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Create and use maps with pie chart symbols

Pie chart symbols are used in maps to show the proportions of categorical data associated with a single feature. Pie chart symbols are created on a map using a string field and a location field containing coincident values.

Pie chart symbols can answer questions about data, such as the following:

  • What are the proportions of categories for each feature?
  • What is the count relative to another location?


An insurance company is reviewing purchases of its policies across the United States to determine where there is market potential for each policy class (automobile, disability, life, and property). The analyst in charge of the review joins the insurance portfolio data for the company with a state boundary layer and uses the result to create pie chart symbols showing the proportions of each policy class that are being purchased in each state, with each pie chart sized by the number of policies in the state.

Pie chart symbols showing the proportion of each policy class by state

The analyst can use associated charts, filters, or the map legend to determine which states have potential for each policy class. The analyst selects automobile policies and sees that there is low automobile insurance uptake across the Midwest. The analyst will do more research to determine why there are states with low or no automobile insurance uptake (for example, is automobile insurance not offered, or is there a major regional competitor) and whether there is potential to increase uptake in those states.

Pie chart symbols with automobile insurance selected

Create pie chart symbols on a map


Pie chart symbols can only be created with multipart datasets in which features are collocated. These datasets can be created using a one-to-many join, or by enabling location on a dataset. If location is enabled with addresses or coordinates, Repeat identical features must remain unselected.

Use the following steps to create a map with pie chart symbols:

  1. Expand a dataset in the data pane so that the fields are visible.
  2. Select the location field and the string field you want to visualize.
  3. Drag the fields to the page and drop them on the Map drop zone.

    A unique values map will be created using Types (Unique Symbols) as the Symbol Type.

  4. Expand the legend to display the Layer options pane.
  5. Browse to the Options tab Options.
  6. Change Symbol type to Pies.

Usage notes

The Layer options pane is accessible from the layer legend and can be used to view the classification values being mapped, change the style of the map, and view information about selected features.

Use the Legend tab Legend to view the values and counts of the pie chart symbols and make selections based on the values. To change the color associated with a category, click the symbol and choose a color from the palette, or enter a hex value.

Use the Options tab Options to do the following:

  • Change the field displayed on the map, or switch to a different type of map.
  • Change the classification type (natural breaks, equal interval, or unclassed).
  • Change the number of classes displayed.

Use the Style tab Style to change the symbol style properties, such as symbol size, outline style, and layer transparency.

Use the Pop-up tab Popup to view details for features selected on the map.

Use the Visualization type button Visualization type to switch directly between a map with pie chart symbols and other visualizations, such as a summary table, stacked bar chart, chord diagram or treemap.


Pie chart symbols show all unique categories associated with a single feature or location. If the features contain many unique categories, the pie chart symbols may be difficult to interpret.