Add a pie chart to a Word document without opening Excel

Microsoft Office

By Susan Harkins
April 13, 2012, 10:47 AM PDT

Takeaway: You can bypass Excel and insert a pie chart into a Word document, from inside Word. Susan Harkins explains.

You can easily add a chart to a Word document, without first creating the chart in Excel. That’s right, you don’t have to be familiar with Excel to display a decent chart in a Word document-and it’s easy!

First, position the cursor where you want to insert the chart. Most likely, that will be before or after a paragraph that discusses the information expressed by the chart. Then, you’re ready to create the chart, as follows:

  1. Click the Insert tab and then click the Chart option in the Illustrations group. In Word 2003, choose Picture from the Insert menu and then select Chart.
  2. In the Insert Chart dialog, choose Pie in the left pane. (In Word 2003, you’ll select a chart type after inserting the chart into the document. Right-click the chart and choose Chart Type to access the different types. Skip to step 5.)
  3. Choose one of the pie charts to the right (we’ll use the first).
  4. Click OK and Word will launch an Excel sheet with sample data.
  5. Insert new labels and values in the Excel sheet and watch the chart in the Word document update accordingly. Be sure to resize the data range as instructed.
  6. When you’re done entering the labels and values, close the Excel sheet. You can save it if you like, but you don’t have to.

With the chart in Word, you can format it. For instance, you can remove the border or change its style or shade the background. Right-click the chart’s background and choose Format Chart Area from the resulting shortcut menu. To format the series, right-click the chart and choose Format Data Series. If the legend displays an empty series, you probably didn’t resize the data range (step 5). Simply click the empty element and press Delete to get rid of it.

Although we created a pie chart, you can insert any number of chart types.

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Susan Harkins

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.