22 Replies Latest reply: Jan 16, 2015 9:50 AM by Mayerchak RSS

    Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?

    Mayerchak Community Member

      Does anyone know whether there have been any improvements to the graphing tool in Illustrator CS6?

       

      I had thought that perhaps Adobe would be adding a graphs function to Indesign, but there has been no word of it with the CS6 release. And nobody has mentioned graphs in their "new features" reviews of either InDesign nor Illustrator.

       

      The graphing function in Illustrator really sucks - it's been the same since Illustrator 88. Have they totally abandoned those of us who have to create graphs again? Or have they improved it but it's just not cool enough for anyone to mention?

        • 2. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
          Mayerchak Community Member

          Thanks - that figures. We get liquid layouts and pattern makers . . . how many people need to make patterns vs. how many people make graphs every day?

           

          I wish Adobe would spend a few weeks out in the real world of people who use the software before they decide what to upgrade.

          • 3. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
            [scott] Community Member

            I wouldn't give up hope.

             

            And from my perspective (I create both graphs and patterns)... there are far, far, far more pattenr creators out there than graph users.

             

            Realize that CS6 was the 64bit jump... that took a LOT of work. New features was not the primary focus of CS6. They did manage to add a few new items, but the bulk of changes were in the performance realm. Very few existing features were altered unless they had a direct relation to performance (like blurs and glows).

            • 4. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
              Mayerchak Community Member


              [scott w] wrote:

               

              Realize that CS6 was the 64bit jump... that took a LOT of work. New features was not the primary focus of CS6. They did manage to add a few new items, but the bulk of changes were in the performance realm. Very few existing features were altered unless they had a direct relation to performance (like blurs and glows).

               

               

              If that is true, then most people in print publishing should just skip the upgrade altogether. I installed Photoshop CS6 beta on a 4-yr old MacPro and every time I opened it (until I turned off the reminder) it reminded me that my machine is not able to take advantage of its multi-processor capabilities . . . so basically every time you open the app it tells you it's time to buy a new Mac.

               

              I have to say I have been hugely underwhelmed by the list of improvements this time around.

              • 5. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                [scott] Community Member

                My guess would the Photoshop messade has more to do with the video card in a 4 year old MacPro, than the actual MacPro. The original video cards in MacPros (nVidia 7300) were hugely underwhelming.

                 

                I can see how you may feel that the only driving force for upgrading is new features. For many, like myself, I'll upgrade to anything which means I either get work done faster or easier. Both have a direct relation to revenue generated. Illustrator CS6 (16) is absolutely a better performing application than any previous version.

                • 6. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                  Protophoto

                  Like many other users, I am in total agreement with you as to frustrations with the primitive graph capabilities in Illustrator, and the whole Master Collection.  Adobe is making a significant mistake here, it could be expanding its reach rather than forcing potential buyers away.

                   

                  That said, I am hoping that the new Image Trace feature will make it much easier to bring Excel graphs into Illustrator.

                   

                  I also strongly disagree with the idea of putting enhanced graphing functions into InDesign.  One of the fundamental reasons I am upgrading to CS6 is the enhanced ability to quickly convert Illustrator vectors to After Effects shape layers, this could be huge for my workflow, and animating graphs is the heart of it.  Illustrator is the natural home for better graphing, so it can support InDesign on one side and After Effects on the other, using the special relationships on both sides.  (It can be problematic to get InDesign to play well with After Effects.)

                  • 7. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                    Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                    [scott w] wrote:

                     

                    I wouldn't give up hope.

                     

                    And from my perspective (I create both graphs and patterns)... there are far, far, far more pattenr creators out there than graph users.

                     

                     

                    I doubt that myself knowing how many annual reports, financil news sections of daily news papers, other finacial reports, populations studies that are put into print, the use of them in science and geography and sociology text books and the list is probably endless
                    I think it iss probably fair to say perhaps people might use other software for this pupose other than Illustrator but the argument I have made for this is exactly that the need for it is there and more powerful support for the ability to do more intuitve and flexible design for graphs is requested so often that it is a no brainer. I know they are thinking about it will probably as a guess be versio CS 7 or 8 but I am pretty certain they are going to do this.

