Using Graph Tools in Adobe Illustrator: Part 3

For Adobe Illustrator CS6 & CC

See Part 1 and Part 2 for the previous posts in this series.

In the last two posts in the series, we looked at all the bar graph type tools available in Illustrator and also scatter graphs. When editing the graphs themselves, two methods were used: one by ungrouping the graphs and their individual elements and another by the Graph Type options window (Options > Graph > Type…) which is quicker method, but limited. In this post, we will work with two similar graphs: Line Graphs and Area Graphs.

Generating Line Graphs

Line graphs are used to show a variable changing over time or an interval, which is useful in showing trends. They work by plotting points on a Cartesian coordinates system and connecting the points with a line. Here’s how to produce them in Adobe Illustrator:

illustrator graphs

In the data window, I have used the first column for the months of a year (for the x-axis) and for the second column I have entered in the values for each of the month (which will be the y-axis). Adding another set of numbers in the next column creates another line to compare to.

illustrator graphs

The Line Graph Tool automatically draws squares on the data points. To remove these squares, select the graph and go onto Graph Type. On the window, make sure Mark Data Points is unticked and press OK.

Like the previous charts, you can change the colours, fonts etc. in the graph via ungrouping the graph and its elements:

illustrator graphs

Generating Area Graphs

Area Graphs work pretty much in the same way as Line Graphs, but with the area below the line filled in with a colour or pattern.

illustrator graphs

The data structure of Area Graphs are identical to that of Line Graphs.

illustrator graphs

Adding additional datasets to each column will stack each data point on top of the previous data point. So for Jan, the next column will plot the data point from 20 on the axis, not 0. The third number column for Jan, will count where to plot the data point from 27 (20 + 7) and so on.

illustrator graphs

By ungrouping the graph and customising it with various effects such as pattern fill and drop shadow, you can really liven up a graph and really make it jump off the page.

In the next part of the series, I will go into the Pie Graph Tool and all the different variations you can produce with it.

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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.