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Stacks vs Pies

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

There are many reasons to avoid pie charts, but its is hard to pass them up when illustrating parts of a whole. Here is one way to do it.

The McKinsey Global Institute’s report on “The Impact of the Internet on Economic Growth and Prosperity” effectively presents the parts of the whole using a variation on the stacked bar chart. By offsetting each of the component parts the chart provides more room to identify each part and display its value. This solves 2 charting problems:

  1. By isolating each part, even small parts have plenty of room for labels.
  2. The smallest parts, which often shrink to invisibility, can be readily distinguished.