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Copy Excel charts into Illustrator?

Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2008 Oct 07, 2008

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Hi All-

I NEED to get charts that I have created in Excel (Microsoft Excel 2008 for MAC, Version 12.1.1) into Adobe Illustrator (CS2, 12.0.1).

I have hundreds of charts to do this with, so remaking all of the charts in Illustrator isn't really feasible. In addition, I must include error bars which I don't think Illustrator is able to do.

I also need high resolution images (which I why was told I have to use Illustrator in the first place) that are publication quality.

PLEASE HELP - I have been spending hours trying to find a way to do this and have been unsuccessful.

Thanks everyone,
jenn
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Import and export

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

New Here , Nov 29, 2022 Nov 29, 2022

I had this issue too (from Excel v16 into Illustrator 2023). The text looked like swear words ($%*^&). I got the fix from another post - change the font in Excel to Helvetica (not Arial) first, then it pastes normally in AI. The other post suggested it was a MS bug with certain fonts

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New Here , Apr 27, 2023 Apr 27, 2023

Most of the comments are too old to be relevant here, so if anyone still wonders how to solve the same issue (so sad it still exists btw) – the best trick for me was: Right click on the chart and export as SVG. Illustrator opened that successfully.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 08, 2008 Oct 08, 2008

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Why do you need to have Excel charts in Illustrator? And when you say "high resolution images", do you mean photos? In that case, Illustrator is not what you should use to edit them.
I think you need to better define your workflow in order for anyone to be able to help you out.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 08, 2008 Oct 08, 2008

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The figures will eventually be published in a scientific journal. Apparently a lot of the journals need figures prepared in Illustrator. I have a large number of column charts (with error bars) that were prepared in Excel. In previous versions of both Excel and Illustrator, I was able to copy and paste the graph into Illustrator - where I then could ungroup the graph and work with formatting issues (fonts, size, colors, etc.). I can no longer do this.

I also do have a number of images/photos which are also supposed to be prepared in Illustrator. These I am not having a problem with. I am able to open the image in Illustrator, add labels and change constrast (if need be) just fine.

I guess I don't have a clear reason why these need to be in Illustrator, other than that is what I was told and what our group has always done in the past.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 08, 2008 Oct 08, 2008

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The progress I have made is saving the chart in Excel as a .pdf

Then opening the .pdf in Illustrator seems ok. I am able to change fonts and edit colors. However, I am still having trouble ungrouping the graph and moving columns (for ex. moving all columns closer together or farther apart). What happens is the inside of the column moves but the outside trace stays behind.

I'm still trying to find an easier way to work with this. Maybe Illustrator isn't the best program to use, but unfortunately I don't have much of a choice.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 08, 2008 Oct 08, 2008

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Jenn,

when converting those Excel charts to .pdf, usually a whole bunch of unnecessary clipping masks are included. That seems to explain your trouble.

To solve it, in Illustrator go to Select > Object > Clipping Masks. Delete that selection, then do a (multiple) ungroup.

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New Here ,
Jan 15, 2019 Jan 15, 2019

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Wow this small suggestion saved me! I need to create shaded in graphs (as you can see below). So I copy & pasted my graph from Excel and then removed the unnecessary mask clippings (as you suggested) and used the shape creator tool to create unique shapes for each curve and then just filled them in with desired coloring. Thank you!  example.PNG

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 08, 2008 Oct 08, 2008

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I copy and paste scientific charts and graphs from Excel into Illustrator with no problem. Do you have your File Handling & Clipboard Preferences set to PDF? Yes, there are still extraneous clipping masks and weird groups, but I make sure the chart is formatted correctly in Excel so I don't have to do anything except resize it in Illustrator.

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New Here ,
Dec 23, 2008 Dec 23, 2008

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This workaround doesn't work for me at all. Upon opening the pdf in Illustrator I get a message ("An unknown shading type was encountered"). Then it opens, but all the info in the legend looks like this: !"#$%$$$&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&'()&

Any other suggestions?

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Community Expert ,
Jan 25, 2015 Jan 25, 2015

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When you encounter a problem with a font, then it is because you are using Cambria or other MS-Buggy Font.

Do following:

  1. Change the font in Excel to anything else than any MS Bug Font. You could use Myriad Pro or any non MS font.
  2. Copy it in Excel
  3. Paste it in Illustrator
  4. Adjust your font in Illustrator

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Guest
Dec 30, 2008 Dec 30, 2008

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If it's needed to be made in illustrator, is that because of the export feature? To make it an .eps-file? That can also be done in indesign, and i believe that clears out a lot of trouble...
And even with a tool from Woodwing (plug-in) that can make upon styles you can easily asign to those hundreds of charts...
How about them apples!

It can't be that important for the journal in which app their content is made?

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LEGEND ,
Dec 30, 2008 Dec 30, 2008

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On the Mac, in Excel, select the chart, then Shift-click the Edit menu and choose "Copy Picture". An options dialog will appear, try the default options. Then go to AI and paste. The chart will come in as a vector graphic.

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New Here ,
Sep 16, 2014 Sep 16, 2014

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Thanks a million - this did the trick!

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Engaged ,
Jan 15, 2009 Jan 15, 2009

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I am busy trying what Ray Craighead has suggested. The graph simply does not paste into Illy not matter which option is selected.

