In my initial weeks of Data School training, one of the most exciting aspects of our course is finding out best practices and optimal tool usage to make different data insights far more efficient! When we began the training proper, it was such a pleasant surprise to see “new and improved” ways of generating the same visualisations that I laboured over for far too many hours!

My biggest “lightbulb moment” was when our coach Bethany demonstrated the process of building a donut chart. At first I was almost disinterested because I had created many donut charts in my interview Viz, so I thought I knew how to do them already, but following along with the in-class demonstration and exercises showed me just how much difference “optimal data science practices” can make!

A donut chart can be more than one data series (but try to limit your segments to two or three to avoid overcrowding the ring) added as sections to the a circular representation, which help to visualise the percentage share of how different categories contribute to a whole.

Here’s an example of a donut chart I had made previously, breaking down total charity revenue into sources of income,

donut chart1

Figure 1: Original Donut Chart

Looks good right? Well that number in the middle is not actually automatically generated by Tableau, and I wanted to use the inside space of the donut chart to present the total income value (as added context), which I achieved before my Data School training by creating a new sheet, dragging to the dashboard, resizing the box, manually rewriting the values, changing the formatting, floating the container, the dragging THAT floating container, making countless small adjustments until it is in the perfect spot, and then…

Figure 2: “####” displays when insufficient space in the sheet

Whew! By the time I had done all that, I could physically feel myself getting older. Surely there has to be a better way?!

And of course, there is! Let me know you how, just like I was gratefully shown by the incredible Data School:

The more efficient way is to put the total income number in the inside pie chart Label

Figure 3:  Dragging Total Income to Label

Figure 4: Add the title or any text help people understand what the number is.


Figure 5: Match the text color with the chart by clicking Label-Font-Match Mark Color.

Figure 6: After matching the color

In this chart the color does not help much, so it depends on what kind of information you want to deliver to  audience. Using the right tool and right color will work more efficient.

The Data School
Author: The Data School