Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Exploded Pie Chart Sections.

Exploded Pie Chart Sections

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 14, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


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Gloria asked if there was a way, in a 3-D pie chart, to "explode" groups of slices, instead of individual slices. When you pick an exploded pie chart as your chart type, all the slices of the pie are "pushed back," away from the center of the pie. Gloria was looking for a way to have different slices grouped together in the view.

There is no way to group individual slices of the pie prior to exploding, nor does Excel provide a way to push selected slices together. The only approach that we could make work is to make a chart for every grouping in your original data. Each chart is based on the entire original data table, but you set the colors for the group to be represented by the particular chart, and then make the other groups "invisible" by turning off their borders and colors.

Thus, if you have five slices in your pie chart, you would make five charts (one for each slice) that start out exactly the same. You format each chart, individually, so that each of them leaves only a single slice visible. You can then overlay the five charts to get the desired effect.

This approach obviously would require some experimentation to get exactly the right look, but it is a great approach if the data that underlies the table will change periodically.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8642) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Exploded Pie Chart Sections.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 2 + 5?

2018-10-08 05:05:53

David Robinson

Sounds to me like you just need to do two versions of the pie chart, one with exploded slices and one without. The one without would show only the slices to be grouped together (the rest being invisible as discussed), while the exploded version would exclude these same. The above doesn't mention you also need to set a transparent chart area and background in order to overlay.

It is likely that positioning may still be problematic. Mind you, only having two charts, it should be a lot easier.

Having said all this, 3D exploded pie charts are seen as bad form by business intelligence academics, so maybe reconsider, but if the boss insists, what can you do?!


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