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Exercise 2: Graphs and Charts

A Good Graph does the following:

accurately shows the facts
grabs the reader's attention
complements or demonstrates arguments presented in the text
has a title and labels
is simple and uncluttered
shows data without altering the message of the data
clearly shows any trends or differences in the data
is visually accurate (i.e., if one chart value is 15 and another 30, then 30 should appear to be twice the size of 15).



In Illustrator, you can create a multitude of nice graphs by selecting the type pf graph from the toolbar. Adobe Illustrator graph tools let you create nine different graph types:



The default graph type. It compares one or more sets of values by using rectangles whose lengths are proportional to the values.

Stacked column

Similar to a column graph, but stacks the columns on top of one another, instead of side by side. This graph type is useful for showing the relationship of parts to the total.


Similar to a column graph, but positions the rectangles horizontally instead of vertically.

Stacked bar

Similar to a stacked column graph, but stacks the bars horizontally instead of vertically.


Uses points to represent one or more sets of values, with a different line joining the points in each set. This type of graph is often used to show the trend of one or more subjects over a period of time.


Similar to a line graph, but emphasizes totals as well as changes in values.


Plots data points as paired sets of coordinates along the x and y axes. Scatter graphs are useful for identifying patterns or trends in data. They also can indicate whether variables affect one another.


A circular graph whose wedges represent the relative percentages of the values compared.


Compares sets of values at given points in time or in particular categories, and is displayed in a circular format. This type of graph is also called a web graph.

Basic Graph Drawing

Create a Graph

1. Select the Graph tool from the Tool Palette. It is the 8th symbol on the right side. The default graph is the column graph. Use this graph for this example.

2. Drag diagonally from the corner where you want the graph to begin to the opposite corner. Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to drag from the center of the graph.

3. When you have finished dragging the graph, a window pops up for input like the image below.

4. Enter graph data.

You must select an entire graph before you can change its data.
You can enter data in up to 32,767 rows by 32,767 columns, as memory permits.
Graph data cannot contain nonnumerical characters other than decimal points (.) or decimal commas; if it does, the data is not plotted. For example, you would enter 245000, not 245,000. However, you can enter nonnumerical characters in labels, as described later in this section.

Graph data dialog box A. Entry line B. Import data C. Transpose row/column D. Switch x/y E. Cell style F. Revert G. Apply H. Row I. Column J. Cell

To get this data dialog box in the future, choose Object > Graph > Data.

At the top of a work sheet is the entry line for entering data. You enter labels and then data that correspond to the labels. Each label or value you enter is placed into a separate cell. A cell is the intersection of a row and a column.

Labels are words or numbers that describe two things: categories, whose data is entered in rows; and legends, whose data is entered in columns. In the final graph, legends appear as boxes that you can place above or to the right of a graph.


Column and stacked column graphs

Enter numbers along the vertical (y) axis; enter labels for the data along the horizontal (x) axis.

1. By using the mouse to click inside area A, begin typing in the x-axis labels followed by Enter on the keyboard.This will begin to store the first set of x axis values in the left columnl.Press Tab to enter the data and select the next cell in the same row. (See below image).

2. To create legend labels for the vertical (y) axis, enter the labels in the first row. (Do not enter a legend label in the first cell of the row if you are also creating labels for the horizontal (x) axis.)

Move between cells by clicking on the cell and type into the dialoug box, then press Enter.

To create labels consisting only of numbers, enclose the numbers in straight quotation marks (that is, not "curly" quotation marks). For example, to use the year 1996 as a label, enter "1996"; to use quotation marks around a number label, use text quotation marks within another set of straight quotation marks--for example ""1996"". If a label includes both text and numbers, you do not need to use quotation marks.

Be careful using the back arrows when working in the dialoug box! You might move from cell to cell without realizing it. Use your mouse in the dialog box to modify label entries.

You can see one graph many different ways by first creating the graph, select it, then choose Object/Graph/Type. Be careful! The data might not make sense in a particular graph / chart.

Bar and stacked bar graphs

Enter numbers along the horizontal (x) axis; enter labels for the data along the vertical (y) axis.

Column, stacked column, bar, and stacked bar graphs

The height of the column or the length of the bar corresponds to the amount being compared. For column or bar graphs, you can combine positive and negative values; negative values appear as columns extending below the horizontal axis. For stacked column graphs, numbers must be all positive or all negative.

Line graphs

Enter numbers representing quantities along the y axis; enter numbers representing time along the x axis. Each column of data corresponds to one line in the line graph. You can combine positive and negative values in a line graph.

Area graphs

Plot at least two rows of data; values must be all positive or all negative. Each row of data entered corresponds to a filled area on the area graph. Area graphs add each column's values to the previous column's totals. Therefore, even if area graphs and line graphs contain the same data, they appear substantially different.

Scatter graphs

Enter y axis data in the first column and x axis in the second column. A scatter graph differs from the other kinds of graphs, because both axes measure values; there are no categories. If the first column contains labels, it is ignored, and the second column produces values for the y coordinates.

Pie graphs

Plot only one row of data, either all positive or all negative values. If you plot additional rows of data, a separate pie graph is created for each additional row. You cannot combine positive and negative values. The size of the individual pie graphs is proportional to the total of each graph's data.


Radar graphs

Enter labels for the axes in the first Enter labels for the axes in the first column and a set of numbers in each successive column. Each label results in a separate axis; unlike other graphs, a radar graph can have more than two axes per graph. Each number is plotted on an axis and connected to the others in the same axis to create a "web."