How to Make a Donut Chart.

by Sky Sister Studio. Average Reading Time: about a minute.

The question came up via Quora: “I’ve read that using a donut chart throws off the proportion of a pie chart, but also that they can be an acceptable way of showing information. If it’s acceptable, when would it be and how would you properly construct one?” So I posted this answerI’m not sure why donut charts are disliked these days. Perhaps they are perceived as less accurate? In any case, one way to construct them is to use Adobe Illustrator.


This was done in Adobe Illustrator, about 3 minutes of work…though the cutout should be to the right a bit more. But I digress. You can purchase a premade chart here.

  1. Go to the tools section and create a standard pie chart.
  2. Save the file as a PDF – without allowing the file to remain “editable” in Illustrator. (Uncheck that box)
  3. Close everything out.
  4. Open the PDF in Illustrator. The pie chart should now behave as a standard vector graphic instead of the non-editable vector weirdness they are when created. (You may have to “release clipping mask)
  5. Now place a white circle within the pie chart and use the pathfinder tool to cut the midsection out, making the pie into a donut chart.

Or, you can take this $7 shortcut.