Creating Easy Charts with Chartwell

Ogilvy makes another audio appearance in our latest video for using Chartwell in InDesign CC. Apparently, my big furry beast gets really excited about creating easy charts with Chartwell. I can’t say that I blame him. I’ve struggled with designing charts, tables and infographics in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for years. The process is always long and cumbersome and — inevitably — someone needs edits to the graphic long after I’ve already invested a ton of time in creating.

It’s true. Charts have been one of the most frustrating design requests for quite some time. That is — until I discovered Chartwell.

Chartwell is a font-based solution for visually showing off your data. It helps you to build these charts very, very simply. It’s basic, illustrative and SUPER straightforward.

Here’s my walk-through:

As you can see in the clip, it all starts with a basic data set that looks about like this:


Pro tips: separate each “slice” of data with a plus sign — this will tell Chartwell how to render the information. Also, make sure that your data set totals 100. I’ve found that it’s best if, before you start working with Chartwell, you convert all your data to percentages. This ensures that everything appears as a portion of 100.

Once your data is in — add some color! Your “slices” will appear in whichever color you assign to the corresponding number. In the clip, I chose to use a gradient built of percentages of the same color. I love the result of this, but the options are seriously endless.

To create the actual chart, highlight your data set and change the font setting to your preferred Chartwell format.

Then — this is the big ta-da — go to your character menu and hover “OpenType.” Find “Discretionary Ligatures” and turn them on (a check will appear to the left).

TA-DA! That’s it! You did it! You’ve created a chart. Woo!

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