Pie Chart

Display percentages and other proportional information at a glance

Peter Novosel avatar
Written by Peter Novosel
Updated over a week ago

Pie charts typically show the percentage of a value or other proportional information. The percentage represented by each category is represented as a slice of the pie.

When should I use a Pie Chart?

Choose Pie chart to display your data when it is important to give viewers a general sense of the "part-to-whole" relationships in your data - in other words, is a category a big slice or a small slice? Also, you're showing each component as a percentage of a whole, meaning that your values need to add up to 100%

See the section Pie Chart Examples below to see it in action. They highlight situations where Pie is the best choice to display your data.

Avoid using Pie charts when you're looking at data over a time series - that's the Sweet spot for Line and Area charts. You may also consider other chart types if more than half a dozen categories are being compared, as a dense Pie chart with small slices can be difficult to read. If you need to tell exactly which categories are larger or smaller you'll want to investigate Bar or Column charts as well - it's very difficult for users to tell which similar-size pie slice is bigger than the other!

Configuring Pie Chart Saved Views

Configuring a Pie chart is easy (as pie! sorry, can't avoid the pun πŸ˜†) with the SmartSuite Chart Setting panel. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Add a new Chart Saved View (see this article to learn how)

  2. Select Pie Chart Type

  3. Specify the chart's Values

  4. Pick a Group By field

Pie Chart Type

Select Pie chart under Chart Settings to get started with your configuration.

Pie Chart selector

Specifying Pie Chart Values

The Values configuration section allows you to pick which field or fields contain the data you want to display on your chart. You can specify fields that either contain a numeric value (Number, Currency, etc.) or you can pick a text or list-type field (Single Select, Multiple Select, Linked Record and similar) and count the individual values to arrive at a number.

Specifying a "Count" value type will result in the chart drawing one value line for each counted element. When you specify a numeric field, you also select how you want those numbers aggregated. Options include:

  • Sum - returns the sum (add values added together) for the selected field

  • Avg - returns the average of values in the specified field

  • Min - returns the smallest value appearing in the selected field

  • Max - returns the largest value appearing in the selected field

Pie charts are a little different than types like Line and Bar in that you have two options for values:

  1. Single Value and an optional Group By

  2. Multiple Values with NO Group By

If you choose to add multiple values to your Pie, click Add New to include additional fields like this (note that the Group By selector is disabled and displays a locked icon:

Pie Chart with multiple values

Group By

If you select a single field as your Pie chart's value, you then have the option of selecting a field to Group By. Text, date and list-type fields are available for your selection. Your values will then be split across slices of the pie according to the value in the selected Group By field, like this:

Pie Chart Group By

Configuring Pie Chart Widgets

Pie charts are great on their own, but even better on a SmartSuite Dashboard!

All of the configuration is the same as we've described above, with a handful of minor differences:

  • Widget Name: Name the Column Chart - this text will be displayed in the widget's border to let people know what data they're looking at.

  • Table: Saved Views are configured in the context of a specific Table, but widgets live at the Solution level. Start your configuration by picking which Table contains the data you want on your chart.

Once you have configured your chart parameters to your liking, click Add Widget to place it on your Dashboard. That's all there is to it!

Pie Chart Use Cases

Here are a few charting use cases to get you thinking about Pie charts and when they can be the best chart type choice.

Use Case: Category Composition

A great use of Pie charts is to show the composition of a category, especially when there is a dominant slice. Here, we've put together a chart that shows the market share for Web browsers as of January 2021... pretty clear which is in the lead!

Use Case: Emphasize a Small Fraction

If you want to emphasize that something is just a small fraction of the whole, a Pie chart is the perfect way to communicate that fact in a visual way. Here we've got a tiny slice in a sea of blue - which really makes it stand out.

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