banner with links
Graphs / Line Drawings to Photoshop / Illustrator


1.  Click on Graph of Interest in Excel, or other graphing or illustration program.

It's important to highlight the graph only, so that the entire page is not mistakenly selected and then made into a PDF or Image File.

  graph in excel

2.  Print to PDF:

Do one of the following (the idea is to get the PDF printed or saved at high resolution, generally by finding Press Quality via an Option or Copies & Pages button, when available):

If possible, Print to PDF for a smaller file size:  File > Print: 

In the PDF dialog box, choose Options or Properties (PC) or Copies & Pages (Mac), and then look for Settings (PC) or PDF Options (Mac), choose Press Quality from the drop down list.

When You Can't Print to PDF:

File > Save As: (Mac OSX) find Settings, and then choose Press Quality from the list (not shown, and the directions may not be exact).

File > Save As: Find PDF format from Save as Type drop down list.  Check Standard in Windows 7 version, or click on Options to set to Press Quality in other operating system versions (not shown, and the directions may not be exact).

When No PDF Option is Available:

Expand your graph or line drawing to fill a page as large as possible.

Save as an image file, preferably in the TIFF format.


Graph or Line Drawing: Print to PDF
Choose Press Quality for PDF option

No PDF Option:

(for saving as TIFF or JPEG to open in Powerpoint, Word, etc.)

1.  If graph is in final form, File > Export as TIFF or JPEG when inserting into a Microsoft Product (PowerPoint, Word, etc).

You do NOT have to take this step when using Illustrator or Photoshop.

If white space around graph needs to be removed (cropped away), select Crop tool from Tools > Advanced Editing. 

Click and drag crop around the relevant area, then double click inside the box you've drawn.

Then click OK again when a 2nd dialog box appears.

The 2nd Crop dialog box may appear first: In that instance, click on the Top, Bottom, Left and Right arrowheads in the Margin Controls and look at the graphic image to see where the crop occurs. You may have to manually type in values.


  Cropping or Crop in Acrobat

(for including with images and other graphs; or when re-lettering/editing)

1.  Make a New Document (if not made already): File > New.

Select Letter, unless you wish to set a specific document size. 

Set Dimensions in Millimeters or Inches. 

Click Advanced and set to RGB, except when specifically instructed by a Journal or poster printing service to submit in CMYK. 

Set to 300, 400 or 1200 dots per inch, depending upon instructions given by publisher (if publishing).  The default is 300 dots per inch.

  New Document in Illustrator

2.  File > Place: find pdf file of the graph you just made.

You may get a 2nd dialog box: choose Media, unless you are an expert at Illustrator and you have created an artboard, etc.

4.  The graph may appear large on page, and it will have a blue X going through it (to show that it is selected). 

Change the dimensions by typing approximate or final Height and Width values into the Transform palette (if not available, under View, click Transform) to match other graphs/pictures in a figure or to reproduce at publication/poster dimensions.

Note: Be sure to click the lock icon (looks like links in a chain) next to Height and Width so that both dimensions change to retain aspect ratio.

  File > Place in Illustrator     Crop to Media Illustrator

How Graph Appears in Illustrator, and Transform Palette
Graph as it appears in Illustrator      Transform palette in Illustrator

5.  Move graph around by clicking on it with the Selection Tool.

6.  If graph is in final form with no lettering needed and included with other graphs/images for a figure/plate, change the size of the artboard (newer versions than CS3) or crop to fit the dimensions of the graph (older versions and CS3): Click on artboard icon and size to fit around the graph, or click on crop icon and fit around graph.

7.  File > Save as EPS file for publication.  Check the box to make graph Opaque in the next dialog box, unless you are an experience Illustrator user and you have a reason to keep the graph transparent.

If graph is needed for insertion into PowerPoint or Word, File > Save As PDF file.  Open in Acrobat program, and File > Export as JPEG or TIFF file. 


Selection Tool

                Selection tool in Illustrator  

Crop Tool (above Hand tool); versions CS3 and earlier.

Crop Icon

Artboard Tool (above Hand Icon); versions CS4 and more recent.

Artboard Tool

TO EDIT GRAPH IN ILLUSTRATOR (when removing parts of graph, re-lettering, adding lettering)

Removing lines/lettering:

Place a white rectangle over existing lines/lettering:

Click on the Stroke Box (black outlined box) at the bottom of the toolbar and be sure a red line crosses through it (to turn the line around the rectangle off) by clicking on the small "red line" box below it (or in submenu at top, left)

Click on the solid box.  Double click to change color, if it isn't white (or click white square in Color palette if it is showing).  Be sure red line is not crossed through this box: if so, click on solid box below it (or in submenu at top).

Click on Rectangle icon in toolbar, then click and drag rectangle to cover lines/lettering.


Rectangle tool icon in Illustrator

Double click on box in toolbar to set color.

Click on outlined box to place red line through it (disable it) by clicking
on the small, red line box below it.

stroke box x'd out in illustrator

White rectangle drawn over part of graph below.

white box placed over lines in illustrator to eliminate lines


Click on T tool and click well outside the graph area, then Type in desired text.

Click on completed text with the Select (Black Arrow) tool to select it.
In submenu, be sure to choose Arial or Helvetica and appropriate font size.
Move Text into desired position.

If text is on the y axis, rotate it by moving the Text cursor away from the text after typing it.  The cursor will turn into a double sided, curved arrow.  Hold down Shift key and rotate.

  Adding lettering, Illustrator

Make Rectangle Around Graph:

Click on the Box at the bottom of the toolbar and be sure a red line crosses through it (to turn the fill off) by clicking on the small "red line" box below it (or in submenu at top, left).

Click on the stroke box (outlined box).  Double click to change color, if it isn't white (or click white square in Color palette if it is showing).  Be sure red line is not crossed through this box: if so, click on solid box below it (or in submenu at top).

Outline graph and lettering.

To change width of outline, click on Stroke palette (if not showing, under Window > Stroke) and then select desired point size from drop down list.


Stroke box selected

Make box around graph illustrator

Select Graph and Group Components:

Use Selection tool from toolbar to drag over components of the re-lettered graph.

Under Object in the Menu, select Group to combine all the components.

By selecting with the selection tool, the entire graph with components will move.

Create Outlines with Text:

Highlight all text with the Text tool, and, under Type on the menu, Create Outlines to make text "fontless" so that any recipient of the file can see the fonts.


Follow Step 7 (above) to save.

Be sure to also save as a PDF to embed images.



Select components of graph

Group in Illustrator


Brought to you by Imaging and Analysis, LLC ...


link support link consulting link products link image integrity link products link for Courses home page link