A pie chart (also known as a circle chart) is a circular graph that visually displays the proportional data or relative data in a single chart. It is one of the simplest kinds of charts in statistics and data visualization.

A pie chart is best used when trying to show relative proportions or parts of the whole. The pie chart is divided into segments (slices), where each slice represents a percentage of the overall total amount. Unlike line charts or bar charts, pie charts can only be used to represent a single data series.

For example, a pie chart can be used to show the number of different mobiles sold by a store in a single day, or different animal populations in a forest, or how much money spent on each expense in a monthly budget.

In this tutorial, we’ll provide you step-by-step instructions for creating and customizing a pie chart in Google Sheets.

A pie chart is great for comparing parts within the same larger category. To create a pie chart, you need to set up your data in a worksheet, then insert and format your chart.

Prepare Your Data for Pie Chart

Before creating your pie chart, you need to enter and format your data first. A pie chart can only display one data series which is a group of related data points.

Your data should be entered in two columns: one for a label or category and another for its value (where each row represents a slice of the pie). You can also enter your category names in a row and the values in the adjacent row. 

Note: The values should always positive numeric values, if you add a negative value or 0 in a row, it will not appear in the chart.

The following table shows the number of fans for favorite tv shows from a random sample of 1000 people.

We’ll use the above sample data to create a pie chart in Google Sheets.

Insert a Pie Chart in Google Sheets

Once you formatted your data, as shown above, highlight the range of data including headers.

Then, click the ‘Insert’ menu and select ‘Chart’. Or click on the chart icon in tool bar.

Your selected data will immediately turn into a chart.

Change the Chart Type

By default, Google Sheets will create a chart type that most fits your data. It will most likely be a pie chart, if not, you can easily change it to a pie chart.

To change the chart type to Pie chart, click on the three vertical dots on the upper-right corner of the pie chart and select ‘Edit the chart’ to open the Chart editor.

Then, click the ‘Chart type’ drop-down menu under the ‘Setup’ tab of the Chart editor and select one of the three pie charts types in the Pie section.

To create a doughnut pie chart, select the second option under the ‘Pie’ section of the ‘Chart type’ drop-down menu.

The Doughnut chart:

To create a 3D pie chart, select the third option under the ‘Pie’ section of the ‘Chart type’ drop-down menu.

3D pie chart:

To create a 3D doughnut pie chart, select the select ‘Doughnut Chart’ option first and then select ‘3D Pie Chart’.

Edit and Customize the Pie Chart

Most of the time, inserting a chart won’t enough. You still need to customize it to make it look better. You can edit and customize almost every part of the pie chart using the Chart editor pane.

The chart editor has two sections: Setup and Customise. The Setup section allows you to edit the chart while the Customise section allows you to change its appearances.

When you insert the pie chart, the Chart editor pane will also open up on the right side of the window. If it doesn’t open automatically, you can open it anytime. To open the Chart editor, click on the three vertical dots (vertical ellipsis) on the upper-right corner of the pie chart and select ‘Edit Chart’.

Change the Data Range

If you want to change the source data range, you can easily do it in Chart editor.

Just click on the table icon in the ‘Data Range’ field in the Chart editor.

Then, a ‘Select a data range’ dialog will appear. You can now select a new range by highlight the cells in the workbook, or you can manually type the range in the box.

This will automatically change your pie chart according to your new data.

Changing the Labels and Values on the Pie Chart

In the Chart editor, there is also an option to change your pie chart labels and values (size of the slices).

To change labels, click on the Label menu in the chart editor and select different labels in a different data range.

To change values, click on the ‘Value’ menu and choose different values or select a new range by clicking the table icon.

Changing Chart Style of Pie Chart

When you click on the ‘Chart style’ menu of the Customise tab, it will give you some layout options to change the background of the pie chart, the border color of the chart, and the font style.

There are also options to maximize your chart as well as to convert the normal chart into a 3-D pie chart.

When you select the ‘Maximise’ box, it will reduce margins, paddings, and extra space for your chart.

Checking the ‘3D’ box will convert your normal pie chart into a 3-D pie chart.

Changing the Pie chart option

The Pie chart section of the Customise tab provides options to convert your normal pie chart into a doughnut chart, change the border color of each slice, and add a label to each slice as well as options to format the labels.

Click on the ‘Pie chart’ drop menu in the Customise tab to view these options.

To convert your chart to a doughnut chart, click on the ‘Doughnut hole’ option and chose your hole size. And you can change the border color of slices with the ‘Border color’ option.

