How to Build a Donut Chart

In this blog I am going to show you all how to create a donut chart in Tableau. A donut chart is a version of a pie chart with a “hole” in the middle, often displaying a total number to give the chart context.

First step is to drag your selected dimension onto the colour shelf on the marks card, as well as your selected measure onto the label shelf. In this example I will be using the sample superstore dataset and putting segment on colour and profit on label.

Right now, all the segments on the pie chart cover an equal area despite the numbers varying. Therefore, to get the pie chart’s proportions matching their appropriate number, profit is also put on to the angle shelf.

The third step is to create our second axis by simply typing in “0” in the columns shelf and doing this twice. This gives us two identical pie charts.

Next, from the second chart’s marks card we remove segment from colour and profit from angle, leaving only profit on label, which now shows the total profit number of the three segments. Then, change the colour of this circle to white.

We now need to change the size of both charts. For the pie chart on the left make this big enough for readers to easily see, while for the white circle, make this slightly smaller than the pie chart so that once the axes are dualled it will sit on top of the pie while still showing the outskirts of the pie.

Next, we need to dual the axes by right clicking on the second SUM(0) and selecting “dual axis”. This puts the white circle on top of the pie to achieve the donut look, as we can now see the profit for each individual segment, while also looking at profit as a whole with the total number in the middle of the donut. Synchronising the axes is also best practice.

Finally, just some formatting options to make your donut chart look cleaner. You can select format and remove all grid lines, column lines and zero lines, while also right clicking on the bottom axis and selecting “hide header” will remove the axes from the view so users can focus on the donut chart.

There you have it! Your donut chart is ready for users to view.

Zack Hawkins
Author: Zack Hawkins