Format and Group Small Slices in Pie Charts

Although pie charts are quite common and almost universally understood, they are often misused. While they are suitable for data sets with a small number of data points, many people often try to use them for data series with multiple points. This means that they end up with a chart that has so many segments it is almost illegible and generally unintelligible. While it is best to avoid pie charts if your data set is above a certain size, there may be occasions when you feel obliged to use one for certain reasons. In cases such as these, it is best to make use of a pie chart where any small segments are grouped together as one unit.

When creating a chart like this you should take the standard approach of selecting your data and then click on ‘Insert’, followed by ‘Chart’. Then choose a ‘Pie of Pie’ chart. This will give you a large pie chart, with a smaller pie chart providing a ‘blow-up’ view of the smallest segments. Once you have created your chart you can then right click on it and select ‘Format Series’. Choose ‘Series Options’, and then Split Series By Percentage Value. You can then choose which segments will be shown in the secondary pie chart by setting a percentage limit. Everything below this limit will be transferred to the smaller chart.


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