How to create an election donut

The election donut chart is a good choice to show shares of seats in a legislative body. You can show what parties have been elected, how many parties there are, and how they compare to each other. This chart type is based on the donut chart, however, it represents absolute values rather than 100%. With Datawrapper you have the option to select the exact colors for the respective parties. 

Some extra information: Normally, pie charts as well as donut and election donuts should only contain a limited number of values and sections. Some suggest not more than five, others not more than three or even only two. The reason is that it becomes very difficult for the viewer to compare the values. Beyond five sections it is always better and more effective to use either a bar or column chart. 

The election chart is an exception. Is it commonly used as a visualization for parliaments. And the general rule regarding the number of sections has to consider that in many countries the number of parties being elected is rising. Should the number of parties make this chart type hard to read, then choose the bar chart as an alternative.

Here is our sample chart. Let's go through the steps on how to prepare the data 


Preparing and importing the data

If you want to create this chart type, your data needs to be in a certain format. You'll need:

  • One header row containing descriptive labels ("Party", "Seats", etc.)
  • One column with party names.
  • One column containing numeric values. The values in this column will define the size of the election donut segment. There will be as many segments as there are rows in the data. 

Here's the data we used to create the chart at the top of the page:

Group Seats

S&D 189
Verts/ALE 52
PPE 219
ECR 73
ENF 35
NI 21

Source: European Parliament, 2018

Once you prepared your data, create a new chart in Datawrapper. You can do so by going to our homepage and clicking on "Create a chart". In Step 1: Upload, copy & paste your dataset, upload it as a .csv or an Excel sheet. It will look like this:

Click "Proceed" at the bottom right to go to the next step:


Check & Describe

In the second step, you can check if your dataset was imported correctly and make changes to it - if necessary. If you did not upload a header row, you have to untick "First row as label" to avoid losing your first row of data. Always remember to do this if you don't have descriptive row and column headers.

In step 2, your data looks like this. You can see that Datawrapper correctly recognized your numbers as numbers (and not as text or dates) because they are colored in blue and are right-alined. To learn more about the Datawrapper's automatic recognition of data formats, visit this article.

Click on "Proceed" at the bottom left to go to Step 3: Visualize:



In this step and under the tab ''chart type'', you will see a list of the available chart types. Chances are that your data will automatically be displayed as a line chart. To change that, click on the "Election Donut" symbol in the grid of available chart types:  

You will now see an election donut without a title, descriptions or customized colors. Maybe you want to further refine, annotate & define this donut chart. To read more on customizing your election donut chart, you can follow the link here.