Improve Graph / Chart tool
Current graph tool in Illustrator has many limitations that need fixing. Following are some of the problems in Graph tool:
- No value labels
- Data window that requires you to remove characters such as commas
- Resetting of chart upon making changes
- Resizing issues (e.g. with bounding box)
- Missing basic chart types like *****
- No support for templates
- Also the tool doesn't support making new chart types, such as attaching data to any attribute of the artwork.
Please share your thoughts on the following:
1. Would it make sense to have a separate desktop app, just to create charts, and bring them inside Illustrator or InDesign? It may not be on cloud.
2. Or would you rather have us work on building it within Illustrator?
My group would DEFINITELY be interested in more robust charting features (scatter, multi-chart overlays, etc.), as well as the ability to use simple transform, align, etc. features on graph elements (w/o ungrouping the chart). We use Illustrator almost exclusively for charts, and have been looking at other charting software to replace AI. We sometimes have to create the graph in Excel, convert to PDF, and edit in AI (where it's no longer data-driven).
Illustrator graph features have not changed since (at least) version 4--sometime in the 1990's? 20 years ago?!
I would lean towards incorporating this into Illustrator because it has more robust editing tools. I like where Project Lincoln is heading but we really need a wide variety of data viz options and that seems like it would be best done inside AI.
Current chart types needed, beyond the standards, would include:
- Scatter Plots
- Bullet charts
- dendograms, sankey and alluvial diagrams
- circle packing and clusters, bubble charts,
- parallel coordinates
- gant chart
- steam graphs
- sunburst, chord diagrams
If you added cartographic mapping it would be amazing!!!
However, I would take ANYTHING at this point.
Any timing available for Project Lincoln?
I work on charts that get regularly updated. I would like to be able to preserve the look of them after the data is changed. At present, all fills and effects disappear and effects have to be reapplied manually.
I just learned about linking graph ai's in InDesign layouts to save time, but having to reapply effects each time negates most of the saved. time.
Another bug: if any data is over 3 million, the graph doesn't work. I work for a financial institution - a lot of large numbers. I have to take several zeroes off the end of all data when working with large numbers, then add them back on to the value axis when I'm all done entering data. A real pain.
The chart tool is great for transforming data but the user experience is lacking. You cannot scale a chart after creating the bounding box, and you cannot change the orientation of the category axis if the fields are too long character wise to sit beside each other. At times the properties panel cannot recognize that you are selecting a whole group of text so you have to go and manually edit from the top menu. There is also no option to show data points and position said points. Example: if you wanted to show a percentage inside a graph or outside of a bar graph you'd have to manually select and move. I attended Adobe Max this year and saw a sneak for project Lincoln, a LOT of those features would be extremely helpful!
Chris Cantore commented
Yes if we can support logarithmic scale that would be phenomenal. Come on Adobe! You don't want us designers to have to find other software to handle what we all know Adobe can handle, do you?
Seeing Yogesh Sharma's question above, I would *love* to see Adobe concentrate on a dedicated app for charting, graphing and infographics.
Then, lo and behold, I see a Sneek Peek from Max:
which looks HUGELY promising. What stage is Project Lincoln at. May I join the pre-release on that? This is EXACTLY what I have been hoping would be introduced.
I think it makes the most sense to do within illustrator.
To add another complaint to the list, if I make several bar charts for one document with varying numbers of bars, but I want all the bars to appear the same width throughout, why do I have to painstakingly resize them all with scale and percentages of cluster widths? Could the Type menu not possess the function for me to enter the width of bars and the space between them in mm and resize itself according to the number of bars?
Also, could the value axis labels not jump up and down every time I update the data? Just looking for a bit of consistency.
Having a separate, robust app would be great (and surprisingly missing amongst the Adobe family of apps) but also some "simple" fixes to the graph tool in AI would also be very welcome.
Yes and yes.
A discrete chart/infographic designer could be fantastic. Certainly it would be more widely adopted and would have the potential to be more robust than a tool within AI (e.g. linking, layered data sets, animation etc.).
Data visualization seems to be a common need across all media types and it would make sense to have a focused tool that can easily integrate with varying workflows incl. providing editable source to Ai/Ps/Ae, or direct placement in In/Pr/Dw/Mu etc..
That said, I'm hesitant to suggest work on a new product (with undetermined design goals, and that could be discontinued at some point) over working to modernize an established product that I use daily.
The other problem is that these two choices almost certainly will deal with different users and use-cases, to the point that they aren't really comparable. IMHO, when and if this great infographic app is available let's then pose the question "do you still need a chart tool in Ai?" - until then, lets fix what's broken.
Paul A. H. Bunyar commented
1. Would a separate app make it easier for Adobe to concentrate on getting these issues fixed quickly? Some comments in the stream say it hasn't changed since Illustrator 5. Actually the chart tool hasn't changed since about version 1. A separate desktop app would be fine as long as I don't use much of the functionalities found in Illustrator that relate to creating, modifying, updating, or reformatting charts.
2. Fixing, improving, evolving the chart tool within Illustrator would be fine. But if this is going to take years instead of months to tackle because of the other complexities having to do with other improvements within Illustrator, then make it a separate app.
Good question. There are pros and cons. While I can appreciate the desire to keep this function in Illustrator, and thus part of current subscription plans, my questions is this: How can Adobe create a better charting tool soonest, and how do we avoid getting so far behind the times again? If a separate app means that the tool gets updated more frequently, that's the way to go. I would guess that 95% of Illustrator users never touch the chart tool, but nearly all of those who do are extremely frustrated with it. I've talked with several people in our industry, and everyone has the same set of frustrations with it.
I'd rather have in Illustrator.
Especially with your comment "it may not be on cloud" does that mean it won't be included in part of grade of cloud subscription the last thing I need is to pay for another item.
Please update this tool. While I appreciate the presence of this tool - I'd like it even more if I could resize the graph. Other chart types would be appreciated too!
Look up the opentype font Chartwell, seal the things it can do? Make illustrated to them.
Also, enable interactive elements for charts. This goes along with making illustrator SVG files compliant with the SVG standard.
See Isaiah’s comments and change in-house financial industry to in-house designer for scientists. Large amounts of complex data to deal with here. Data entry into Illustrator is most often a nightmare. Please revamp so that we can efficiently work. Thank you.
I have not been using Illustrator for very long, but I recently came across some tutorials for making graphs using the CC Chart Tool. On looking for it in my program (Illustrator CC 2017), I have discovered that you have stopped offering it. The latest information I can find is from 2015, which implied that you would be working on it and improving it. I'm disappointed that 2 years later, it hasn't got any further. The graphs options in Illustrator are in need of updating anyway - it looked like you had the makings of a really good improvement.
Candidly, Illustrator chart tool should be able to do almost anything that Excel can chart. The reality of working for an in-house corporation is that the designer will be given data via MS Office, like it or not. So it's pretty unrealistic to go back to a product manager and tell them -- our Adobe software doesn't understand your data unless you change this, change that and format it this way. The alternative is to become and Excel master, so that you can prep all of your data and format it "just-so" so that Illustrator can graph it. Even then, manual workarounds are often necessary. This tool is antiquated and needs a complete overhaul. Anyone who works as a designer in the financial industry has run into these issues.
Tomas Amsrud commented
I would prefer to have the graph tool inside Illustrator.
Benefits with "inside illustrator" would be:
- easy to combine graph with illustrator objects
- easy to have same style between regular illustations and graphs
- keep the possibily to break apart a graph when special needs