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Dividing a solid circle into pie shapes

Jul 24, 2012 1:36 PM


I've googled everywhere about this but can't find a working answer yet. I want to divide a solid circle into 5 equal parts. All of the suggestions out there suggest I use the "paste in place" function. I create a circle. I draw a horizontal line that's equal to the radius of the circle. I align it to the right and centered vertically in the circle. Then, I do a "paste in place." This confuses me because I see a little flash as it duplicates the line. But, when I try to rotate that second line 72 degrees, nothing happens. I don't see where that second line is that I supposedly duplicated from the first. So, I end up just duplicating the line, rotating it appropriately and try to have it start at the same point as the first line. I do this for 5 lines, 72 degrees from each other.


360 degrees divided by 5 is 72. That's why I'm creating these lines 72 degrees from each other. And, I get my circle with 5 equal parts with these lines. But, they're just a bunch of lines. I want to use them to cut the circle into 5 pie shapes. I've tried compounding the paths, but, that doesn't work.


Thanks a lot for any help.


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    Jul 24, 2012 1:46 PM   in reply to Peter Britt Bailey

    If you've got Adobe Illustrator, it would be easier to do it there and then import it into ID.

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    Jul 24, 2012 3:20 PM   in reply to Peter Britt Bailey

    There's a useful piechart script available from Marc Autret at Indiscripts.



    It's a beta but it works very well. I'm not sure if a final version ever got released.


    You could also look at purchasing the font FF Chartwell which uses glyphs to create piecharts.

    Very reasonably priced and very cool. See it in action at


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    Jul 24, 2012 4:38 PM   in reply to Peter Britt Bailey

    You could also try this...


    Select two of your lines - which I assume are meeting in the middle of your circle. Go to your Pathfinder palette and click  'Join Path', then click  'Close Path'. This will give you a segment of your pie. Repeat this for all your five segments, duplicating the lines as necessary.


    Once you have got your five segments, colour them as required, group them and then paste inside the circle.


    I should add - you should make your lines extend past the edge of the circle to make it simpler when closing the path. Easier than having to extend the shape afterwards!


    If you wish to have the individual segments selectable, perhaps so you can offset one of them, you can take this method a step further.


    Once you have the segments created, draw a box large enough to cover both the circle and the segments. Select your circle and bring it to the front. Punch the circle out of the box using the pathfinder tools. This now gives you a mask that you can use to curve the ends of your segments.


    Using the pathfinder tools again, use the mask to round of the end of each segment individually. You will then end up with your 5 segments individually selectable/movable


    Message was edited by: flaming1

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    Jul 24, 2012 8:30 PM   in reply to Peter Britt Bailey

    Illustrator has a pie creater as well simple to use.

    Is a discription how to use it

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    Jul 24, 2012 11:34 PM   in reply to mckayk_777

    If you don't have Illustrator and you have to do it in InDesign, here's another way. I'm not saying it's better or worse than any other way, but it does work.


    1. Start with a circle, and place guides at the center both vertically and horizontally.


    2. Make a straight line.


    3. Rotate the line 72° from the left side, and hit the Copy button instead of the OK button.


    4. Join the angle at all three sides with the Join Path tool in the Pathfinder.


    5. Snap the bottom left corner of the triangle into the intersection of the two guides in the center of the circle.


    6. Select the circle and the triangle and use the Intersect tool in the Pathfinder. This will create a wedge with one rounded edge.


    7. Use the Rotate tool to rotate a copy of the wedge 72°, with the rotation proxy set to the lower left corner where the guides intersect.


    8. Repeat the rotation/copy for the other 3 segments with Object>Transform Again.


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    Jul 25, 2012 1:20 AM   in reply to Peter Britt Bailey
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    Jul 25, 2012 7:49 AM   in reply to Peter Britt Bailey

    Peter Britt Bailey wrote:


    There is no "join" for PathFinder.

    It's the one in the pallet that I circled in red. You have to select two points before you hit the button, so that it knows what to join.



    Peter Britt Bailey wrote:


    After I placed it at the center of the circle, though, all of the PathFinder attributes are grayed out.


    Did you select the circle and the triangle beforehand, as I suggested?

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    Jul 25, 2012 1:56 PM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    Interesting alternative Michael. Really just the same solution as I gave though, but working from 'left to right' rather than from 'right to left'. Well explained with the step-by-step pics though.


    It goes to show that  Indesign users would rather come up with a  solution in Indesign than use Illustrator for this!

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    Jul 25, 2012 7:21 PM   in reply to flaming1

    Peter, I'm glad you got it sorted out.


    flaming1, I'm not so sure that it's better to do this in InDesign, rather than in Illustrator (where it's much easier and faster), but it's always nice to know for those who don't have Illustrator.

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    Jul 25, 2012 8:03 PM   in reply to Michael Gianino

    Michael, your solution is quite elegant and fairly simple to do, and suits those of us who prefer working in Indesign.


    The ONLY advantage Illustrator has over Indesign is the initial input of the data. Once the data has been entered, any advantage in speed or otherwise is gone.


    So for a lot of us it is better purely because we can avoid Illustrator and all it's ugliness!


    I've always found that Indesign's vector drawing capabilities are more intuitive and easy to use than Illustrator. I frequently find that I can create complex vector artwork just as easily in Indesign.

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    Jul 25, 2012 11:02 PM   in reply to flaming1

    Illustrator's not so bad. I think the advantage it has is that Illustrator's Pathfinder has a Divide function, so it let's you skip a few steps. I know this isn't the Illustrator forum, but I can lay it out for you:


    1. Start the same way, with a circle and some guides.

    Screen shot 2012-07-26 at 12.45.00 AM.png

    2. Make a line (same as InDesign).

    Screen shot 2012-07-26 at 12.45.14 AM.png

    3. Snap the line to the center of the guides (no need to make the triangle).

    Screen shot 2012-07-26 at 12.45.28 AM.png

    4. Rotate the line 72° from the center (you do this in InDesign as well, but you don't have to join the lines).

    Screen shot 2012-07-26 at 12.46.12 AM.png

    5. Repeat the Rotate/Copy with Object>Transform Again (Command D) 3 more times.

    Screen shot 2012-07-26 at 12.46.23 AM.png

    6. Here's the difference. You can select the circle and the 5 lines by dragging a marquee, and just hit the Divide button in the Pathfinder (circled in red).

    Screen shot 2012-07-26 at 12.46.43 AM.png

    7. From there, you can fill the segments with color, and if you need to pull one out, you have to ungroup first, but you probably want all of the segments anyway.

    Screen shot 2012-07-26 at 12.47.17 AM.png

    It's not significantly easier, but the Divide button is pretty useful. By the way, this object may be placed into InDesign like a graphic, but since it isn't all that complex, you can copy/paste it, and it will function like an object made directly in InDesign, including the ability to edit the object. Not too shabby, eh?

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    Jul 26, 2012 4:09 PM   in reply to Peter Britt Bailey

    Thanks Peter. Michael explained it much better than I did and yes, the screenshots definitely help!


    Michael - thanks for taking the time to explain that Illustrator method too. I hadn't come across the the 'divide' function before.

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