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5 Mistakes to avoid – Pie Chart

To visualize our data, using pie chart can be a good choice, but we need to know how to do it.  If we google it we can find a lot of example for Pie Charts but most of them are not correct. In this article we will show the 5 most often made mistakes. If we avoid them we can be pretty sure we will make correct Pie Charts.

On the following picture we can find the best example for incorrect pie chart.



Let’s start one by one:

  1. Use only 2 but maximum 3 or 4 categories. If we use more it won’t be easy to understand and the viewers will be lost in details.
  2. The 3D version has no sense. It sounds good that we have a “3D pie chart” but the only thing we get is more chaos. Of course there are always a good example or a good case for using 3D pie charts, like Steve Jobs did, but it was a special case. For everyday usage 2D pie charts are the bests.
  3. Using different shades and opacity also does not make any sense. In data visualization we want to make the charts more understandable, not complicated.
  4. Place the data and the legend on the chart, not somewhere beside the chart. It is confusing if our eyes have to move between the numbers and the chart. But even if we place the numbers in different boxes, align them right.
  5. Don’t use exploded pie charts. It is harder to compare the size of the parts. Don’t forget, be simple and easy to understand.

For more information about circle visualization check our previous blogpost and learn more about data science:


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