Radial Bar Chart

This tutorial will show you how to create a radial bar chart in Excel using stunning visualization to compare sales performance.

Good to know that a radial bar chart is one of the best solutions to create impressive infographic-style dashboard templates. Data visualization is king!

First, let’s see a short introduction! After this, we’ll take you through creating the chart step by step. Finally, we’ll show you the VBA-based solution.

What is a radial bar chart?

In some places, they call it a multilayered doughnut chart because of its layout, but it is better to call it appropriately by its usual name because its origin is from the bar charts. It can help you get a better perspective on the numbers in your data, whether it relates to sales comparison, production, demographics, or more.

Radial Bar Chart: Differences between Cartesian and Polar coordinate systems

The radial bar chart evolved from the classical bar chart. The difference between them is that one uses polar and the other Cartesian coordinate systems.

Let’s see the comparison with the help of a simple figure. On the left-hand side, we can see the info-graphics-style graph and, on the other hand, the classical bar chart.

radial bar chart vs. bar chart

Even if you are not familiar with data visualization, you can easily decide that the bar chart is very easily understandable at first glance. But the radial bar chart represents a much higher visualization level (it is much more spectacular).

What is the reason behind all this, and when is it more useful to apply one solution?

As we have said before, the radial bar chart is a tool capable of higher-value data visualization. The problem is that our eyes are used to boring, ordinary charts and may misinterpret their meaning. Every column (bar) closes at a different angle, so the differences look relatively larger / smaller. This is most true about the outer rings.

Finally, we can come to the following conclusion:
Use a bar chart if the goal is to create an old-school report. But if our object is to build an impressive presentation, we can bravely choose the new generation of data visualization. If you follow this subject closely, you have seen that, for example, Tableau can create the chart in question. The time has come finally to enable Excel for this task.

How to create a radial bar chart in Excel?

Steps to create the base chart

This detailed tutorial will show you how to create a radial bar chart to measure sales performance. This unique Excel graph is useful for sales presentations and reports. First, let us see the initial data set! Then, we’ll compare five products.

Step 1: Check this range below! You can include the Product Name and Sales fields. The first field is placed in column ‘B’. The second field is in column ‘C’. Using this data set, we’ll build a colorful radial bar chart in Excel.

initial data set for chart

Step 2: We’ll insert a helper column using column D. Enter the formula “=MAX(C12:C16)*1.30” on cell D11.
Step 3: Add the formula “=$D$11-C12” to cell D12 and fill down the formula using the range “D12:D16”

add a helper column data chart

Step 4: Select the range “B11:D16”. Then, go to Ribbon and Insert tab, Chart, and Insert a Doughnut Chart.

insert a doughnut chart excel

Step 5: Click on the inserted chart. Select the chart area. Right-click on the chart, and finally click on “select data”. A new popup window will be opened.

Select data for radial bar chart

Step 6: Click on the Switch Row/Column button.

how to switch rows and columns for chart

Step 7: Now, right-click on the doughnut and click on Format Data Series. Choose the donut hole size slider and set it to 25%.

Doughnut Hole size setup

Step 8: The most important step! Select the outer ring. Use the right-side pane and fill the orange area as No fill. Repeat these steps for the inner slices too.

radial bar chart no fill ring

Step 9: Select the first blue slice and fill it in as your favorite color. We strongly recommend using divergent color schemes. You can create stunning schemes using ColorBrewer.

bar chart excel color schemes

Prepare the labels for the radial bar chart

First, create a helper column for the data labels on column E. Then enter the formula =B12&” (“&C12&”)” on cell E12. You can use the CONCATENATE function also. Finally, fill down the formula for “E12:E16”.

add data labels for chart

Go to the Ribbon, and click on the Insert tab. Insert a Text box.

insert a text box for chart labels

Now we’ll create a linked cell to the Text box. First, select the inserted text box. Next, jump to the formula bar and type: “=$E$12”.

link labels to radial bar chart

Insert the four more textboxes and link with cells D13, D14, D15, and D16.

Format the labels together to create Groups

Hold Ctrl and select the five text boxes. Right-click, then choose Group from the list. You can apply various formatting methods. First, use No fill to create a transparent background for text boxes. Next, remove the border and select your favorite font.

how to group labels for chart

Our radial bar chart is ready to use! Download the chart!

Radial bar chart add-in for Excel

As you can see, it is not rocket science to create such a visualization in Excel. Of course, it needs manual work, but it’s manageable with some time. But what if we need to make ten, twenty, or even more charts in a short time?

automated radial bar chart add-in

Excel doesn’t contain this type of chart as a default. Fortunately, there’s an automated solution for this problem (also).

UDT is a professional Excel data visualization and chart add-in containing many special chart functions.

Altogether, you can create spectacular presentations in two steps (in a mare of seconds). The dynamical radial bar chart is ready after giving the initial data sets with only one click. I think we don’t need to explain how much easier this makes the daily life of those involved in infographics.

The add-in is very easy to use; you don’t have to go outside Excel to get these done. The workflow is easy and allows you more productivity. You can focus on your primary business goals!

Final thoughts

The “relationship” between Excel and the radial bar chart didn’t start easy because we had to fill a missing function. For example, if we meet a sales comparison type of task, we strongly recommend its use.

We recommend using VBA to create unique charts if you are a developer. But then, virtually, you can automate EVERYTHING with its help that has anything to do with Microsoft Office. Let it be Excel, Word, or even PowerPoint.

Soon we’ll continue our series where we’ll create never before published tutorials for your benefit.

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