Tag Archives: Adobe Creative Suite

The Infographic Demystified

What is an “Infographic”?

An information graphic is a visual representation of data that allows complex information to be presented in a compact and easy-to-understand format.

Click here for a huge list of examples of different types of infographics.


Why Use an Infographic?

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Depicting large amounts of information as images is said to be a less intimidating way for the viewer to digest the information.


What Types of Data are Best-Suited?

Information, such as facts, statistics, timelines, processes, location-based data, patterns and trends are all well-suited to being delivered visually.


How do I Create a Good Infographic?

Some tips I’ve gathered from expert resources like Sneh include:

  1. Define the theme of your infographic.
  2. Review and condense your data into the most relevant information.
  3. Group relevant data together.
  4. Create a flowchart (“a skeleton of words and arrows”) to create a visual flow of information.
  5. Assign certain colours to specific flows of information.
  6. Create icons as visual aids to reduce amount of text on page.
  7. Follow a 1:1 ratio of data to graphics.

What Kinds of Tools Should I Use?

Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word do allow you to convey data and information visually via graphs and SmartArt – but the design lacks the visual appeal that is needed to turn the banal into the engaging. Secondly, these tools lack the power to work with complex or large amounts of data.

When planning out your infographic, Microsoft Visio can be a useful tool to organize data into flowcharts.

Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard for creating graphics.

During my research, I compiled a list of free online tools for creating Infographics. I have not personally used any of these tools so I encourage you to share your feedback to help us determine which tools are the most useful and user friendly:

  • Stat Planet – create interactive maps and charts; map-based visualizations, gives you access to world data and allows you to import your own data.
  • Hohli – chart maker – line, bar and pie charts, Venn diagrams, scatter plots, radar charts
  • Creately – allows you to create diagrams and flow charts (like Microsoft Visio)
  • Many Eyes – lets you use your own data
  • Google Public Data – turns public Google data into Infographics
  • Wordle – create word visualizations using text you enter
  • easel.ly – dragging and dropping pre-made design elements; you can upload your own graphics to include in your infographic.
  • infogr.am– upload spreadsheet information to display in customized chart; four basic types available: bar, pie, line, and matrix; can change fonts, type size, add photos, charts and quotes.
    • Con: Can’t make infographic posters yet; Log in using your Facebook or Twitter account;
  • Piktochart– drag ‘n’ drop functionality with more comprehensive suite of tools.
    • Con: $14.99 US/month


-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infographic
http://www.instantshift.com/2009/06/07/infographic-designs-overview-examples-and-best-practices/
http://spyrestudios.com/the-anatomy-of-an-infographic-5-steps-to-create-a-powerful-visual/

How to Copy a Table From a PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro 9.0

Today I faced a really frustrating technology challenge (i.e. huge time waster) and the irony is that my conundrum was a direct result of using a productivity tip. Let me explain:

I use keyboard command shortcuts to cut (Ctrl + X), copy (Ctrl + C), select all (Ctrl + A) and paste (Ctrl + V) text because my hands do not have to leave the keyboard to reach over to the mouse to perform a right click to open a contextual menu.

I’ve memorized so many keyboard command shortcuts that I can’t remember the last time I had to open a context menu… until today.

I should explain that I am a self-taught Adobe Acrobat Pro 9.0 user. If I can’t figure it out after a little trial and error exploration, I hit Google and YouTube for answers. This is often because I don’t possess the correct vocabulary to do a search in the program’s help files.

The Situation: I wanted to copy a table with its content out of a PDF into an Excel document.

The PDF looked like this:

After highlighting the text within the table I copied the text using a keyboard command (Ctrl + C). When I pasted the text (Ctrl + V) into a Word document or an Excel document, the text would not retain the formatting and looked like this:

I wanted the formatting to retain the columns of the table to look like this:

Google searches for “how to copy a table from PDF” resulted in answers such as “Click the arrow on the “Basic” toolbar and select “Select Table” from the drop-down menu.” This answer is not relevant for Adobe Acrobat Pro 9.0 as this basic toolbar does not exist in this version of the program.

The alternative suggested importing a table from a PDF into Excel by copying data in the table and pasting it into MS Word and converting it to a table by separating the text using the other option with a space. This option is time consuming and doesn’t work when a table has multiple words in a column. In fact the result is a complete mess:

By this point I was frustrated. There had to be a simple solution, but Google was not delivering the results I wanted. I was ready to give up. It seemed like I would have to waste a ton of time cutting and pasting each individual cell from the PDF table into my Excel spreadsheet by hand.

Fortunately sheer stubbornness did not allow me to accept my presumed fate and I decided to click around a little more before I gave up.

The solution came to me when I accidentally hit the right button on the mouse with the side of my hand. It was then that I discovered an option on the contextual menu that I did not realize existed- the “Copy as Table” button.

This feature allowed me to bypass MS Word completely and paste the data directly into MS Excel with formatting intact.

I was overjoyed to say the least. I hope this one-click solution is useful for some of your future projects.

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Adobe Acrobat Pro Training @
Sector Learning Solutions