                     

                    But of course I think they need a much better color featue than the currennt live paint because color most users use.

                    • 8. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                      Mylenium MVP

                      And from my perspective (I create both graphs and patterns)... there are far, far, far more pattenr creators out there than graph users.

                       

                      Don't think so. In fact I would guess that more people would actually use AI to make more pretty data graphics than PowerPoint if only it could deliver. Adobe is missing quite a chance here. Contrary to most of you, though, I don't see the solution in more dedicated graphing tools. AI simply needs more procedralism in general like the stuff VectorScribe does. This would not only help make more beautiful data porn, but also UI designers and lots of otehr poeple...

                       

                      Mylenium

                      • 9. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                        Mayerchak Community Member

                        I do a lot of reports - sometimes a 100 page report will have 40 or 50 graphs in it. I have to create over a thousand graphs every year. I have tried all the other products I can find and none of them create files that are really usable in a workflow where everything else is done in Adobe Creative Suite. I need to option click on a linked image of a graph in Indesign, open up an Illustrator file, and update the graph with new data from an Excel file. And I need the graph to look good.

                         

                        Currently, the Illustrator graphing tool does not support live updating of the data very well at all and has severe limitations. Your data cannot have commas or percent signs or dollar signs. You cannot have numbers as categories (years, for example, as a category label all have to be typed in quotes). The graph labels cannot even have commas in them (you have to enter them manually after you plot it.) The entry dialog for the data is really primitive and hard to work with. And every time you update the graph data and replot the bars or lines, the tick marks are scattered all over the page and you lose your commas in the axis labels. Adobe really ought to be ashamed and embarrassed by how poorly this tool works, and I cannot understand how they can create tools like a perspective grid (which is cool, but I haven't needed it yet) and totally ignore such a basic productivity tool as the graphing feature.

                         

                        I'm all for the cool stuff too . . . but you don't need live paint or live trace to do graphs if you can actually just import the numbers and do it right. But my graphs need to be accurate and based on plotted numbers, not hand-drawn. And so I have to come up with complicated workarounds and every time I update a graph I have to do all this stuff over again that should just be a one-click update.

                         

                        If anyone out there is looking for a good business opportunity, build a graphing plugin for Indesign or Illustrator - I'll be happy to test it!

                        • 10. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                          akilleen

                          I think it depends on the kind of graphing you need to do. If it's sales vs. FY quarters, Excel is probably good enough. If you want a high-end graphing package, they are often part of a high-end statistical software package, and clearly that's not where Illustrator is going or should be going. The good news is that some of them can output their graphs in vector format that can be imported easily into Illustrator for some final makeup and lipstick.

                          • 11. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                            Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                            I think that illustrator should be updted to work with Excell better and to have the abilties of high end graphing software as well this is important to getting professionals in other fields to use Illustrator and I bet even witht he capabilites that might allow them to designthe graphs themselves they will rely more on the professionals to at least initialize the design and format for their companies.

                             

                            Much easier for comapnies to have their in house staff work from templates and even better for them to work on templates that they own and are specific to their own needs.

                             

                            If Adobe had this in Illustrator especially with the Cloud then companies will start to really jump on the band wagon.

                             

                            That is an educated [pprofessional is Adobes best partner as it would be for the professional desinger as well.

                             

                            A better graphing tool that is top flight will do a lot to make Illustrator and InDesign along with some of the Motion Gtraphics tool a real seller to the corporate market.

                             

                            It's sbout time they stop playing with this amatuer Microsoft mentality!

                            • 12. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                              Mayerchak Community Member

                              I strongly disagree that Excel is "probably good enough." It does not create vector graphs that you can customize and use in an Indesign document. Anyone who thinks it's good enough either has never tried to create one, and therefore doesn't know what they're talking about, or has low quality standards.

                               

                              And I do already own high-end graphic design software - it's called the Adobe Creative Suite. I should be able to create line graphs and bar charts in some part of the Adobe Suite and have the ability to replot a graph with new data without totally screwing up the rest of the graph the way Illustrator does currently.

