Put me on a continuum
July 28, 2009 8:50 AM   Subscribe

What free software (or adroit use of SmartDraw or basic MS Office products) provides a template for making pretty continuum figures/charts for inclusion in a Word document?

I would like to produce something that is at its core like this, but allowing me to (a) introduce stacking (that is, easily superimpose another X axis on top, or various vectors), and (b) introduce a little more glam (e.g., like this).

I know that I could generate something crude by freedrawing. I also know that in Excel or SmartDraw I could generate a timeline, which looks approximately right but is miserable to work with if the basic values on the X axis are not chronological data -- as they are not. I have to believe there is something out there with a friendly, free, elegant template!

If it helps, this is for a formal set of figures in a social science paper, in which the continuum illustrates degrees of restraint on the latitude of various actors -- with successive figures illustrating additional constraints by stacking or superimposing them on the X axis. I have Word 2002.

posted by Clyde Mnestra to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Do you have PowerPoint? If not, perhaps you could use OpenOffice Impress (free).
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:00 AM on July 28, 2009

Response by poster: I do have PowerPoint (2002). I am probably being thick, and lazy, but I don't see anything suitable there, besides the capacity to create and insert a picture using autoshapes. I was hoping there would be some prefabricated solutions that would not look like I sat down with the software version of a ruler and some traceable figures.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:14 AM on July 28, 2009

Have you used Visio? It comes with MS Office Pro, or you can download a free 60-Day trial here.
posted by ashabanapal at 2:50 PM on July 28, 2009

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