Doughnut Charts: A Visual Slice of Data Distribution

Doughnut Charts, akin to pie charts with a twist, offer a visually appealing way to represent categorical data as part of a whole. These charts, distinguished by their central hole, not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also improve readability, especially when comparing multiple datasets. This guide aims to explore Doughnut Charts, their applications, advantages, and how they can be effectively utilized to present data insights.

What is a Doughnut Chart?

A Doughnut Chart is a circular statistical graphic divided into slices to illustrate numerical proportions in a dataset. The chart's central hole turns the traditional pie chart into a doughnut, providing a clearer view of the data by comparing the segments' sizes directly. Doughnut Charts are particularly effective for displaying a few categories that make up a whole, emphasizing data points as part of a percentage of 100.

Interactive Doughnut Chart Example

Try our interactive doughnut chart below!

Doughnut Chart
Gantt Chart

Applications of Doughnut Charts

Doughnut Charts are versatile and find their applications in various fields:

  • Business and Marketing: Analyzing product sales distribution, market share, or customer segmentation.
  • Education: Representing grades distribution, resource allocation, or participation rates in activities.
  • Healthcare: Showcasing patient demographics, types of services used, or outcomes of treatments.
  • Finance: Visualizing expense categories, budget allocations, or revenue sources.

Benefits of Using Doughnut Charts

  • Visual Appeal: The distinctive doughnut shape can make data presentation more engaging and accessible.
  • Comparative Analysis: Facilitates comparison between different segments, highlighting their contribution to the total.
  • Efficient Space Use: The center of the doughnut can be used to display additional information, such as the total sum or the data category being analyzed.
  • Clarity in Presentation: Can display multiple series of data in concentric rings, offering a compact view of related datasets.

How to Interpret Doughnut Charts

Interpreting a Doughnut Chart involves understanding its composition:

  • Slices: Each slice represents a category from the dataset, with the slice size proportional to the category's contribution to the total.
  • Colors: Different colors are used to differentiate between categories, making it easier to visually compare the segments.
  • Labels and Legends: Provide specifics about each segment, including the category name and its percentage or value of the whole.

Best Practices for Creating Effective Doughnut Charts

  • Limit Categories: To maintain clarity, limit the number of categories represented to avoid overcrowding the chart.
  • Color Contrast: Use contrasting colors to clearly distinguish between different segments.
  • Annotations: Include annotations or a legend to enhance understanding, especially for segments with close values.
  • Data Labels: Consider placing labels inside or outside the doughnut slices to indicate percentages or values, improving readability.


Doughnut Charts serve as an effective tool for presenting categorical data in a visually engaging and straightforward manner. By highlighting the proportions of each category within a whole, these charts facilitate quick understanding and comparison of data points. Whether in business analytics, educational materials, healthcare reports, or financial summaries, Doughnut Charts can transform complex data into digestible and actionable insights.