I let it slip to a friend that I took some GIS courses before, and he asked me to help him make graphs/charts for him. Being the good friend I am, I agreed, but only if he would buy me lunch.

My old go-to program was Tableau, but it's no longer free (you need to register it with a business or something like that).

I do have access to the entire Adobe Suite, but I doubt that will be useful.

  • 4
    What kind of charts are we talking about? Give us an example?
    – Lucian
    Jun 20, 2017 at 16:51
  • Doesn't Office come with a charts app? "Microsoft Graph" last I knew. Did they change that?
    – Scott
    Jun 20, 2017 at 17:37
  • 1
    Remember if you already have Excel then Excel is "free" and can generate fairly pretty charts... but I assume you are looking for something prettier or otherwise unavailable in Excel? Examples would help as Lucian says. Jun 20, 2017 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


I do have access to the entire Adobe Suite, but I doubt that will be useful.

Try Illustrator. It will be useful. There is a whole course on using Illustrator to make graphs, which indicates it can certainly be used for this purpose. :)

You select any of the graph tools (J is column graph), click and drag, and then enter the numerical info for the graph. (Either type, or paste, or import from a tab-separated value file, which can be exported from Excel—but you can also just copy-paste from Excel.)

This assumes you want "pretty" rather than "utilitarian." For an easier way, just use Excel itself.


I would go for a scientific information processing suite like R (suggest getting rstudio) or Scipy. Both offer a very wide range of tools and are free of charge. Both R and python have extensive and several libraries for graphing as well as carthography. Unfortunately both would require you to write commands either through a CLI or a script.


Newer versions of Excell has some nice enough graphs.

You can try Libre Office or Open Office and see if you get nicer ones.

You could try to export the graphics to a readable format for Inkscape or a high-resolution raster image and add some gradient in Gimp, and add some shadows for example.

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