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Donut Chart

Emphasize large differences in part-to-whole relationships in your data

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

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A Donut chart presents exactly the same information as a Pie chart - percentage or proportionality of a value - except that the chart features a hole in the center.

When should I use a Donut Chart?

Choose Donut 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? Like Pie, you're showing each component as a percentage of a whole, meaning that your values need to add up to 100%

So how do I choose between Pie and Donut? We would suggest that if you have more than 4 or 5 categories, go with a Pie chart. If you have 2 to 4 categories, consider going with a Donut. Either way you have a great way to communicate the proportions of a small number of categories.

See the section Donut Chart Examples below to see it in action. They highlight situations where Donut may be a good choice to display your data.

Avoid using Donut 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 4 or 5 categories are being compared, as nobody likes a dense Donut (they're 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.

Configuring Donut Chart Saved Views

Configuring a Donut chart is easy 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 Donut Chart Type

  3. Specify the chart's Values

  4. Pick a Group By field

Donut Chart Type

Select Donut Chart under Chart Settings to get started with your configuration.

Donut chart selector

Specifying Donut 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

Donut charts - like 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 Donut, click Add New to include additional fields like this (note that the Group By selector is disabled and displays a locked icon:

Group By

If you select a single field as your Donut 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 donut according to the value in the selected Group By field, like this:

Configuring Donut Chart Widgets

Donut charts are great on their own, but even better with a tall glass of SmartSuite Dashboard!

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

  • Widget Name: Name the Column Chart - this text will be displayed on 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!

Donut Chart Use Cases

Use cases for Donut are generally the same as for Pie Charts, with a preference for a smaller number of categories. Let's consider our Pie Chart use cases and how they might be adapted for Donut.

Use Case: Category Composition (Donut Version)

In our Pie chart article we reviewed the "composition of a category" use case, where we highlight the breakdown of a data set into their percentage chunks - this is especially useful when there is a dominant slice. The Pie chart use case used 5 slices to show Web browsers market share. If we're going to use Donut, we could further consolidate to show the top 2 and "other" like this:

Use Case: Emphasize a Small Fraction

If you want to emphasize that something is just a small fraction of the whole, a Donut chart may make that tiny slice stand out even more. Viewers have even less of the small slice color on the chart, emphasizing the difference in proportional value.

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