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Tableau charts: Pie chart

Updated: May 17


Pie chart in Tableau

Definition

Pie chart just like donut chart is used to show numeric proportion (part-to-whole analysis).

Example of a pie chart

example of pie chart created in Tableau

Pie chart best practices

  • Do not use pie chart for dimensions with more than three categories.

  • Avoid pie chart if goal is to help user make fine distinctions.

  • Always label the chart clearly

  • Provide additional details on the tooltips.

Step by step guide on how to create pie chart in Tableau

In this post I will teach you how to create a pie chart using Superstores data set pre-packaged with Tableau app.

Pie charts are easy to build in Tableau. However, when you build them take the necessary precaution to ensure their story holds. This is because when a field with more than five categories is used to create a pie chart, in most cases it will be difficult to spot the differences between categories varying by a small margin.

Note: Such small differences can be amplified by other chart types like bar chart.

Lets create a pie chart to show Sales for different Regions in the Superstores data set.

  • Drag the dimension field Region to the Rows shelf.

  • Drag the measure field Sales to the Columns shelf.

  • Under Show Me tab, select Pie charts.

See the resulting chart.

simple tableau pie chart

How to label pie chart in Tableau?

Note, our chart above has no story to tell, apart from differentiating Regions using color. To add values.

  • Drag dimension field Region to the Label shelf under the marks card.

  • Drag measure field Sales to the Label shelf under the marks card.

See below.

tableau pie chart labels

Now we can tell how different Regions performed. But the question is, is this the best chart to use? Lets find out. Below is the same data presented in a pie chart and bar chart respectively, which one do you think is telling the story better?

tableau pie chart versus bar chart

Conclusion

I think the bar chart is the best chart. Reason being, you can tell the differences at a glance unlike in the case of pie chart where you need to read the values. See for example, the West and East Region's performance. It is not interpretable at a glance in the pie chart, but for the bar chart,.. it is pretty obvious.

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Thanks for reading.

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