Pie Charts: Visualizing the Story in Your Data

Pie Charts: Visualizing the Story in Your Data

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    Pie Charts: Visualizing the Story in Your Data

    In a business environment, presenting complex data in a simple way is no longer just a skill but a necessity. Pie charts are powerful storytellers among the various tools available. They excel at showing proportions within a whole with clarity. This blog will explore how pie charts can be used during data analysis to express metrics.

    What is a pie chart?

    A pie chart is a circular graphic divided into slices representing proportions. Pie charts are used to visually represent the distribution of categories or values within a whole, making it easier for viewers to grasp different components’ relative contribution.

    A pie chart sample in Bold BI
    A pie chart sample in Bold BI

    Advantages of visualizing data using pie charts

    Pie charts are versatile data visualization tools with several advantages for effectively conveying information.

    Enhanced narrative building

    Pie charts facilitate corporate storytelling by arranging data graphically into a familiar form, which helps companies convey their successes, difficulties, or objectives.

    Engaging stakeholders

    Compared to plain data grids, pie charts are a more effective tool for drawing in stakeholders and promoting a better grasp of business indicators.

    Useful for percentage representation

    Pie charts work especially well for data that is constitutes percentages of a whole, such as market share, spending allotments, or survey results.

    Visual representation of proportions

    Pie charts effectively represent the proportion of each category in relation to the whole. The size of each slice is proportional to the percentage it represents, providing an intuitive understanding of the distribution.

    When to visualize data in a pie chart

    • To emphasize dominant categories within a dataset.
    • To emphasize the proportional relationships among different categories and the overall composition of a dataset.
    • To visualize the proportionality of categories within a whole.
    • To showcase a limited number of distinct categories, usually five or fewer.

    When not to visualize data in a pie chart

    • When you have more than seven categories.
    • When comparing exact values among slices.
    • When analyzing trends over time.
    • When data has intricate relationships.
    • When data overlaps or has shared elements.

    Configuring data in a pie chart in Bold BI

    A pie chart widget can be visualized in Bold BI by following these steps:

    1. Choose the table or view containing the data you want for your pie chart.
    2. Drag the pie chart widget onto your dashboard designer.
    3. Click the properties icon to navigate to the widget’s settings tab.
    4. Navigate to the Assign Data Drag the categorical field to the Values section and the numerical area to the Columns section.
    5. Ensure that the data is aggregated and formatted appropriately.
    6. Update the title and all the relevant basic settings, including the color codes under the properties tab.

    For detailed information on configuring pie charts, check out our help documentation.

    Tips for visualizing data in a pie chart

    • Limit the number of categories: Keep the number of categories in the pie chart to a minimum for clarity and ease of interpretation.
    • Use clear and concise labels: Label each pie slice with its proper category and value. Avoid using abbreviations that all viewers may not understand.
    • Choose appropriate colors: Use colors that are easily distinguishable and consistent with the data’s meaning.
    • Add a legend: If necessary, include a legend explaining the meaning of each color or pattern used in the pie chart.
    • Keep it simple: Eliminate unnecessary elements and decorations to focus on the key data points.

    Use cases of pie charts

    Finance: invoices by payment period

    This pie chart from Bold BI’s Harvest Financial and Invoicing Insights dashboard illustrates invoice distribution across different payment periods, aiding in financial planning and process optimization by identifying patterns in the billing cycle. The use of distinct colors presents the data clearly.

    Invoices by payment period
    Invoices by payment period

    Sales: products by payment term

    This pie chart from Bold BI’s Shopify Sales dashboard displays product categories by payment terms, which helps businesses understand the proportion of their products in each payment structure. The value labels clearly point out the percentages, ensuring easier data analysis.


    Products by payment term
    Products by payment term

    Support: tickets by status

    This pie chart allows support leads to assess their team’s workload, aiding in resource allocation. The legend clearly identifies the meaning of each color in the pie chart.

    Tickets by status
    Tickets by status

    Healthcare: distribution of pain levels

    This pie chart, from Bold BI’s Patient Health Monitoring dashboard, visually displays patient-reported pain levels, providing valuable insights for healthcare settings. It aids in patient assessments and pain management strategies.

    Distribution of pain levels
    Distribution of pain levels

    Government: accidents by vehicle type

    This pie chart from Bold BI’s Motor Vehicle Accident Analysis dashboard can be used to visually present accidents by vehicle type, providing a quick overview of incidents across different vehicle categories. This information is helpful for traffic safety analysis, insurance risk assessments, and policy planning.

    Accidents by vehicle type
    Accidents by vehicle type

    HR: employees by department

    This pie chart in a Bold BI’s Workforce Performance Management dashboard presents employee distribution across departments, aiding management in understanding department sizes, identifying restructuring opportunities, and planning for budget and hiring needs.

    Employees by department
    Employees by department

    Insurance: policy holder age distribution

    This pie chart from Bold BI’s Insurance Performance dashboard visualizes policyholder age distribution, aiding insurance companies in understanding the demographic composition of their customers, tailoring policies and marketing, and setting terms. It aids in targeted decision-making regarding coverage offerings and premium structures.

    Policy holder age distribution
    Policy holder age distribution

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    In conclusion, from our exploration of pie charts, it’s evident that they are versatile and useful in data communication. Harness their simplicity, wield their visual impact, and let your data speak clearly through a pie chart in a Bold BI dashboard.

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