Can you make a pie chart?

In his final challenge for 2022, Luke set this challenge asking us to recreate this pie chart. Although not mentioned in the challenge text, there was a hint on the splash page that map layers would be required.

I’ve only really used map layers in other #WOW challenges, and they actually involve maps. This challenge was obviously a bit different – utilising a functionality built for one purpose in an entirely different way. I remembered when map layers were first released there was a big buzz about the potential possibilities, and had seen some examples, but I’d never gotten round to trying out for myself, so this was the perfect opportunity (and one of the many plus points as to why I love doing #WOW challenges).

So where to start… good question. If you read up on the official Tableau KLs relating to map layers, it’s all about geography, and while the data source does have geographic data (State, City etc), they aren’t relevant in this case. In my ‘googling’ I found the following resources of use

The first 2 blogs helped me understand the need for the use of the MAKEPOINT function, Sam Parson’s Pies & Doughnuts viz helped me understand the calculation I’d need for the MAKEPOINT function, and the final blog post really helped with putting in all together.

Feel free to ignore the rest of this blog and use the above to help you out 🙂

Building the first map layer

The first step is to create the geometry field we need to base this off of.



Double click this field, and it will automatically add the point centrally onto a map with Longitude and Latitude fields automatically generated too.

This is a key step in getting things started and enabling the use of map layers which we’re going to utilise.

Add Segment to Colour and adjust the colours. Change the mark type to pie chart and add Sales to angle. Increase the size to be as large as possible.

However the size isn’t as big as we need. To increase further use Ctrl-Shift-B (windows) or Cmd-Shift-B (mac) to increase the size further (Ctrl-B / Cmd-B) to reduce. This trick I found in the Interworks blog above. All Tableau key shortcuts are listed here.

Add Segment to the Label shelf. This completes our lowest map layer.

Building the second map layer

Drag Zero onto the map canvas, and drop it over the Add a Marks layer section that displays. This will add a second marks card called Zero(2).

On the marks card that is named Zero, rename it to Outer Pie.

On the marks card named Zero (2) rename to White Circle. Change the mark type to Circle, change the Colour to white and increase the size to leave a narrow border of the coloured pie underneath.

Building the third map layer

Drag another instance of Zero onto the canvas and add another marks layer. Rename Zero (3) to Inner Pie. Change the mark type to Pie chart and add Segment to Colour and Sales to angle. Increase the Size so it’s just smaller than the white circle. Change the opacity of the colour to 70% and add a white border (Colour shelf).

Adding the labels in the pie chart

The simplest way to do this is just to label the inner pie chart with the required fields and then manually move the labels from outside the pie to the desired location. However if your data changed in some way, eg the proportion of the slices changed, the labels may not be where you wanted without further tweaks.

So instead I’ve added a 4th map layer.

Add Zero once again to the sheet and add a marks layer. Rename this marks card to Labels -Inner Pie. Change mark type to Pie chart and add Segment to Detail, Sales to Angle and Sales to Label. Create a new calculated field


SUM([Sales]) / TOTAL(SUM([Sales]))

Format to % with 0 dp and and add to Label. Adjust the fonts of the labels so the Sales value is larger.

Increase the size of the pie chart so the labels are positioned ‘nicely’ within the segments of the Inner pie

Reduce the opacity of the ‘label’ pie chart to 0% and set the mark layer to be disabled

Finishing up

Adjust the tooltips to display as required (you’ll need to add Pct to the Tooltip shelf on both the Outer and Inner Pie mark cards).

Then remove the map background via the Map menu -> Background Maps -> None. Hide all axis and remove all gridlines/zero lines/row/columns dividers. You should now be left with a ‘clean’ pie chart which can be added to a dashboard.

My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’!



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