edges, and glow of the field), click the pentagon shape in the chart area sidebar.
Then toggle the bar between Transparency, Size, Blur, and Angle until you are happy with the shadow of your pie chart box.
Pie chart colors
5. In the upper left corner of Excel, click the color palette to change the colors of your pie chart.
Excel offers a number of complementary colors – including some presets under “Colorful” and some presets under “Monochrome”. You can click between the options until you find a color palette that you are happy with.
(Alternatively, if you’d like to change the colors of your pie chart pieces one at a time, just double-click the pie chart piece, go to the painting area of the format chart area and choose a new color.)
6. Change the chart title by clicking the three-bar chart icon in the upper left corner of Excel, then going to Chart Title> None, Chart Title> Above Chart, or Chart Title> Centered Overlay.
Change the location of the data labels
7. On the same icon that has three bar charts, click Data Labels to change where your labels appear on the pie chart. (For example, would you like the pie chart pieces to be labeled in the center or on the outside of each pie chart section?)
Switch row / column
8. If you’d prefer to switch which data is shown in the pie chart, click Switch Row / Column to view alternate information that matches your original data set.
How to explode a pie chart in Excel
1. To explode a piece of your pie chart (which can help you highlight or draw attention to a specific section of your pie chart) simply double-click the piece you want to remove.
Then drag the cursor until it is the distance you want and you are done!
How to make a 3D pie chart in Excel
1. To create a three-dimensional pie chart in Excel, simply highlight your data and then click the “Pie” logo.
2. Then select the “3-D Pie” option.
3. When you’re finished, select the design option you want at the top of the screen.
How to rotate a pie chart in Excel
To rotate your pie chart, double-click the chart, then double-click the three-bar icon under “Format Data Point”.
Then toggle the “Angle of First Slice” until you’ve rotated the pie chart to the degree you want.
And there you have it! You are well on your way to creating clean, impressive pie charts for your marketing collateral to highlight important data and get stakeholders to act.
Ultimately, you’ll want to experiment with all of Excel’s unique formatting features until you find the pie chart that works best for your needs. Good luck!