Learning Paths

Using Graph Tools in Adobe Illustrator: Part 5

For Adobe Illustrator CS6 & CC

Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 for the previous posts in this series.

For the final part of the series I will be looking into the Radar Graph Tool.


The Radar Graph Tool

To begin, first select the Radar Graph Tool in the Tool Sidebar and drag out the size you want it at. You’ll be first given a blank circle with a single axis:

graph tool

The data is grouped into columns, so each data point down the column corresponds to a point on an axis and a variable. Each variable has its own axis and all the variables are connected up with a line:

graph tool

So each row is a variable, which in our case is Speed, Strength and Defence.  So when you add a row, you add an new axis to the chart.  Radar Charts are useful for displaying multivariate data from which to detect patterns and outliers from.

graph tool

Adding a second column adds a second group of points onto the chart. In this case, we’re comparing the stats of both Jim and Roger.

graph tool

You can add a polar grid to the chart by right clicking on it and selecting Graph Type. On the window, select Value Axis from the top dropdown menu and under Tick Marks, select Full Width in the Length dropdown menu, then press OK.

graph tool
After deselecting the chart, you will see that you’ll be left with a mess of chart that’s not very pretty and bit hard to read. Time to adjust it.

Select the chart and go Object > Ungroup or press Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + G and press Yes on the pop-up message. Repeat this process again a second time to further ungroup the chart.

graph tool
The grid stands out too much and the scale is illegible. So lets first select all the rings with the Selection Tool. Then, set the Stroke Weight to 0.5pt and the Stroke Colour to RGB(179,179,179). Next, select the numbers on the scale and increase their size to something readable (I’ve put 11pt). It’s also a good idea to bring the numbers to the front, so right click onto them and go Arrange > Bring to Front. I have also boldened the variable names to make them stand out more.

graph tool
Next, lets improve the line plots. Click onto the black square points with the Selection tool and ungroup twice via Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + G. Then while they’re still selected, set the Stroke Colour to none and set the Fill Colour to a red. After go Effect > Convert to Shape > Ellipse… and set both Extra Width and Extra Height to 0 and press OK.

Now, select the triangle line and set that Stroke and Fill Colour to a red as well. Repeat this process again for the lines plotted for Jim’s stats data and use a green.

graph tool
Lets give the axis some arrowheads: select all three axis lines with the Selection Tool and on the Stroke Tool menu on the sidebar (if it’s not there go Window > Stroke) and set the end point arrow head to Arrow 2. After, use the Direct Selection Tool to drag the end points of the arrow out a bit, but still carefully keeping the lines in-place.

To make the triangle have a transparent fill like above, first select the Pen Tool in the side Toolbar or press P. Make sure Stroke is set to none and the Fill is the same colour as the triangle you intend to fill first. Next, plot three points inside each triangle to fill in. Set the opacity to 50% via the top bar. Repeat process for remaining triangle. Now the chart should be complete!

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I hope this series has been useful and enlightened you further into the graph building functions for Adobe Illustrator, which are probably underutilized.  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.