Doughnut Chart: Question from Youtube

Good question from a viewer on YouTube, relating to creating segments as part of a whole with a doughnut chart, so that you could represent constituent parts of a whole. Take for example a chart like the [entirely fictitious] one below, showing sci-fi titles in my media library:

You can see that there are 60% Star Trek movies, 25% Star Wars and 15% Doctor Who; of that, the Star Trek titles are composed of 20% Original series, 10% Next Generation, 50% Deep Space Nine and 20% Voyager.

All I did here to achieve this was first of all create my major-split pie chart, then position that in the centre of my document (you really need the Smart Guides turned on to do that quickly) then copy that to the clipboard.

Modify the data

Right-click the chart and select the Data… option to modify the data. All you need to know now is what 1% of your major value is (in this case, with the major value being 60%, then 10% will be 6, so 1% would be .6) so you can use multiples of that to achieve your divisions. The splits in this example are easy, of course, but 20%=12, 10%=6, 50%=30 and then we have another 20% so the first four values entered would be 12, 6, 30, 12 followed by the two remaining major values of 25 and 15.

Now Tap S to access the Scale Tool and enter a uniform value over 100% to make this chart larger (the example above was something like 116%), then once you’ve applied that, use the Paste in Front command (CMD-F on the Mac and CTRL-F on Windows) to drop your original pie chart down on top.


Use the Group Selection Tool (nested with the Direct Selection Tool) to target your slices, and then apply your colour swatches to them. Don’t forget that you’ve got the Color Guide Panel to help you if you want to create quick variations of colours, too.

Make the Doughnut

Now you can make the clipping mask, then apply it to the two charts—refer to the original movie if you don’t know how to do that—and you’re done. The Layers Panel will be your best buddy if you need to select either of the charts to modify the data, and the Group Selection Tool makes targeting pie-slices.

Learn More

Want to find out more infographic tips, tricks and techniques? Then why not check out my course “Creating Infographics with Illustrator

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