Customizing a donut chart

This Academy article is outdated. It explains how to customize the donut charts that we archived on December 14, 2018.  We replaced them with shiny new donut charts! We will update this Academy article accordingly in January 2019. 

Once you have uploaded a dataset into Datawrapper and selected the donut chart, you can further enhance its appearance. Let us show you how to make a beautiful chart in three simple steps. This guide will walk you through the steps necessary to create a donut chart as seen below.

The first thing you will notice is that the donut chart might be too small. You have two options to  resize the chart, either through resizing using your mouse or by specifying the exact size you want:

  • Click, hold, and drag the resize arrow in the bottom right corner of the chart:

  • specify the exact size of the chart by defining the height and width in pixels with the help of the boxes below the chart:


In the "Refine" tab, you'll see a few options:

First, you can  choose colors for our donut slices. We can click on the color next to the words "Base color", to choose a color and its shades for all donut slices. When we click on "customize colors...", we can choose individual colors for all our slices. In our chart, we do that to give the "Remain" slice a dark blue and the "Leave" slice a red color:

Next, you can decide if you want to display the total value in the center or not, and if the values in the donut slices should be in absolute number or as percentages. We uploaded absolute values, but we want to display percentages in the slices. So for our chart, we decide to check both:

In the "Refine" tab, we can also decide what Datawrapper should do with very small donut slices. If you have more than a certain number of parts, you will see the following option: 

Datawrapper automatically groups the smallest donut slices, if we have more than seven or so donut slices. We can change that number in the top setting. We can also decide if smaller slices should be labeled directly, or with an extra legend below the donut chart.

These are all the options you can find in the Refine tab. Let's move on to the Annotate tab. Here you'll find two options: "Describe chart" and "Highlight element".



Describe chart

If you've created a Datawrapper chart or map before, you already know this feature. Here we can give your chart a title, a description, add notes and a source:

  • We recommend using the title to tell your readers what's interesting about this chart – the one key statement that you want to show on this chart, e.g. "Unemployment highest in the south"
  • The description should have as much information about the data as possible: What do we see exactly? E.g. "Unemployment rates in % in all US states, 2016"
  • Think of notes as footnotes, where we want to specify any abnormalities about your data. E.g. "California unemployment rates from Jan and Feb 2016 not included in the calculation."
  • The source name will give our readers the information how trustworthy our data is. Does it come from a government institution or another trustworthy organization? The source URL lets our reader dig even deeper and have a look at the underlying data themselves. Both, source name and source URL, should be filled out on every map or chart to increase transparency. E.g. US Bureau of Labour Statistics, August 2017

Highlight element

In the 2nd panel in the "Annotate" tab, we can emphasize certain donut slices. All the other donut slices will then tone down in their color. To remove added elements, click on the little "x" left of thetext in the blue button:

Afer explaining the Annotate options, there's only one tab left: Design. 



In this last step, we can select a preset layout and enable social sharing functions to spread your work. 

  • Users of the free plan or Single users have two options: One layout with and one without the "Get the data" link
  • Users of Datawrapper Team are able to select a custom layout here 



After we worked through the four tabs of step 3: Visualize, we can now proceed to step 4: Publish & Embed. Here we can select a preset layout and enable social sharing functions to spread your work. Click on "Publish" and you'll be directed to the "Publish & Embed" page.

The best way to use a Datawrapper chart is by embedding it directly on your website. To do that, click the big blue button that says " Embed chart on website". Then, copy & paste the embed code snippet into your website or CMS. You can also download your chart as a PNG or PDF by upgrading to a paid Single or Team account. Click here for more information on the different pricing plans of Datawrapper.

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