More on the Pie Chart

The question of whether pie charts are as good as they would appear to be (judging by their popularity with business users), continues to be examined. The excellent statistical visualization / infographics blog,, recently discussed alternatives to the pie chart when reviewing the results of a reader survey. Here is a brief screengrab from their post:

Alternatives to the Pie Chart

Continue with this post for more by clicking on the “read more” link:

Here are some Dashboard Spy posts on the subject of Pie Charts and data visualization. Thanks for all the Dashboards By Example readers who have commented on this subject in the past.

History of the Pie Chart

(Where we looked at this early pie chart usage)

The First Pie Chart

Don’t Eat the Pie Chart where we examined warnings against using pie charts. I guess we should jump on the bandwagon of not liking pie charts!

Square Pie Charts – a look at pie chart alternatives that are square in shape.

Remember this one?

Square Pie Graph

Tags: Data visualization with pie charts

4 thoughts on “More on the Pie Chart

  1. Nathan left out a simple table as a worthy alternative to a pie chart. His bubbly thing was really just a table with decorations on the numbers.

    At least he listed the bar chart first.

    The square pie chart is even more ineffective than the regular pie, because of a tendency to use more items, and a tendency for items to bee arbitrarily shaped to fit into the allotted space.

    I believe the problem with pie charts (and their cousins, the gauges) is that people are so familiar with these graphics, they don’t realize the graphics aren’t telling them much.

  2. Either bars or a stacked bar works for me.

    I appreciate the point about “being part of a whole”, but where items are charted in a bar chart, and are all one colour / style, then I expect them to be part of a series (or a whole), so I’m not sure I agree.

    Plus the pie takes a whole lot of room. The stacked bar is good due to its size – it allows room for other measures.

    One of my dashboards has a pie chart on it though. I was explicitly ordered to put it there, so that was that!

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