University of Houston-Victoria

University College

Pie Graphs

Pie Graphs are also known as “pie charts” and have a reputation for being the most easily understood graph. They are used to demonstrate how a whole is divided up into fractions or parts and show how the parts relate to each other and to the whole. Pie graphs are usually based on values of 100 percent, and their advantage is that they are simple. If possible, labels of categories and numbers (values) should be in the pie chart itself. Remember that segments are placed in order according to size (from largest to smallest) and proceed in a clockwise direction. If there are more than six sections in a pie graph, you might want to consider using a different type of graph because the viewer may be confused or distracted. Very small sections (those less than 10%) are usually grouped with other small sections and labeled “other” to minimize confusion. This section can be explained with a footnote

Remember that pie graphs often take up a large amount of space and display only a little data. However, if the pie chart is necessary and the information is worth showing, this type of graph can really enhance the text in your assignment or presentation and put your audience at ease.