From this section, you can also set what kind of label you want to show on each slice from the ‘Slice label’ option. Click on the ‘Slice label’ option and choose your label. You can display labels (categories), values, percentage of the values, or values and percentages on the slices.

After you chose the label type from the ‘Slice label’ option, you can format the font of the labels with the below options.

Customize the Pie Slice

Google Sheets allows you to change the color of each slice (section) in the Pie slice section.

To do that, open the Pie slices section under Customise tab of the chart editor. Then choose a slice from the drop-down menu and change its color in the color selector beneath it.

In this section, you can also explode or expand one or more slices to make them stand out from the rest of the pie chart. By doing this you can draw viewers’ attention to a particular slice.

Explode or expand a Pie Chart in Google Sheets:

To explode a pie chart, click on the ‘Customize’ tab in the Chart Editor and on the ‘Pie Slice’ section. In the drop-down menu, select the slice that you want to protrude slightly outside (explode).

Or, you can directly double click on the particular slice in the chart and it will open up this option on the right side of the window with that slice selected.

Then in the ‘Distance from centre’ drop-down menu, select how far you want that slice to expand (25%).

Apart from choosing the given options, you can also manually enter the distance in the ‘Distance from the centre’ field (e.g. 30%).

And the selected slice will stand out from the rest of the Pie chart as shown below.

Set the Chart Title

The next section of the customise tab is the chart and axis title. Here, you can add a chart title or subtitle for your chart.

To add a title to the chart, go to the ‘Customise’ tab in the Chart editor, then open the ‘Chart and axis titles’ section.

In the drop-down menu, choose whether you want to add ‘Chart title’ or ‘Chart subtitle’ and then type your preferred title on the ‘Title text’ field.

With the options below the text box, you can change the title font, title font size, title format, alignment, and title font color.

Change the Legend Position

The last section in the Customise tab of the Chart editor is the Legend, which allows you change the position of the legend, legend font, the legend font size, legend format as well as the legend font color.

Usually, the default position of the legend would be labelled, but you can change it by clicking the ‘Position’ drop-down and choosing a different position.

You can either choose one of the pre-existing positions or you can select and drag the legend section to your custom position.

Then, you can change legend font, the legend font size, legend format, and legend font color with the options below the Position drop-down menu.

Sometimes when you change the size and position of the legend, it won’t fit properly inside the graph. In cases like these, you can easily resize the pie chart by selecting the chart and dragging the squares along the edges to your preferred size.

Here’s what our pie chart looks like after customizations.

Download the Pie Chart in Google Sheets

Once you finished creating and customizing your chart, you can also download any of your charts from Google sheets to your locale drive. You can download your chart in three different formats: a PNG image, a PDF document, or a scalable vector graphic file. You can then use them in reports, presentations, or websites, etc.

To download the pie chart, click and select the chart. Then, click the three vertical dots (vertical ellipsis), select ‘Download’, and choose your desired format to download.

You can download the pie chart to your local drive as a PNG image, a PDF file, or an SVG file.

Publish the Chart

After you created your pie chart/any chart, you may want to share that chart with others or embed the chart in an article or webpage. You can do that by publishing the chart on the web.

To publish the pie chart, click the action menu (More menu) at the top right corner of the chart and select the ‘Publish the chart’ option.

A publish to the web configuration box will show up.

If your chart is not already selected, click the option selector right below the Link section and choose the chart that you want to publish.

In the next option selector, choose whether you want to publish your chart as an interactive object or as an image. It’s better to show your chart as an ‘Interactive’, so choose that. Then, click ‘Publish’.

Google Drive will ask for confirmation, click the ‘OK’ button.

Your chart will be published and a publication link will be generated. Copy that link and share it with anyone you want. Anyone who has the link can see the chart. 

You can use the link under the ‘Embed’ section to embed the chart onto your posts or webpages.

If you make any changes on the chart’s data range, the chart will be automatically updated.

To stop publishing the chart, click the ‘Published content & settings’ option at the bottom of the ‘Publish to the web’ dialog window.

Then, click the ‘Stop publishing’ button.

And click ‘OK’ in the Google Drive confirmation.

Your chart will be unpublished and anyone using the missing chart link will get an error message as shown below.

Another way to stop the publication is by deleting the chart from the sheet or deleting sheet the itself.

We hope this exhaustive tutorial would be helpful in creating and customizing a pie chart in Google Sheets.