Using Graph Tools in Adobe Illustrator: Part 2

For Adobe Illustrator CS6 & CC

See Part 1 for the previous post in this series.

Adobe Illustrator is capable of generating it’s own charts, which is particularly useful when producing pieces of data visualisation or info-graphics. Illustrator has the ability to generate: Column Graphs, Stacked Column Graphs, Bar Graphs, Stacked Bar Graphs, Line Graphs, Area Graphs, Scatterplots, Pie Chart and Radar Charts. In Part 1 of this series, I went into the Column and Bar Graph Tools. In this post I will look into the Stacked Column and Bar Graph Tool and the Scatter Graph Tool and how you can manipulate them to produce the style you want.

Stacked Column and Bar Graphs

Stacked Column and Bar Graphs like in their previous unstacked counterparts: Column and Bar Graphs, are no different apart from their bar orientation (one is horizontal, while the other is vertical).

graph illustrator

Stacked Column/Bar Graphs stacks values one after the other to show how larger categories are divided into smaller ones. The length of the bar represents the large category’s total value. When creating stacked column/bar graphs in Illustrator, each row of data is used to display a single bar.

graph illustrator

As you can see above, if you add more rows of data, you get more bars which you can compare to each other.

Exactly in the same way we did in Part 1, you can edit the stacked column/bar graphs by going Object > Ungroup or pressing Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + G and then editing the image as you would with any other on Illustrator.

Scatter Graphs

The next graph tool we’ll tackle here is the Scatter Graph Tool. Scatter Graphs can be be used to find correlations between two variables and work by plotting points on a x-y axis.

graphs illustrator

As you can see in the data window, the first column is the y-axis, while the 2nd column determines where the point lines up to in the x-axis. You will also notice, that in the first row I’ve put “0.00, 0.00” – this is just to set the minimum values on the x & y axis for both zero. If it didn’t do this, then Illustrator would just start each axis from the smallest data value from the dataset.

Illustrator also has a feature in the data window called Switch x/y (fourth button from the right) that can flip the values designated for the x & y axis around.

graphs illustrator

One issue with the Scatter Graph Tool is that it automatically connects all the points together. This can be easily removed in the Graph Type window by selecting the graph, right clicking onto it and click on Type… from the menu or going Object > Graph > Type… from the top menu.

graphs illustrator

Simply de-tick Connect Data Points on the Options section at the bottom and press OK. This will remove the line from the graph.

The Graph Type window is a quick, but limited way of customising graphs in Illustrator and can be used to switch between different graph types without having to change the data. Options vary depend on what graph type you select, but it allows you to adjust some parts of the graph without having to fiddle around too much.

graphs illustrator

Return back to the Graph Type window and click on the drop-down menu on the top that has Graph Type. Select Value Axis from the menu and on the third section Tick Marks, open the Length drop-down menu and select Full Width. Now repeat the same process again by opening the drop-down menu on the top where Value Axis is and select Bottom Axis. Again, set to Full Width in the Length drop-down menu and press OK. This will draw a grid onto the graph.

graphs illustrator

Now while the graph is selected, go Object > Ungroup or press Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + G and press Yes on the popup window. Again go Object > Ungroup or press Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + G. This will break the graph up even further to allow you to select more individual elements. With the Selection tool, select all of the grid and set the Stroke to 0.5pt (make sure Align to Pixel Grid is ticked off by going Transform via Shift + F8) and the Stroke Colour to a light grey (r180, g180, b180). You should now have a light grid in the background of the scatter graph.

At the moment the points are drawn as squares, if you want to convert them to circles and change their colour here’s how to do it:

graphs illustrator

First with the Selection Tool, click onto the points. This should automatically select all of them on the graph, as they are still grouped. As before, go Object > Ungroup or Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + G, but make sure all the points are still all selected afterwards. Now go to Fill and select a red and go Stroke and set to none. On the top menu go Effect > Convert to Shape > Ellipse… A window will popup, where you will need to set the Size in Options to Absolute and the Width & Height to 7px and press OK. Click onto the point near 0,0 and delete it. You should be left with a graph that looks like this:

graphs illustrator

In the next part, I will be going into Line Graphs and Area Graphs.

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If you’re interested in learning more about Adobe Illustrator, then we offer a range of high quality courses at different proficiency levels, in numerous cities across the UK.


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