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 answer: I’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.
- Go to the tools section and create a standard pie chart.
- Save the file as a PDF – without allowing the file to remain “editable” in Illustrator. (Uncheck that box)
- Close everything out.
- 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)
- 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.