Drawing Pie Charts

How to Make a Pie Chart

Two Methods:

Pie charts are a form of area charts that are easy to understand with a quick look. They show the part of the total (percentage) in an easy-to-understand way. Pie charts are useful tools that help you figure out and understand polls, statistics, complex data, and income or spending. This way everybody can see what is going on. Use them to make excellent visual displays that explain data to other people-- in school projects, work presentations or pitching sales figures to clients.


Sample Pie Chart

Making Your Own Pie Chart

  1. Calculate Pie Chart Proportions
  2. Gather your numerical data and label information and write it down with one data point per line, in descending order.
  3. Add the data all together calculate the total.This number will be your denominator.
  4. Calculate the proportion of the total for each data point by dividing each one by the denominator (total) calculated above.
  5. Calculate the angle between the two sides of each pie slice.To do this, multiply each percentage (still in decimal form) by 360.
    • The logic behind this is that there are 360 degrees in a circle. If you know that 14,400 is 30 percent of the whole (or 0.30), then you're calculating 30% of 360 which is 108.
    • Check your work. Add up the number of degrees you calculated for each data point. They should total 360. If not, you've missed something and should double-check your work.
  6. Use a mathematical compass to draw a circle.To draw a pie chart accurately, you need to start with a perfect circle. This can be done using a compass (and a protractor to measure the angles). If you don't have a compass, try tracing around a circle template, using something round such as a lid or a CD.
  7. Draw the radius.Start in the exact center of the circle and draw a straight line to the outside of the circle. (Hint: make a dot with the compass to find the center.)
    • The straight line can be vertical (12 or 6 o'clock on the clock face) or horizontal (9 or 3 o'clock on the clock face). The segments you create then follow either a clockwise or counter-clockwise sequence.
  8. Place your protractor on the circle.Position it on the circle so that the 90 degrees crosshair is situated directly above the center of the circle. The zero point should be vertically aligned along the vertical plot line.
  9. Draw each section division.Draw the sections by marking the first division against the edge of the protractor at the correct angle, using the angle formulations you got in the earlier step. Each time you add a section, the radius changes to the line you just drew; rotate your protractor accordingly.
    • When marking the angle lines, make sure they are sharp and fine, to keep them clear and easy to see.
  10. Color each segment.You can use color, patterns or just words, depending on what meets your purpose best. Add the name of each section and the percent it represents in the chart.
    • Color each section of the pie chart a different color/pattern to easily visualize the results.
    • If you drew everything in pencil first, always ink in the circle before coloring in any of the segments. This is because the circle is the trickiest part to draw accurately.
    • Labels or words added to each segment should be written horizontally and centered (the same visual distance from the edge for each segment). This makes them easier to read.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    If you have data in percentage points, how you will make a pie chart?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If the data is in percentage points, multiply each number by one hundred and then follow the same steps given above.
  • Question
    How do I turn my degrees into percentages?
    Top Answerer
    To convert an angle into a pie chart percentage, divide the angle by 360°. For example, if the angle is 30°, divide 30° by 360°. That's 1/12, or 8.33%.
  • Question
    How do you find the exact value of radius?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It's up to you to decide the radius of the circle. The larger the circle, the larger the radius. You can find the diameter of the circle and divide it by two.
  • Question
    Denominator means what?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The denominator is the bottom (or right, depending on how it's written) part of the fraction. For example, if there are 6 equal pieces of cake and you take away 1, you're left with 5/6 of the cake. In 5/6, 5 is the numerator and 6 is the denominator.
  • Question
    Can a pie chart be made for negative degrees?
    Top Answerer
    No. Pie charts are for positive numbers only.
  • Question
    What can I make a pie chart about?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It can be about almost anything, as long as it uses positive numbers. For example, you can make a pie chart about what percentage of people smoke, or the percentage of cars sold by a specific company in a month or year.
  • Question
    When do I use a pie graph?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    To pictorially depict your data. It's the mathematical depiction of data more precisely.
  • Question
    If I am drawing a huge circle, do I need a huge protractor?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    For a bigger circle, you can use a disc or some large circular object to trace. You can also use a compass.
  • Question
    Is it necessary to color each segment in a pie chart?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    N,o it is not necessary but it is recommended so people will know what section it is. If you don't have colors you can just label it.
  • Question
    What is a protractor?
    Top Answerer
    It's a tool used for drawing angles.
Unanswered Questions
  • I have a value that is 0 degrees. When I put all values into the pie chart there is space left for the 0 degrees, but I am not supposed to put it in. What do I do with the leftover space?
  • How is a pie chart used?
  • Should I use the inner part of the protractor or the outer part when making a pie chart?
  • What if the angle measure is great?
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  • Double check that all angles are accurate.
  • Remember that all good graphs have a title and labels.
  • Double check the calculations, because if the calculations are wrong, naturally, you will get an incorrect graph.
  • More sophisticated versions of the pie chart include highlighting a segment by removing it, or making an "exploded pie", where each segment is pulled apart. These can be done manually or using a computer program.
  • If you do not have a very good compass, it is easier to draw the circle by holding the compass still and turning the paper.
  • Objects such as a coin or flags can be turned into pie charts for visual interest.
  • Make sure that all the percents in the pie chart add up to 100%, since 100% represents the entire pie.
  • As you gain confidence, you can shift the perspective of the pie chart around, including setting it on its side, turning it 3D or stacking various pies. These are more advanced versions and require more detailed work and knowledge.
  • Separate each sector on a pie chart from others by using different designs or colors which makes them easy to understand.
  • If using colours or symbols be sure to always add a key so other people can understand as well.
  • To calculate the angle, you must do the frequency divided by the total frequency times 360 degrees.
  • Use a protractor and a ruler when making your chart and make sure your equations are correct.


  • Always remember to check your work to make sure your calculations are correct.

Things You'll Need

  • Compass (or a circular object)
  • Protractor
  • Pencil and paper
  • Eraser for errors
  • Markers or colored pencils for coloring and inking outlines
  • Calculator

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Date: 05.12.2018, 07:52 / Views: 74184