                               

                              Sure, linking to Excel would be great, but right now you can't even use a column of numbers with commas or dollar signs in it, or % signs. Illustrator's graphing feature is embarrassingly lame and we should not need to buy "high-end statistical software" (such as what, for example?) for creating graphs that look good enough to be placed in well-designed reports.

                               

                              I agree with Wade_Zimmerman that Adobe is missing a huge business opportunity here - a lot of companies would buy the software if it could be used for this basic productivity need. Instead people are stuck using clunky Microsoft products like Excel and Powerpoint, and have to suffer with substandard visualization of their data.

                               

                              I really view this as Adobe having the wrong priorities. They try to wow us into spending more money with useless features such as a Content Conveyor, which is nothing but a dumbed-down library (we have had libraries for several versions already).

                              • 13. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                                akilleen Community Member

                                As I said, it depends on the kinds of graphing you need to do. Different strokes for different folks. In my field I'm interested in more than just getting a graph as an end product. I have data sets that need statistical analysis (with SAS for example) before plotting anything. I don't expect that from Illustrator. If you just want bar graphs that's a different issue. For most people who want to show a graph, Illustrator would be way overkill IMO. I'm no big fan of Microsoft, but most users who need to make a presentation that includes graphs can accomplish it with Excel, which is standard software in business. Thinking that they will jump to Illustrator for graphing the monthly sales report is naive.

                                • 14. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                                  Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                                  Well I might be wrong about this but monthly sales reports is not exactly what I am talking about but seeling a client or making presentations to markets and future customers then i say you have to be foolish to make such an amateurish presentation that Excel will produce, in house might be fine but when you show these statics and numbers in a competitive environment then hell with Excel it all looks pretty much like the same company giving the same results regardless of the actual data.

                                   

                                  'The truth is like or not or being as sensitive to it or not the impact on the veiwer in this type of environment is far more important that the actual numbers you have to communicate not just give them information, since chances are it is not going to record.

                                   

                                  In house it might even be desired but for the simple purpose that if it looks like it is what is expected then it is probably ok and no one regardless of the actual data will lose their job.

                                   

                                  Excell is good for that and good for politicians and stuff like that. That is why Bill gates is pushing that kind of graphic for graphs, but it has little meaning beyond that point.

                                   

                                  Being essentially illegible might be your goal but if you need to communicate a strong message then you are not talking about simply delivering homogenized data.

                                   

                                  I think you missed the point we are focusiing on sales presentaion, annual reports book publishers, magazines such as science and eco magazines, video and television expo exhibits.

                                   

                                  The thinking is larger than what you are looking at and excell cannot offer this.

                                   

                                  The bureaucrat is hopeless you can't do anything with them. But the sales force is looking for an advantage and communications is the advantage. 

                                  • 15. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                                    Mayerchak Community Member

                                    I'm not trying to get into an argument with akilleen here, but if a person needs all of that statistical analysis their needs are clearly different anyway, and are not relevant to a discussion about using Illustrator for graphing. I never said anything about wanting Adobe to provide statistical analysis. I'm talking about real-world uses of Illustrator that already go on every day and could be vastly improved if they just updated the software. I'm talking about trying to make attractive bar graphs and line graphs and scatter graphs with plotted numerical data. The graph IS an end product as a piece of art placed into a publication; but it may also need to be updated every month or quarter or year or whatever.

                                     

                                    I don't expect all of the administrative workers who use Microsoft products to start using Illustrator to create graphs. I'm talking about those of us who are graphic designers who are hired to create well-designed reports that contain graphs. Everything from annual reports to newsletters to magazine articles to books to monthly and quarterly fund performance reports are created by graphic designers using the Adobe Creative Suite, and yes, we do want them to look better than you can do in Powerpoint or Excel. Using Illustrator for this work is not overkill in the slightest.

                                     

                                    There are lots of administrative workers who are expected to create publications. If they have access to the Adobe Creative Suite, they would be able to improve their company's visual communications if they had better tools.

                                     

                                    Wanting Adobe to improve these tools is neither naive nor overkill. Graphic design is IMPORTANT, and well-designed graphs stand out from the mountains of schlock that people crank out with Powerpoint every day.

