Creating a pie chart is extremely easy using Microsoft Excel. In this article, we'll look at how to create a basic pie using Excel.

Getting your data ready for your pie chart

The most common approach for creating a a pie chart in Excel is to first setup your data in a basic table. Make sure that your first column contains the labels and your second, the values. For this example, we're going to create a pie chart based on the number of NBA Championships won by each team. Since there are 30 teams in the NBA, we'll focus on those that have won a minimum of 5 championships and group the others into an "Other" category. Here is what our data looks like:

Creating your pie chart

To create a chart from the data, highlight the data range (cells A1:B6 in this case) and select Insert > Charts (group) and select the Pie Chart option. For this example I've selected the 3-D Pie option on the second row.

A pie chart object is created on the sheet. Modify the pie chart properties by first selecting the pie chart and then going to the Chart option that appears at the top of the menu tool bar.  From here you can modify the design and format properties of the chart. I've modified the chart title, color scheme and chart style below.

pie chart excel

In the example above, we started with the data and turned this into our chart. In Excel, you also have an option to create the chart object first and then provide the data to populate the chart. To do this, first select the pie chart from the Insert > Charts menu to select one of the pie chart options. This will create an empty pie chart object on the sheet. Next, select Chart Tools > Design > Select Data (Data group). This opens the Select Data Source dialogue box. Note that the chart object must be selected for the Chart Tools menu to appear.

Under Legend Entries (Series) click Add. Then for Series values, select the values in cells B1:B6 and click OK. You can leave the Series name field blank. But whatever is entered here will be used to populate the chart title. Next, in the Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels section, click the Edit button and for Axis label range  select the values in cells A1:A6. and click OK. Excel generates the same chart as above. Again, you can modify the chart design and formatting using the Chart Tools menu as described above.

Ready to move beyond Excel? There are other ways to create visualizations that offer more advanced options and flexibility. Check out "How to create a bar chart in Displayr".