Using Graph Tools in Adobe Illustrator: Part 4

For Adobe Illustrator CS6 & CC

Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 for the previous posts in this series.

The last two remaining graph tools for me to go through are the Pie Graph Tool and Radar Graph Tool. I’d recommend going through the previous parts in this series if you haven’t done so, as you may be unfamiliar with some of the features I will be using in this post.


The Pie Graph Tool

Pie Charts are ideal for giving a quick view of the proportional distribution of a data set. They help show proportions and percentages between categories by the use of slice-like segments. Adobe Illustrator has a tool that conveniently generates Pie Charts, saving you the hassle of calculating the percentage arc of each slice. Select the Pie Graph Tool in the sidebar and drag out the size you want it at.

illustrator graph

When prompted with the data window, enter two simple values that add up to 100. In this case, I’ve used 40 and 60. Press OK to see the results.

illustrator graph

Above I’ve assigned the categories “Yes” and “No” in the first row, which will also display a key on the top right-hand corner of the charts. You’ll also notice a second row of numbers, which once the data is submitted, will produce an additional Pie Chart for every new row of data you write.

illustrator graph

Often with Pie Charts, you might want the category labels inside the chart itself. This can be done via the Graph Type option window and under the Legend dropdown menu select Legends in Wedges and press OK. A major downside to this is that the default colour for the text is black, which fades into the black slice. One way to solve this problem is to select the Direction Selection Tool from the side toolbar and re-colour the bits of text individually.

illustrator charts

Of course as always, you can always ungroup the charts and recolour and adjust it to your liking.


Stacking Pie Charts Inside Each Other

There’s also a feature in Illustrator that allows you to stack each Pie Chart inside one another. Create a new graph with the Pie Graph Tool and enter in these values below to produce four Pie Charts:

illustrator charts

Now while the charts are selected, go onto the Graph Type option window and at the bottom select Stacked from the Position drop-down menu and press OK. You will now see the charts arrange themselves inside one another:

illustrator charts

Be warned: this doesn’t produce a Sunburst Chart/Circular treemap – it just places each pie chart on top of each other without any data hierarchy or consideration of the previous data points. However, one thing the technique would be useful for is producing Circular Bar Graphs.


Create Donut Charts with the Pie Graph Tool

Are very simple way to convert your Pie Chart into a Donut Chart in Adobe Illustrator is to set all the values in the last data row to zero and make sure in the Graph Type option window that the position is set to Stacked.

illustrator charts


Using the Pie Graph Tool to Produce Proportional Area Charts

One unintended feature of the Pie Graph Tool is the ability to produce Proportional Area Charts:

illustrator charts

Making sure Position in Graph Type is set to Ratio, fill in the data only by a single column and submit. The circles are now presented in ratio to each other.

In the next and final part of the series, I will be looking into the Radar Graph Tool and how to take full advantage of it.

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