Fixing the “Values don’t add to 100% because of rounding” issue in Excel pie charts & tables

Too often I see a footnote on an Excel chart or table in a presentation that says “the values don’t add to 100% because of rounding.” Sometimes the values don’t add to 100% and there is no footnote, it just appears to be a mathematical mistake. Both of these situations cause doubt in the mind of the viewer. If we can’t get numbers to add up to 100% what others math errors have we made? The executives and stakeholders viewing the chart or table start to not trust the data we are presenting.

In this video I explain why this happens when we create pie charts, why it never happens when we let Excel create the percentage data labels, and four solutions to the problem (including one that leverages Excel’s feature to insert data from a picture).

By Dave Paradi

Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don't overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 4.8 million times and liked over 17,000 times on YouTube.