Bar graphs with InDesign & EasyCatalog
EasyCatalog is terrific for injecting large sets of data quickly and precisely. However, is it possible to create bar graphs thanks to this plugin ? Yes it is, all you need is a bit of ingenuity…
A) Raw data
For our demonstration, we will use some public open data. We will consider the evolution of the services business per country. These data can be found on the World Bank website : http://donnees.banquemondiale.org/indicateur/BG.GSR.NFSV.GD.ZS/countries
The data host a percentage of the services business between 1960 et 2012. We will focus on the last value, established in 2012 and try to picture it as a bar graph thanks to EasyCatalog.
B) Bar graphs
First of all, we draw a generic bar graph within Adobe Illustrator. Then we will call our bar within EasyCatalog and give it a dynamic width while using a specific field value, i.e. the 2012 percentage.
C) Custom field “bâton”
After validation, we get as expected a “batôn” field within our data. Problem is, any single line is empty. No reference to our bar graph file at all !
How to get every line to reference our “”baton.ai” file ? One could think about modifying its source data…There is much better to do. We are going to use the cleansing options. As all our lines are empty, we are replacing this emptiness with “baton.ai” with this very simple instruction : “=baton.ai;”
Doing so, every cell is now filled with “baton.ai”
Now we have to tell EasyCatalog to consider this data as an image field. So the “baton.ai” is not just a string but a link towards a file on our computer.
By setting the location of our file, EasyCatalog converts the field type. It’s now an “image” field. Besides, you can now preview the picture by hovering the column cells.
An essential input is still missing. At this state, the file would be placed as it is with 100% scale. We need to adjust our bar graph size to represent the data.
We will tell EasyCatalog to scale our bar graph based on the 2012 field value.
All we have left to do is to prepare our layout. Let’s take a very simple table for our demo :
Let’s take a bunch of data and paginate it thanks to EasyCatalog.
Et voilà ! Nice bar graphs in just a few clicks. Other layouts can be achieved, still easy‑peasy !
Create bar graphs with EasyCatalog is really possible. Even better, it’s easy ! This plugin is so smooth that everything seems feasible.
Sky is the limit. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have other projects, we will analyze their feasibility together !