• Bernard

Tableau charts: Pie chart

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

The series, Tableau charts has always focused on one thing, helping Tableau users learn how to create different charts and graphs hence equipping them with different techniques of telling each data story.

Inspired by the mission of this series, this post will teach you how to build 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 by ensuring their story holds. This is because when a field with more than five category's is used in a pie chart, in most cases it will be difficult to spot the differences between category's varying by a small margin.

Note; Such small differences can be amplified by other charts like Bar chart.

It's recommended to use fields with fewer category's when creating a pie chart. Lets create a pie chart to show Sales for different Regions in the Superstores data set.

Lets build our chart.

  • 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.

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

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

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

See below.

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 Bar chart and Pie chart respectively, which one do you think is telling the story better?

For me, I think the Bar chart is a better chart. Reason being, you can tell the differences at a glance unlike in the Pie chart where you need to read the values. See for example, the West and East Region's performance. It is not interpret-able at a glance in the Pie chart. But for the Bar chart,.. it is pretty obvious.

I hope this article was useful to you.

Thanks for reading.


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