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I am currently making a bar graph with various percentages. Illustrator graph tool seems to be limited in formatting the style of numbers compared to one would in Excel. How do I set graph tool, to display the numbers being used, and the scale of the graph to show as a percentage?

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For adding percents to labels - manually, I'm afraid.

Illustrator's graph tool is truly ancient, and Adobe have neglected it for years. It's a major frustration for those of us who need to use it a lot. It can't even cope with commas in 1,000s.

I actually got so fed up of typing % symbols into Illustrator graphs that I made a script to speed up mass text changes like this. It's here: How to do a wildcard / GREP / regex find-replace in Illustrator?

Don't be put off by the technical language - to add a % to every selected number, you can just follow the example in my second bullet point.

(If you don't know how to use Illustrator scripts, Google it, there are lots of clearly written guides. Scripts are really useful for data graphics)


For adding labels to data points e.g. the ends of bars - this is actually one of the few things where Illustrator's graph tool is very flexible, but the steps are quite unintuitive and it's very fiddly.

The Adobe help pages explain it clearly (but long-windedly) - see https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/graphs.html and scroll down to "Add totals to a column design" (tip: you'll immediately need to scroll back and skim through the preceding sections to understand what it means by "graph design").

The VERY short version, assuming a bar chart, is:

  • Draw a rectangle (or whatever) representing a sample bar, styled however you want bars of that series styled
  • Draw a line across it, and turn the line into a guide
  • Add point text (click, don't drag, with the text tool) and type %00 (to round to the nearest whole number - consult the guide if you want something else), style it how you want your labels
  • Select (make sure guides aren't locked), then Object - Graph - Designs then new design
  • Select that series by using the little-known "group select" tool, horn behind the normal white arrow, clicking one bar repeatedly until it selects that series and nothing else
  • Apply the design with Object - Graph - Columns, choosing sliding design.

That's the gist. It's tricky, so you'll probably need to consult the guide first time.

Then after all that, when you're happy with it, use the above linked script to save yourself manually typing % however many times.

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In case anyone still requires an answer to this question.

  • Using the selection tool, right-click your chart and choose Graph Type.
  • In the drop down at the top of the dialog box switch from Graph Options to Value Axis.
  • For the suffix enter a percentage symbol.

You will have to go back and multiply all your numbers by 100, otherwise the values will be incorrect on your chart.

Graph Type Dialog Box

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