If you are looking to summarize a set of nominal data or present the different values ​​of a given variable, for example, the distribution of percentages, you can use a circular chart.

This is one of the most popular types of charts for data visualization. Whether in statistics or a basic presentation, this diagram is known to everyone. 

Let’s learn more about its features so you can decide to use it in your next data representation.

What is a circular graph?

A circular chart, also called a pie chart , is a way of summarizing a set of nominal data or of presenting the different values ​​of a given variable (for example, a percentage distribution). 

This type of graph is made up of a circle divided into sectors. Each sector represents a particular category. The area of ​​each sector is the same proportion of the circle that the category is from the total data.

Circular graphs usually show a part of a whole. Sometimes an area is separated from the rest of the circle to highlight the importance of the information. This is called a broken down pie chart.

Examples of a circular graph

Circular graph are graphs that reflect the related parts of different groups or categories of data. Pie charts show users what a fraction looks like on paper in a good visual representation of different data sets.

Pie chart example 1
Each 1% contribution of a part to a global pie chart corresponds to an angle of 3.6 degrees. 

Pie chart example 2

Tips for creating a circular graph

Here are some tips to consider if you are going to use a pie chart to graph data :

  1. Determine the data: First, identify the categories or variables you want to represent in the pie chart. Make sure you have the corresponding numerical values ​​for each category.
  2. Calculate the percentages : Based on the numerical values, calculate the percentage that each category represents with respect to the total. You can do this by dividing the value of each category by the sum total of all the values ​​and then multiplying by 100.
  3. Sort the categories : Sort the categories from largest to smallest or smallest to largest, according to your preferences. This can make the graph easier to read and highlight the most important or relevant categories.
  4. Choose a software or tool : Use graphing software or an online tool to create the pie chart. Some popular options include Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or specific data visualization software like TuDashboard
  5. Select an appropriate layout : Choose a pie chart layout that is clear and easy to interpret. Make sure category labels and percentages are legible and aligned correctly.
  6. Avoid too many categories : If you have too many categories, the pie chart can become confusing and difficult to understand. Try to limit the number of categories to maintain clarity and readability.
  7. Highlight important categories : If there is a category or a few categories that are especially significant or prominent, you can highlight them using bolder colors or separating them slightly from the rest of the graph.
  8. Provide a legend or labels : Include a clear legend or labels that indicate the meaning of each section of the pie chart. This will make it easier for readers to interpret the graph.
  9. Using colors : It is very useful to shade or color the different sections of the pie charts from light to dark. This can improve the presentation of the data.
  10. Avoid 3D effects : 3D effects are nice, but you shouldn’t consider them to highlight your data on a pie chart. Three-dimensional elements can distract from the important message, making it difficult to compare the size of different data sets. Additionally, using 3D effects will exaggerate the actual influence of your percentages.

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