InDesign Secrets: Building graphs with the Chartwell font

Published by | Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

For those of you who’ve ever been disappointed by InDesign’s lack of charting features, I’ve got a solution in this week’s InDesign Secrets episode. The Chartwell font (yes, font!) from TK type makes ingenious use of ligatures in order to turn simple text numbers into bars, lines, and pies.

I’ll show you how to start by typing the mathematical equation that represents your chart numbers. You’ll turn off InDesign’s ligatures at first, then you simply apply variations on the Chartwell font and turn those numbers into corresponding charts when you turn ligatures back on.


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:

If I set the Chartwell option to the Pies font style, the result is an automatic transformation into a pie chart that’s set to those percentages:

Tip: In the video above, I’ll explain how to turn your pie chart into the ring chart on the right by adding an alphabetical character to the equation.

If I change the font family to Bars and put spaces after each plus sign, the result is a bar graph:

Note: I changed each of the values by a factor of 10 to make a better visual example. Also, if you try this step, add a plus sign after the final value to keep the spacing (which is, of course, actually leading) between your bars consistent.

Finally, you can change the font family to Lines to get what is really an Area Chart.

Tip: Add a 1+ to the beginning of your equation for a line chart so that your graph has a starting point. (Unfortunately, the more accurate value of 0 won’t work properly.)

I’ve got some other handy Chartwell tips for applying color quickly with the use of a nested character style and using InDesign’s story editor to quickly make adjustments to your charts without having to turn ligatures on and off. Watch the movie now.

Meanwhile, my partner in InDesign secrecy, David Blatner, also has a new movie- this week David shows another time-saving trick: using the eyedropper tool to pick up text formatting and apply it elsewhere in your document.

And David and I will be back in two weeks to reveal more secrets of InDesign.

Interested in more?
• All the InDesign Secrets in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by Anne-Marie Concepcion the Online Training Library®
• Courses by David Blatner the Online Training Library®
• Courses on InDesign the Online Training Library®

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6 Responses to “InDesign Secrets: Building graphs with the Chartwell font”

  1. Rainy Horvath says:

    Where is the Chartwell font? I have the latest InDesign, but no Chartwell font is installed. Thanks.

  2. Jared says:

    How exactly does InDesign use this? could the same method be used for web design?

  3. Eke says:

    I have just purchased FF Chartwell Pies and FF chartwell bars, I have added the fonds to my fond book.
    If I try to use it in indesign it fails me.

    I can select the fond Chartwell pies or the fond Chartwell bar, but I can not select Pies in font style, or Bars, I can only select regular.
    Do you know what might be the problem and how I can fix it?
    Thanks.

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