How to Create and Edit a Pie Chart in SPSS

This quick tutorial will show you how to generate a simple pie chart using the SPSS statistics package.

The Data

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re using data contained within a simple Excel spreadsheet. It represents the grades from A to E achieved by 20 students of statistics.

C:\Users\Tony\Documents\New Xhumana\SPSS\Student Data\Excel Data Set.png

We want to create a simple pie chart in order to provide a visual representation of the number of students who achieved each grade.

Import Data

As per usual, we’re working on the assumption that you have fired up SPSS, and you’re looking at the Data View screen.

C:\Users\Tony\Documents\New Xhumana\SPSS\Bar Chart\Dataset Screen small.png

To begin, click File -> Import Data -> Excel.

C:\Users\Tony\Documents\New Xhumana\SPSS\Student Data\Import Data Excel small cut.png

This will bring up the Open Data dialog box, from within which you can select the relevant Excel file, and then click Open.

C:\Users\Tony\Documents\New Xhumana\SPSS\Student Data\Open Data.png

The next stage is a little tricky. If you want a full explanation, check out our tutorial on importing data from Excel. Basically, you need to tell SPSS what data you want to import from Excel by specifying a data range (see the image below). In this instance, we’re importing two columns, as represented by the cells A3:B23. Press OK, once you’ve set up the import.

This imports the data from the Excel file into the SPSS Data Editor.

C:\Users\Tony\Documents\New Xhumana\SPSS\Student Data\Data editor with data.png

At this point, it’s a good idea to save your data. Choose File -> Save As.

Create the Pie Chart

From the SPSS Data View screen, click Analyze -> Descriptive Statistics -> Frequencies.

This produces the Frequencies dialog box.

Click on Charts, and then choose Pie charts from the Frequencies: Charts dialog box. Press Continue to continue.

This leaves you back at the Frequencies window.

It’s now time to choose which variables to use in the pie chart. Select Student and click on the right arrow, then do the same thing for Grade. If you don’t want to display a frequency table along with your pie chart, make sure you deselect Display frequency tables. Once you’re done, click OK.

The resulting SPSS pie graph appears at the bottom of the Statistics Viewer window. It shows the number of students who achieved each of the five grades as segments of the pie.

Edit the Chart

To format the SPSS chart by adding a chart title, increasing the size of the data labels and aligning the data label title, or changing colours, go to the Statistics Viewer screen and double click on the chart. This produces the Chart Editor screen.

To insert a title, click on Options -> Title, which will cause the Properties dialog box to pop up on the right of the screen, and also allow you to customize your chart.

The customizations available include title and data labels, font size and colour, fill and border colours, and various alignment adjustments.

We advise playing around with your the chart, until you get something to your taste.

Below, you’ll find our final, edited SPSS pie chart.


That’s it for this tutorial. We hope you have found it useful. You should now be able to generate a pie chart in SPSS.