Have you ever been disappointed by InDesign's lack of charting features (and really, how hard is it to be disappointed by something that's non-existent)? Over at lynda.com
, Anne-Marie Concepción has a solution in this week's free InDesign Secrets
episode. (Note: InDesign Secrets
is David Blatner and Anne-Marie's bi-weekly series that gives you a free movie on some InDesign insight every week---think Deke's Techniques
but with InDesign and slightly more sanity.)
The Chartwell font (yes, it's a font, I know!) from the inventive mastermind at TK type
makes ingenious use of ligatures in order to turn simple text numbers into bars, lines, and pies.
In the movie, Anne-Marie shows you how to start by typing the mathematical equation that represents your chart numbers. You'll turn off InDesign's ligatures at first (seriously, part of the delight comes from having ligatures off, seeing normal text, then watching the magic happen when you turn them back on), then you simply apply variations on the Chartwell font and turn those numbers into corresponding charts when you turn ligatures back on. I'm pretty sure it's magic. It's definitely fun.
So, for example, let's say I started with this percentage breakdown, typed into InDesign, set in Chartwell with ligatures turned off, and each of the different values styled in a different color:
Looks like normal friendly text, right? But, if I set the Chartwell option to the Pies font style (it's like setting a regular font to Italic or Bold) and turn the Ligatures on, the result is an automatic transformation into a pie chart that's set to those percentages:
Tip: In the video Anne-Marie explains how to turn your pie chart into the ring chart on the right by adding an alphabetical character to the equation. For the ring on the right, I added a +A to the equation, which is halfway on the a-Z continuum.
If I change the font family to Bars, the result is a bar graph: Read more »