                                    • 17. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                                      sandeecohen ACP/MVPs

                                      I just got a consulting job where the client wants to improve the look of their newsletter. They have hired a designer to redo the publication in InDesign.

                                       

                                      They have hired me to look at their current pie charts and line/bar graphs to see how Illustrator can hook up with Excel to create higher quality images.

                                       

                                      I am stunned by how awful the features in Illustrator are. My designer can design lovely looking graphs, but if the client wants anything like currency amounts in wedges, callouts for small slices, rotated legends, etc. etc. he is up the creek without any graphing padding.

                                       

                                      Now, I know that Excel has taken over almost all of the business graphing output in the world. But Excel's colors are RGB and their curves are clunky.

                                       

                                      Does anyone know of a product that can hook up to Excel and create higher quality charts and graphs, on the Windows platform? We're not looking for scientific graphs, just business ones.

                                      • 18. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                                        Mayerchak Community Member

                                        Hey Sandee,

                                         

                                        I have done tons of mutual fund reports, graphing Excel data in Illustrator - and the process really sucks, considering how far Adobe has come with other areas such as DPS. They clearly do not understand that they could sell a LOT of monthly subscriptions to corporations if only they made the graphing function usable by mere mortals.

                                         

                                        What we always have to do is Import the data from Excel into Illustrator, plot the graph, and then fix all the things Illustrator screws up. There are ways you can make it less dreadful, if you know you're going to have to update the graph on a regular basis; for  instance a fair amount of tweaking can be done without ungrouping the elements so they are still connected to the data. In addition you can save a copy of the plotted graph on the pasteboard and replot that each time, then break up a copy of the graph.

                                         

                                        But both of those techniques require using Illustrator and putting up with its 1988 feature set. And it is a real pain in the butt!

                                         

                                        Have you tried the Chartwell font? It has serious limitations for financial data, such as only 100 pie slices (so you can't compare 25.6 vs. 26.4 (both would be 26). But it's fine for some simple uses. Although I hasten to add that it bugs me to see people tout it as a solution, because it really is only a tiny band-aid.

                                         

                                        If anyone else out there has a solution to Sandee's issue, I'd love to know it also!

                                        • 19. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                                          Mike_Abbott Community Member

                                          I'd just like to add my voice to those calling for an upgrade to the illustrator graph feature. Currently it's an embarrassment.

                                           

                                          I just hope Adobe are intelligent enough to avoid thinking it's 'not worthwhile upgrading it - because not enough people use it...' That may well be circular reasoning.

                                          • 20. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                                            laxjoker34

                                            I found this helpful when updating graphs after I had already created them. Still holds the design elements I implemented after data input and graph creation in AI

                                            How to Create Infographics in Adobe Illustrator - Designmodo

                                            • 21. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                                              DeezleDeeDee Community Member

                                              Couldn't agree more. It's a little embarrassing when I have to tell MS office fans that I can't do that in Illustrator, but I do have a work around!

                                               

                                              I create graphs in excel and then PDF the graph and import that into Illustrator and fix it up there. Really sad but it's the best I can do.

                                              • 22. Re: Has Adobe improved the Graphs tool in Illustrator CS6?
                                                Mayerchak Community Member

                                                Yeah, and here we are using Illustrator CC 2014 with the same graphing tools from Illustrator 88.

                                                 

                                                I am right now doing a report with about 50 graphs in it. If the Excel data has commas, percents, or dollar signs, I can't import it; I first have to reformat it.

                                                 

                                                When I have a graph with years or other numbers as the x-axis labels, I have to type them in Quotes (i.e. "2000" "2001") in order to use them as axis labels.

                                                 

                                                I really believe Adobe is missing a HUGE business opportunity here. Think of all the corporate communications people who create graphs in PowerPoint all day and would love to be able to make them look better and use them in InDesign documents.

                                                 

                                                I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Adobe has COMPLETELY IGNORED this aspect of their product. They are spending a lot of time updating mobile apps . . . I will bet you that a lot more people would want to be able to design a graph in InDesign than want to use InDesign on an iPad.