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Randy Steward
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Charts in illustrator suck

Jan 31, 2013 10:02 AM

Tags: #charts

We all know it. So what do you guys do to circumvent it. It looks like excel charts copied into illustrator is one way.


We are experiencing a problem with that though, (using numbers on mac not excel) it is "fudging" some of the data points if there is a large number of them. For our purposes this is unacceptable.


Ultimately the data needs to be in indesign anyway so if there are ways for charts to be generated in indesign, that'd be optimal, but I know where I can draw the line. Here is what I'm dealing with:


  • Deadlines are quick so we don't have tons of time to dick with charts
  • We need to maintain a very high level of accuracy
  • The data changes on a regular basis (adding new data points)
  • The size of the chart changes regularly (to fit a variety of contexts)
  • The charts are designed, meaning if we use illustrators native chart function we have to "reapply" the style after adding data


I'm certain I'm not the only one with this mess of a situation so what are people doing to fix it? Indesign and Illustrator options welcome. Different softwar for creating charts, or plugin options are welcome. Just tell me what you do to deal with this I don't care what the solution is. I'm just at a complete loss here.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 31, 2013 10:17 PM   in reply to Randy Steward

    So what do you guys do to circumvent it.


    You don't use it. EasyStat, Mathematica even OpenOffice and Inkskape offer better tools for this.



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    Feb 4, 2013 7:22 PM   in reply to Randy Steward

    Learn Mathematica/ MathLab and use their scripting languages to create a template project or use their built-in CSV/ XLSX importers. Opens up tons of possibilities and they can render this stuff even to 3D-ish SVGs which you than can easily convert and refine in AI. The cheapest option would be to get a home license of Mathematica to learn this stuff, then move on to a commercial license. MathLab and EasyStat are much more expensive and are more aimed at professionals and industrial/ scientific applications, but depending on your workflows might still be worth considering...



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    Feb 5, 2013 8:26 AM   in reply to Randy Steward

    You might also check out DeltaGraph.



    It's $300. I used to be a heavy user of it a decade ago for scientific and financial work, and thought it was great. I would eagerly go back it if I had the need for it. (Have been making-do with Illustrator since, in order to collaborate with other users.)

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