Graphing software: any recommendations?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Blue Velvet, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    I'm looking for a decent package that runs natively in OSX that can handle spot colours, can import Excel worksheets or pages, export to EPS and do a nice job of it.

    It would be nice if it had style-sheets as well as other forms of templating.

    In short — the ideal piece of graphing software that can handle whatever numbers you can throw at it and yet output press-quality files.

    I'm completely fed-up with Illustrator's graphing tools — they're beyond crap. By the time you've tweaked the bar-graphs to look how you want you may as well have drawn them by hand. :mad:

    Edit: I should add that I've used DeltaGraph on the PC about 3 years ago and it was so-so with a fiddly interface. May check the latest version as it has a demo.
  2. macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    iWork '06?

    I don't know if they can import from Excel, but they do graphing and I believe they can export to PDF.

    I'm not sure about this. Can anyone confirm it?
  3. jsw
    Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Have you seen any graphs on any sites that look somewhat like what you're trying for? It might help to see an example of the type(s) of graph(s) you're trying to produce.
  4. macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2004
    State College, PA
    Mathematica will do any kind of graph under the sun.

    It does eleventy billion things besides graphing though, and depending on your uses and budget, you might want to look into it.

    Worst case scenario, you get the graph you want, and a whole bunch of math-related features you will never use.

    On the other hand, you may find it fun and end up a designer turned mathematician :p
  5. thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thanks guys.

    Don't think iWork will cut it for technical reasons — can't imagine it being able to handle spot colours, let alone CMYK. And Mathematica isn't quite right either... I'll download the new DeltaGraph demo tonight and revisit it.
  6. macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    I usually build in Deltagraph, export, and finish in Illustrator.
    That said, Deltagraph on OS9 had major league stability problems.

    Have you looked at Chartsmith?
  7. thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Sometime in the next 2-3 months, as well as about 100 tables, I've also got to do about 80 of the bloody things in black + a spot for an academic publication. :mad:

    Maybe it's time to investigate Illustrator's actions. Or find a new job.

    Thanks, I'll look into that. And Aabel too which I see someone quoted on the VersionTracker page.
  8. macrumors 68000


    Jul 19, 2002
    It exports to EPS, don't know how good that is though...
  9. macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I use R or MATLAB do do most of my data graphing. R's free, but there's a learning curve, and you'd have to dump the excel info into text format first, most likely.
  10. macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2003
    Green Bay, Wisconsin USA
  11. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
  12. macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    What about illustrator?

    It seems to be able to do everything that you need
  13. thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Illustrator's graphing tools are pathetically underpowered and extremely inflexible, as I mentioned in my first post.
  14. jtt
    macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2005
    You could probably build it in any program that suits your needs then save it out as a Post Script file and distill it.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    When I got fed up with graphing in Illustrator I ended up using a combination of excel and illustrator. I used excel to enter the data and produce the graph then cut and paste the graph into illustrator. It is pasted as vector objects which can then be tweaked and re-styled as necessary.

    Alternatively you could try gnuplot to produce eps files and then replace the colours in illustrator.
  16. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    IMHO. Excel's not bad for business type charts like pie charts and bar charts, but it is lousy for scientific/engineering charting. The limitations it puts on log plots and the like are extremely constraining.

    I also thought about recommending gnuplot as I have used it for my dissertation and many publications. It is very powerful and customizable, but it doesn't have the most friendly UI and is not generally considered publication quality (despite the fact that I and others use it that way). You could definitely help it out with Illustrator...


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