How to Create a Line Graph in Adobe Illustrator

There are several types of graphs that can be created in Illustrator. There are also many hidden features that can be used to make a graph more interesting. In this tutorial, line graphs will be explored.

  1. Go to the Tool Bar, and click and hold on the Column Graph Tool to show the nested tools. Select the Line Graph Tool.
    Tool Bar
  2. Draw a rectangle where you want the graph to appear. The Graph Data Panel will automatically open.
    Data Panel
  3. Data can be entered in different ways:
    • Key it into each cell in the panel manually using Tab to move to the next cell in a row, Enter to move to the next cell in the same column, or the arrow keys to navigate to navigate from cell to cell.
    • Copy/Paste cell by cell from a spreadsheet app such as Excel.
    • Turn the spreadsheet data into a tab-delimited file. An easy way to do this is to copy all the data fields in the spreadsheet, then paste them into a Notepad file.
  4. To import the data from a text file, click the Import Data button in the Data Panel and select the file in the directory.
    Data Panel
  5. Click Apply to see the data take effect in the graph. In this example, nothing happens because I'm using average price per year data where the years would be the labels. By default, all numbers are treated as data.
    Line Graph
  6. To turn the years into labels, the numbers must be enclosed in quotation marks. In the Data Panel, click a cell with a year, then go to the Text Entry Box and add straight quotes (") at the beginning and end.
    Data Panel
  7. Dollar signs are not recognized, so if the numbers were formatted as currency, the "$" would also need to be deleted for each cell in the Data Panel. Once formatted correctly, click Apply.
    Line Graph
  8. Click the Close button in the Data Panel. When prompted to save the changes, click Save.
  9. Graphs are grouped objects. Use the Selection Tool and Group Selection Tool for formatting. To access additional graph options, use the Selection Tool, right-click on any part of the graph and choose Type.
    Line Graph
  10. In the dialog box, click the Graph Options menu and choose Value Axis.
    Graph Type
  11. Set the Tick Marks Length to Full Width, then go to Prefix and type $. Go to Suffix and type 0. Click OK.
    Graph Type
  12. You can create art to replace the square markers in the graph. Use the Group Selection Tool to copy/paste one of the markers. Position the pasted marker as the back-most object behind the artwork. The art can be larger than the marker. With the design selected, go to Object > Graph > Design.
  13. In the dialog box, click New Design.
    New Design
  14. Click Rename to give the design a name. Click OK to close both dialog boxes.
    New Design
  15. Select all the markers in the graph, including the one in the legend. Go to Object > Graph > Marker. Select the marker and click OK.
    Graph Marker
  16. Finish formatting the graph elements using the Group Selection Tool. Anything that you don't appearing in the graph, such as the legend, can simply be dragged to the pasteboard.
    Finished Line Graph
Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.

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