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?
Joely Tafanalo commented
Concerning questions 1/2: I would prefer a separate Desktop App – to be flexible in every direction and Media… Most imporant is to have it data driven (database, CSV, excel, web cms etc.)
Joely Tafanalo commented
Any Update around Max' Project Lincoln???
Have been screaming for this also for years! Initially imagined a separate app approach as well. Need various ways to build charts (pie, bar, line, custom, etc.), apply effects, strokes, shapes, remain clean preferably in a vector state AND continue to be editable! Client changes are guaranteed throughout the production process -- so the ability to update the data and see it reflected in the design would be exciting.
My vote is for a separate tool. I think charting is complex enough and the needs of chart designers specialized enough to justify having its own program.
You might want to explore providing the data-entry portion of the app. or function as an editable, exportable, and printable table rather than a modal window. Importing or pasting data from, say, Excel goes without saying but being able to create tables in Illustrator and either format them as tables for use in illustrations or to use the data in them to generate the graphs strikes me as an approach with a lot of potential. It is much the way Excel works.
 There is an enormous market here and I have been perplexed that Adobe has left this function--poorly written code from the 1990s--unimproved for so long. This may be because those producing graphs form a small subset of Illustrator users. Perhaps this is an argument for a separate application.
 There is a sweet spot in the market for a graphing app. (or an improved, integrated function in Illustrator) from Adobe that takes advantage of the company's expertise with graphics, type and colour to distinguish the product from complex and expensive programmes designed to manipulate data but in which the quality of the output is a secondary consideration.
 Integration with SVG is important
 Access to the code for scripting and automation would be ideal.
 The resetting of the chart upon making changes and the awkward data entry are the chief drawbacks for me though the other points made above are spot on.
 I make up graphs (hundreds each year) in Illustrator, despite the frustration caused by the many defects of the graphing function, because I can place the graphs in InDesign and update is automatic when one uses Edit Original; and because it gives me access to the Adobe Type Engine. If you can build a separate, desktop app that retains those features, I would be happy to have it. But, having the other tools in Illustrator to enhance the graphs is also useful. I'm not keen on an app. in the cloud.
 In a separate app. the ability to place the graphs for print and export for web smoothly and easily is important. Integration with CC Libraries would be very useful.
 I will be happy to test a new app. or improved functionality in Illustrator.
[Deleted User] commented
There seems to be work enough on the main Illustrator app and nothing seems to have been done for several years on the graphing/charting function so my preference would be to see a separate app, with the ability to export in whatever format is best for use in Ai, Ps, Ae, Id or any other Adobe app.
As many of the other comments have stated, this functionality is WAY out of date now and really needs to be addressed.
Andy Eardley commented
Separate desktop app to allow integration into Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, AfterEffects, PremierPro. For those that do a lot of infographic posters, animated video, a separate app that had various forms of integration would seem like a very powerful too.
Martin Cross commented
I don't really mind what program it's in, but I'd prefer it to not be cloud-based, as charts for many annual reports etc. are 'sensitive' and shouldn't be accessible through the cloud.
It has to support CMYK, Pantone colours, Style templates (to allow for setting of fonts/type sizes, chart area, primary/secondary colours, etc), and support more types of graphs/charts than it can at the moment. It has to be able to handle incoming data more easily.
90% of the Annual Reports and accounts that we do have charts in Excel supplied, and its a very lengthy and problematic process to import the data recreate the charts in the correct font, at the correct sizes, using the correct colours.
Keep in Illustrator, and also, once you've set up a style or theme for a chart, allow a way to copy style and paste on new chart.
Federico Platón commented
At least the graph tool need to fully revamped. It lacks a lot of basic features and is not very stable. I get several crashes doing simple things. I think it should not be very hard.
For a more full featured and advanced graph/chart set of tools, I would not mind it is developed as Dimension, a separate application that can be integrated with Ai and ID. It may take shorter to build up, and many people do not use or need this kind of tool.
I understand not in cloud means data is not stored or handled though cloud libraries?
John Reynolds commented
As far as I can remember - back to 2003 - there have been NO improvements in the charting function. I may be wrong with the date, but it's not far off. I appeal to the AI team every year for this. Maybe we're finally getting some traction. Regarding Yogesh's question about a separate desktop app, that would be fine with me just as long as it WORKS. Here's my list if requests:
Allow use of "%" sign in data
Allow use of comma in data
Present comma when used in value axis
Present rounded "X.0" when used in data label (don't cut off ".0")
Add "show data label" option in "Type" options (like "add drop shadow)
Add right-click option to declare left column in data as "Categories." (Eliminate the need for quotes around numbers like years.)
Make the whole "design" process easier and more intuitive (templates?).
Preserve appearance when data is changed.
Make column sizing in the data sheet a "double-click" treatment.
Please address these and the other issues listed here.
This feature, when it comes out, needs to be able to make any chart or graph that you see in print or online in today and tomorrow's market. It has to do basic charts, cool charts, and infographics. It has to link to Excel data for updates. It has to be in Illustrator so other Illustrator features can be used with and around it.
And you have to work with Mark Heaps. That's essential.
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?