Help me get rid of battling Adobe to make graphs, please
June 10, 2011 8:58 AM   Subscribe

A (free) software tool for gorgeous and effortless (pie, bar,...) graphs?

I currently make graphs in Adobe suite (InDesign, Illustrator,...). It's never hassle free. I've even taken to dragging the bars to their proper length on sight, because inputting all the right figures is such a hassle, and the bars never come out right.

I was thinking there must be some kind of app/tool that does this well, and you guys must know it, or am I wrong?

(Question has been asked before but that was in 2007 - surely we've made progress since then?).
posted by NekulturnY to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Excel has a pretty damned powerful graph tool. Comparable programs like OpenOffice do too, even GoogleSpreadsheet, though the latter isn't quite as awesome.
posted by valkyryn at 9:04 AM on June 10, 2011

posted by jet_silver at 9:49 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Which operating system? You could try R, but that's got a learning curve. Excel is most likely good enough, you can do quite a lot with it.
posted by facetious at 10:01 AM on June 10, 2011

Number Picture? It's an online tool, you drop in the data and it makes a picture (but if you have Excel or something like it I'd use that).
posted by bjrn at 1:39 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by stratastar at 1:49 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Second Excel. Specifically Excel/Powerpoint 2007. The graphics are magnitudes ahead of the 2003 suite, and the ability to change colors, styles, fonts, etc. is incredibly easy (just hover for preview).
posted by firstcity_thirdcoast at 1:54 PM on June 10, 2011

If you're on a Mac, Numbers is a good complement to Excel. At the very least, you should start with one of these apps and then maybe finish in Illustrator.
posted by anildash at 4:13 PM on June 10, 2011

There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of "graphing tools", catering to every niche. Might be helpful if we know what kinds of input data you have and what type of graphs you want to produce.

That said, I second valkyryn. Excel does an excellent job of producing graphs for most data sets. SAS also has some remarkable graphing capabilities, and would probably be the choice for very large/very complicated data sets that exceed Excel's capabilities.

There are also tools for more specific use cases. Things like Mathematica and something a friend swears by called "OriginLab" that cater more to scientific applications. SPlus and SigmaPlot seem to popular with the stats/financial analysis crew.

Use case will dictate tool.
posted by kjs3 at 7:05 PM on June 10, 2011

If you're using them on a website, you could try out Google's Chart tools
posted by FreezBoy at 4:50 AM on June 12, 2011

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