Monday, July 16, 2018

Neat Trick to Create Donut Pie Charts in Illustrator

Sometimes I use Illustrator to make quick charts and graphs for infographics I'm building. Here's a quick way to create donut charts and keep the data intact within Illustrator — which allows me to edit at will.

  1. Create a pie chart using the Pie Graph Tool (J)
  2. Use the Direct Selection tool (A) to select and enhance portions of the pie chart. In my case, I created a color gradient using red and dark red. I'm using gray for the part I want to deemphasize.
  3. After I'm satisfied with the results I want to turn this into a donut chart. So, create a circle using the shape tool (M) that is slightly larger than my pie chart. Make the fill none.
  4. Then add a stroke that is aligned to the interior (Align Stroke to Inside) of the circle (rather than the default center of the circle edge).
  5. Make the stroke thick enough to create the donut shape you want.
  6. With the circle highlighted, hit Expand the Appearance to expand the stroke into shapes. This will be your mask for the pie chart.
  7. Select the circle and pie chart (which is beneath the donut shape), and hit the Clipping Mask function (Command+7). Now you have a editable donut pie chart.
  8. Whenever you want to change the pie chart numbers just select your pie chart in isolation mode, or using your Layers panel.
  9. Select Data and make your edits.


Whenever you want to size the pie chart up or down, you can't use your selection tool. Doing this only sizes your mask. So, it's better to use the Scale Tool (S). And everything should scale more predictably.

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