Is there a way to flatten an Excel chart?
November 30, 2022 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I have an Excel graph, and I want to put some lines and circles on top of it (using Draw.) I then need to export these graphs as PNG files and then convert them to EPS (for an academic journal.) Help me flatten this into one layer.

I need to be able to flatten the "lines and circles" that I'm drawing on top of the graph so that both graph + "lines and circles" are one layer when they're exported. Right now, the "lines and circles" shift when the conversion from PNG to EPS takes place.

I was able to do a clunky version of this by exporting as a PNG, converted to a flattened PDF, converting back to a PNG, and then converting to EPS -- but it's a little blurry. Is there a way to do this within Excel?
posted by melodykramer to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Best answer: I'm not super familiar with "Draw", but I do know that a jpg file is as flat as can be. Can you export as a jpg instead of a png file?

Your blurriness is possibly coming from the pdf settings. There are a lot of options you can use when making a pdf file. Look for print or press quality.

Lastly, your academic journal may be asking for an .eps file, but what I imagine they're hoping for is a vector version of the graph/text. By using a png or jpg, you're rasterizing the text/image and thus the quality/clarity of the image won't be as crisp as a vector version. Even though you're technically giving them what they asked for, it's not what they likely need. Depending on what this is needed for, it may be important to hire a designer who can reproduce these for you in a high-quality format.
posted by hydra77 at 2:46 PM on November 30, 2022

Best answer: Copy the data to Google Sheets, make the chart, and in the chart context menu select "Download as PDF" or "Download as SVG". Those formats can be converted to EPS at full quality. (If the publication uses LaTeX, it could include PDF with no further conversion.)
posted by Phssthpok at 2:49 PM on November 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you both!
posted by melodykramer at 4:18 PM on November 30, 2022

It's probably clunky, but the way I do this is to copy the graph as an image, and do the drawing on it in PowerPoint where 'select all and save as single image' is an option.
posted by ngaiotonga at 10:27 PM on November 30, 2022

Do you get the same issue if you select all elements (CTRL+click) and "group" them? (That's an option under the right-click menu once you have selected) That's usually solved it for me but I've not got such constraints on the output type.
posted by london explorer girl at 3:20 AM on December 1, 2022

Response by poster: You can save as svg in excel and then convert! That did the trick.
posted by melodykramer at 4:32 PM on December 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

Why not just do a standard png screen grab?
posted by turkeyphant at 7:43 PM on December 4, 2022

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