Please see the reference image. I know how to make pie chart in Illustrator, but not sure how can I write the rotated text (you can see around 50 text headings for 50 cells. The question is not about the 8 headings written in outer circle) in the cells of wheel, in Illustrator.

One way is to do it manually, pick each text, calculate it's rotation from the cell of wheel, and then rotate it and place it. It seems time consuming.

Is there any faster or bulk arrange option (just like while creating pie chart, you input the area value for its cells) in Illustrator/Photoshop?

enter image description here

2 Answers 2


There is a concept known as using the 'wrong tool for the job'. Thing is the wrong tool is either illustrator or you.

Creating info-graphics is one of those things where either you learn programming or use a tool designed for your task. Now since you want to design stuff that is unique odds are you need to learn programming. Thing is though the kind of programming you need for most info graphics is the simplest of simple programming since your looping over data.*

Now in fact doing this without programming is not a big task (5-10 mins total). Ill outline a good strategy. Calculate the slice width (360/number of slices), write one text. Rotate a copy of that text with rotate tools numeric input (dont group 2 text it makes combining the threading harder). Hit control+d until you have the circle. link the texts together and paste your text (where each item was a row). Now, the benefit of this strategy is that you can change the text and order of the text later, but not number of rows.

This creates a template that has some flexibility. Which allows you to change things later. This is important, with data of any kind, you do not want to be constrained by the data being done before you start designing!

A better way? Either use a software designed for data viuslisation. And NO excel is not a good tool for this, forget excel it is constraining your ideas. Learn to use something like Mathematica, ScipPy (use jupyter notebooks) or learn illustrator scripting.

Ok so you have illustrator. Whet you are describing is a loop. A loop is a instruction that repeats itself. Here is how making this looks like:

#target illustrator

// A placeholder for data
data = [
"Dulcie Stancill",  
"Florrie Holsinger",  
"Petrina Coates",  
"Mei Clemens",  
"Elicia Good",  
"Ron Levy",  
"Reanna Brueggemann",  
"Aleen Villalobos",  
"Giselle Phares",  
"Boyce Zahn",  
"Demetrice Raposa",  
"Signe Dantzler",  
"Gracia Becton",  
"Michale Wilton",  
"Zona Pushard",  
"Latonya Morejon",  
"Laure Weinmann",  
"Laurene Ohara",  
"Nathanial Mcelvain",   
"Brock Mcandrew"  

for(var i = 0; i < data.length; i++){

   text = activeDocument.textFrames.add();
   text.contents = "\t"+data[i];
   text.rotate(i*360/data.length, true, true, true, true, Transformation.DOCUMENTORIGIN);


Long huh? Well not so long. realistically its just 3 commands and your data, but you can change your data section and boom its redone. I also added a tab in front of the text so now you can use tabstops and styles to change the size of the circle.

* Contrary to common knowledge programming is EASY. It is just that most people jump to programming when their problem is too complex. They should start when its easy. As a result they always get a feeling that its hard, due to their actions. Hard things are hard after all no matter whether the tool you sue is easy or not.

On the other hand being a programmer is hard since nobody pays for programming easy things.

  • 1
    About the no-programming workflow: I guess the questioner will have something to say when he tries to turn half of the copies of the single text box to more easily readable position and to align the text to the outer circle. Other: The idea "programming should be started when the problem is simple" sounds fine.
    – user82991
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 13:39
  • @joojaa thanks for the answer but I had to accept the other answer as I'm not into Maths much. Hope you won't mind :P
    – Vikas
    Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 10:46

Illustrator doesn't have the wanted functionality in its pie tool, you need extra software or script for full automation.

Just here the radial texts seem to have a constant rotational stepping due the constant sector width (=360 degrees/the number of the sectors)

Write one dummy text which is nearly sector radius wide, place it manually and make rotated copies having rotation center=the centerpoint. Retype the texts.

Text objects behave in a tricky way with transforms and rotation tool cannot be used if the center area is crowded (you cannot set the centerpoint before you disable stuff in the layers panel or simplify snapping). Here's one method to get it right even when the center area is already full of nodes:

enter image description here

1) One pair of texts are placed manually. The right half has right aligned text, the left half has left aligned text. The text alignment would be tricky to be set later. The green box is grouped with the text. That group has the rotation center in the middle.

2) The text prototypes are rotated to the starting position of the copying

3) Repeated rotate+copy was made with Object > Transform > Rotate> Copy, pressing Ctrl+D repeatedly created the rest of the copies

4) Ungrouped all, one green box was selected, all boxes were selected with Select > Same > Stroke color, deleted the boxes

5) Retyped the texts

Just in this simple case the rotation tool can be used easily, no centering with symmetry is needed. Thanks to the commentators for reminding it.

  • I seriously hate your method of centering rotations
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 10:52
  • why dont you use the rotate tool for this? Why do you need to group at all
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 11:15
  • I have found I make too easily errors with it when I select what to rotate, how much and what's the rotation center.
    – user82991
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 11:22
  • 1
    You just have too many snepping tools enabled. when you dont do layout be sure to disable most of the alignemnet snaps. Illustrator is REALLY REALLY badly configured from scratch.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 11:42
  • 1
    OK. I must get more diciplined. Disabling the extras in the layers panel helps, too.
    – user82991
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 12:11

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