Do you prefer a bar chart or pie chart to visualize your spending?

Pie charts are visually interesting and friendly. Bar charts can clearly show a larger number of categories and convey absolute and relative value. So which do you prefer?

This week our team enjoyed a lively Slack debate about using pie charts vs bar charts for visualizing spending breakdowns. 

Pie charts are generally more popular than bar charts. They’re visually interesting and convey wholeness. “Everyone loves a pie chart” is something we’ve said many times here at Tiller.

But many people prefer a bar chart, because they can track a larger number of categories effectively, show trends over time, and convey absolute and relative value.

In the end, the debate comes down to personal preference. Which do you prefer to view your spending data? 

Take a quick poll here in the Tiller Community. We’ll share the results next week in the format of the winning chart. 

(This whole debate makes me want to visit the Pie Bar in Seattle.)

Edward Shepard

Edward Shepard

Marketing Lead at Tiller. Writer. Spreadsheet nerd. Get in touch with partnership ideas at edward @ tillerhq.com.

Notable Replies

  1. As you said pie charts are good for a limited number of slices. Once it gets too large to actually differentiate then you need some sort of bar or similar. But with few slices, a pie charts gives the best representation of division of the whole.

  2. wow! Pie’s getting no love here. Now, i kinda wanna change my vote. Nsh

  3. Pie shows part-to-whole for one time period.
    A stacked bar chart can show part-to-whole OVER TIME (trend!) - much more useful.

  4. I generally despise pie charts.

  5. It seems to me that each has their use. I associate pie charts with portions of 100% of the picture such as spending in May 2023 by category or by payee. It focusus on proportion.

    Bar charts, which I generally find more useful in making decisions, helps me understand trends over time. A bar chart of daily spending of top categories is probably more useful than 30 pie charts (one per day).

    Broad picture, pie chart. Detailed picture, bar chart. Don’t get me started on donuts.

Continue the discussion at community.tillerhq.com

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