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Using Excel for Mac 16.40 & Illustrator 24.2.3, when I copy a graph from Excel to Illustrator, all the text corrupts:

enter image description here

The text font is Arial.

It would be so nice if Excel graph text copied and pasted into Illustrator without being corrupted.

Is it possible to copy/paste/import Excel graphs into Illustrator with the text being retained?

Help appreciated.

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  • I don't have Mac, but you can try to copy as a picture. Pasted image probably (like in Windows system) contains a ton of multilevel groupings and clipping masks. (=much to release and delete before you can make edits) Also texts can become drawings which with no hinting can look awful. I guess you must rewrite the texts. I have found that regenerating the graph from the same data in 20 years old Excel generates much simpler vector images when copied and pasted to Illustrator.
    – user82991
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 10:26
  • Select the text objects and reset the font in AI.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 19:13

5 Answers 5

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A solution that worked perfectly for me (Windows/Corel Draw). May be adaptable to Illustrator:

  1. From within Excel, Save as Type: PDF (near the bottom of the list of file types). Using the print dialog to print as Adobe or Microsoft PDF doesn't work very well.

  2. Open PDF in Corel Draw.

  • Note that lines are rendered as lines and not filled objects. This makes it easy to adjust outline and fill.
  • Fonts are preserved.
  1. After adjustments, select the chart, choose Publish to PDF, Export range = Selection, Page size = Set by the selected objects
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I found an easy solution to this! Copy and paste the graph into InDesign first. Then Cmd + C + Ragain from InDesign and paste into Illustrator.

The graph will have all the correct text and is fully editable.

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  • you are brilliant dude! Indesign workaround like a charm!!!! Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 10:08
  • Works like a charm.
    – MG_
    Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 11:39
  • 1
    What a shame this is the way to make graphs in 2021...
    – Crowley
    Commented Jul 15, 2021 at 17:40
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It has something to do with the way that Microsoft encodes their text. I think it's intentionally done to corrupt it sometimes.

The easiest way I have found around it is the save the Excel graph out as a PDF. Open the PDF in Acrobat, save as an EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file, and have the settings set to convert fonts to outlines.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like that is an option anymore for some reason, at least not in my Acrobat DC. I did find this blog post that goes over a new way to do it, tedious, but still effective. convert to outlines in illustrator

Otherwise, to my knowledge, there really isn't an easy fix for it.

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The easiest fix is to change the font in Excel to Helvetica.

Click on the chart background in Excel. On the Excel home tab change the font to Helvetica or Helvetica Neue, which changes all the text in the chart. Now copy and paste the chart into Illustrator.

The text will be correct and editable.

(I assume this works because Helvetica and Helvetica Neue are Mac OS fonts. Calibri and Arial, which cause the problem, come from Microsoft, so they use their encoding.)

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