Adobe Illustrator’s graph tool is… special. A veteran of many software updates (successfully surviving all of them unscathed…) one of its many quirks is that you cannot resize a graph object that hasn’t been ungrouped, other than by using the Scale tool (
So, if you have a graph like this:
…and you need to adapt it to fit in a smaller vertical (or horizontal) space, you end up with something like this:
Note the ugly squashed distorted text labels on the Y axis.
You can select just the text labels, using the Group Selection tool (white arrow with plus sign, no keyboard shortcut) and clicking twice on a label. Is there any way to tell each of these to reset their scaling? (Transform Each is greyed out because it’s a graph and won’t settle for any of that new-fangled nonsense).
Or, any other way of scaling a chart that keeps the text labels in the right place, at the right dimensions?
Some options I’m aware of, all of which are a bit rubbish:
- Replace them. Setting the fill for the labels to none, and just putting your own labels in, aligning and spacing them with the tools in the Align palette. This is a pain when you have lots of charts or need to update the charts frequently
- Bodge the Y-axis scale. Changing the Y axis scale of the chart, instead of scaling it. So in my example, I might under
Graph type > Value Axis > Override calculated valuesset ‘max’ to 4,000, halving the height of the chart, and doubling the amount of divisions. Then with the direct selection tool, I’d drag the vertical axis line down to the 2000 mark, and set the fill of everything above 2000 to none. This works (and is my current favoured option), but it’s a serious hack and scatters my files with invisible chart debris (and the direct selection tool work needs re-doing each time the data is updated).
- Abusing Illustrator’s type tools to compensate. For example, if you scaled the text vertically to 50%, setting the ‘Vertical Scale’ option in the Character window to 200%, hoping the two distorting scalings will cancel each other out. Sounds like a recipe for horribly unclean type.
- Start again. Deleting the chart and creating a new one at the appropriate size. This is sometimes the easiest way, and results in no debris, but it’s obviously not an ideal solution.
Any other / better ways?
Select the text in the graph with the Direct Selection Tool a, then press Shift+cmd+x (Mac) or Shift+Ctrl+x (Windows) to reset the font scaling back to normal.