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Creating a Slopegraph in Adobe Illustrator

A Slopegraph is great for comparing the ‘before and after’ changes in quantities between two time periods.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a Slopegraph by taking advantage of the Line Graph Tool in Adobe Illustrator. This will save you the time that you would normally spend to draw the slope lines manually.

So on a new document, first select the Line Graph Tool from the Toolbar.

slopegraph adobe illustrator


Click and drag out a tall box onto the artboard.

slopegraph adobe illustrator


To produce a slopegraph in Adobe Illustrator effectively, you need to structure the data in a particular way. Leave the first cell blank but in the rest of the row, enter in all of the category labels.

slopegraph adobe illustrator

In the first column, under the blank cell, enter in the two time periods you are comparing. But make sure you include an apostrophe ( ) at the beginning of any dates written as number, otherwise Illustrator will interpret them as data values instead of a label. So in this example, you should write ‘1970 and ‘1979.

slopegraph adobe illustrator

Fill in the rest of the data and when you’re done, press Apply and close the Data window.

slopegraph adobe illustrator

Your graph should now look like this:

slopegraph adobe illustrator

With the Selection Tool, select the graph then right-click (Windows) or ctrl-click (Mac) on it and select Type… from the menu. In the Graph Type window, set the Value Axis to On Both Sides. Under Options, make sure Mark Data Points is unticked (this removes the square on each end on the slope lines) and tick Edge-to-Edge Lines (this extends the slope lines onto the axes).

slopegraph adobe illustrator

Hit OK and the graph should now look like this:

slopegraph adobe illustrator

This the extent to which Illustrator can draw a Slopegraph. If you want to refine this graph and improve the styling, you need to select the graph and ungroup it (Object > Ungroup). Then edit the graph like any other piece of artwork in Illustrator.

Below is the video version of this tutorial, where I edit and provide further styling to the graph:



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