How to create a Sunburst Chart?

In Excel 2016, there were new types of charts that were added. One of them was the sunburst chart. Today we are going to discuss it in this article, and we are going to introduce you to the chart and everything it provides.

What is a Sunburst Chart?

A sunburst chart, or diagram, is a chart that is used for visually depicting hierarchical data that consists of concentric circles. The hierarchy moves outwards from the center.

The circle that is closest to the center of the chart shows the top of hierarchy data, while the one that is furthest from it represents the bottom of the hierarchy data.  Also, concentric circles can be painted different colors, so the chart is customizable.

Sunburst Excel chart

How to create one?

The first thing that you need to create a sunburst chart is a table that has all the important data that you want to convert to a chart.

Now we are going to show you the step-by-step process:

  1. Select all the data within the table and go to the "Insert" tab that is on the ribbon.
  2. Then go to "Insert Hierarchy Chart" and select the Sunburst chart.

That’s how you add a sunburst chart.

A few examples

The sunburst chart can be used when breaking down the income sources of a business or businesses. It can also display salaries across certain parts of a business.

It is used for breaking down large amounts of content into little pieces, for example, breaking down the population or wealth of certain regions around the world.

Sunburst chart example

How to customize it?

If you want to customize or change something, then select the chart and on the ribbon two tabs will appear, "Design" and "Format".

There you have a number of options which you can play with, adjust, and make it exactly how you want it to be. There are a number of different designs from which you can choose.

If you head right to the "Design" tab, you will find on the left side of the screen a section that is called "Add Chart Element".

If you click on it, you will have three options where you can choose to add a:

Chart Title - Here you can obviously set how the chart is going to be named.

Data Labels - There you can find the "More Data Label Options" option where you can set up in detail how the label is going to look.

Legend - And the legend, which just adds a legend to one side of the chart.

Pros and cons

The sunburst chart is pretty clean and simple to read, it saves a lot of space and a big amount of data can be represented with it.

It’s a great chart for showing relationships within the hierarchy.

It also has its cons. It’s not really easy to show the labels on the chart, and the data must always be sorted by category.


We finally came to the end. It's a great chart nevertheless, and I would recommend it to everyone. Even though it has some down sides, it's definitely a good choice if you have a large amount of data that needs to be hierarchical and presented in a way where it's broken down into small pieces.