3 Simple Pie Chart Tricks

 Feb 29, 2016

In Microsoft Excel, here’s some data and a nice pie chart I’ve just made from this data. It’s a good idea when making a pie chart to only choose one row or column of data and the corresponding headings for that data. In this case I’ve chosen the cells A4:A9 and F5:F9 (by holding down the Ctrl key on the keyboard when choosing the second area of cells). I’m using Excel 2013 for my examples, but these tricks work in all versions of Excel.

Make the chart title automatically update

You probably already know that if you change the data that the chart is based on then the chart automatically updates. However you may not have known that you can also have the chart title update by doing the following:

  • Click on the Chart Title so that it is selected and it has the selection circles around its edges. Then click in the formula bar and type an equals sign =
  • Then click on the cell that you want to be linked to the chart title. In this case I’m going use the cell B3.
  • It should look something like so:

    • Lastly press Enter on the keyboard. The chart title should update. Now if I change what is in the cell B3, the chart title will update automatically.

    Note: This option can actually be used on all types of chart not just pie charts.

    Explode a Pie chart

    Yes, before I start you did read correctly we are going to explode a pie chart, exploding pies all round!

    When you click on the pieces of pie on a pie chart to select them, you’ll notice that if you simply left click once then you end up choosing all the pieces of pie. (All the pieces have the selection circles on the corners. If you left click again on the piece of pie you want you will only choose that one piece.

    Note: this is different to double clicking, this is a single left click followed another single left click.

    If you choose just one piece of pie and click and drag that piece outward you can ‘explode’ that piece out from the others. If you want to 'explode' all the pieces of pie, simply click and drag the pie outward from the centre, in this case don’t try to choose any of the pieces first, just click and drag without selecting the pie first.

    Drag the pieces back toward the centre of the pie if you want to 'unexplode' a pie chart.

    Rotate a pie chart

    Lastly you may want to rotate a pie chart, especially a 3D pie chart like I have made so the more important piece(s) of pie are at the front. The easiest way to rotate a pie chart is to click on the pie and then right click and choose Format Data Series…

    In the menu that appears to the right, you can change the angle to rotate all the pieces of the pie chart.

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About the Author:

Matthew Goodall  

Matthew is a qualified Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Certified Applications Specialist and a Microsoft Certified Trainer with over 11 years of hands-on experience in a training facilitation role. He is one of New Horizons most dynamic instructors who consistently receives high feedback scores from students. Matt enjoys helping students achieve real professional and personal growth through the courses he delivers. He is best known for creating “fans” of students, who regularly request him as an instructor for any future courses they undertake at New Horizons.

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