What might I do wrong?

OSX 10.5.6 Illy CS3 13.0.2 Excel mac 2008

Any help would be appreciated.

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New Here ,
Apr 15, 2009 Apr 15, 2009

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I have discovered, with much frustration, that one cannot copy (as a picture) an Excel (Mac 2008) chart into Illustrator CS3. As folks have experienced, one sees only a blank page in AI. However, one can copy and paste a chart made in the 2004 version of Excel; and it's completely editable, even if onerous in the case of, say, diagonal x-axis labels. I recently upgraded to CS4. Now one can copy a 2008 Excel chart, but only the curves and gridlines paste correctly into AI; the text labels for both axes come out gobbledygook. I don't know if the problem here lies with Adobe or Microsoft.

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New Here ,
Jun 05, 2009 Jun 05, 2009

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I'm rather frustrated.  I've been on the microsoft boards.  The guy there thought the problem was fixed - he said that it was a bug that appeared early on with the software and required adjustments from both sides.  I updated both office 2008 and Adobe cs3 suite to the most recent versions and it worked for a few days and now it's broken again.

I can't copy from PPT or Excel into Illustrator.  I can copy photos out of PPT into Photoshop now, which is an improvement, although there is often some sort of vertical banding which appears once it's in photoshop.  I'm not sure what's going on there.

I've tried repairing permissions and restarting.  (something the office guy suggested)

It's very frustrating.  I've had to request to keep office 2004 just so I can maintain production.  The PDF export option just is not practical, there's too much editing that needs to be done once it's in Illustrator.

I work with scientists and often need to pull graphs from excel out and format them for journal submission, they also like to put stuff in powerpoint because they are more comfortable with that application than trying to overcome the learning curve to Illustrator.  Since most Journals don't accept ppt files, those figures also need to be prepared for submission in Illustrator.

My Mac OS is 10.5.6

Illustrator is 13.0.2

PPT is 12.1.7

Most of the files I work with are not native to office 2008 or if they were, have been saved to be compatible with office 2004

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New Here ,
Jun 05, 2009 Jun 05, 2009

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I just tried after I got your email. I copied a 2008 Excel graph (shift

+copy picture in edit menu) and was able to paste it into a new AI

file. First time I've been able, so I gather some folks at Microsoft,

Adobe, or both got their act together.

Now, why was I able to do this and you can't? I don't know the answer,

but I feel your pain, as it were.

I'm using the latest versions of both software. And I've got Mac OS

10.5.7.

Dave

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Community Expert ,
Jun 05, 2009 Jun 05, 2009

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The problem seems to be AICS3. I can copy and paste into AICS4 but it doesn't work with AICS3. OSX.5.7, Office/Excel 2008 but not an .xlsx file.

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New Here ,
Jun 08, 2009 Jun 08, 2009

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Well.  Upgrading to CS4 isn't an option for me right now.  I can ask about it, but I don't have control over when our company adopts new software and with all the budget cuts, I'll be surprised if it happens soon.

Our other artist has the same set up I do, except she was just upgraded to office 2008 and has the same issue.  Our Tech's have asked us not to upgrade to 10.5.7 yet, but if that will fix it, I'll talk to them and give it a try if they'll let me.

Otherwise I guess I'll stop beating my head against a brick wall and just keep using office 2004 to transfer graphics over that I need for figures.

the tech on the microsoft boards seems genuinely baffled also, but does seem interested in figuring out the issue.

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New Here ,
Nov 29, 2022 Nov 29, 2022

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I had this issue too (from Excel v16 into Illustrator 2023). The text looked like swear words ($%*^&). I got the fix from another post - change the font in Excel to Helvetica (not Arial) first, then it pastes normally in AI. The other post suggested it was a MS bug with certain fonts

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Explorer ,
Jan 19, 2023 Jan 19, 2023

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thank you so much - this fixed it for me.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 15, 2009 Jan 15, 2009

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Are you seeing the "Copy Picture" option in the Edit menu (by "Shift-clicking" the Edit menu)? Any "Copy Picture" options will work. Then go to Illustrator and paste into a document. You get a vector chart. <br /> <br />OSX 10.4.11, AICS3, Excel 2004. <br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=17OzH2CssKaGhkN9RteCDuw4e12mE2" /></a> <img alt="Picture hosted by Pixentral" src="http://www.pixentral.com/hosted/17OzH2CssKaGhkN9RteCDuw4e12mE2_thumb.png" border="0" />

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LEGEND ,
Jan 15, 2009 Jan 15, 2009

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Here's a little movie that demonstrates the steps.
http://www.vimeo.com/2838751

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LEGEND ,
Jan 15, 2009 Jan 15, 2009

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FWIW This movie has text caption.
http://www.vimeo.com/2838964

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Engaged ,
Jan 15, 2009 Jan 15, 2009

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Hi Ray

Thanks so much for the trouble taken.

I see in another thread the problem seems to be with Excel 2008!

Topic: Excel 2008 > Illustrator CS3 possible?

Wonder if there is any "cure", or if I have to reinstall Excel 2004?

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LEGEND ,
Jan 16, 2009 Jan 16, 2009

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I guess there are some advantages to being the last to upgrade. :)

Have you tried printing the chart to PDF? I'm guessing it would be vector and could be opened in AI. Of course, that would be too easy.

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