The Beauty of Data: How to Use Adobe Illustrator with Excel to Show Complex Data for Litigation

Most people don’t find data beautiful, but it really can be. I am definitely not talking about Excel sheets with endless pages of numbers, but rather about data that is visualized in an appealing manner, which actually can be an exciting and powerful work of art.¬†Complex data, when arranged in understandable ways, can reveal patterns that simply cannot be known and understood until you see them.

In a recent case, Cogent Legal was hired to create the visuals for a highway defect case that involved a large amount of accident history data for a one-mile section of road (over 600 accidents of various types over five years). When I heard that the state produced the data in an Excel format (rather than paper form), I was excited because I knew what could be done with such data.

Adobe Illustrator has a feature that allows data from an Excel sheet to be imported directly into Illustrator and placed on an X and Y axis. Illustrator then takes this data and correctly plots it directly from the sheet. You may well be asking why this is so special since Excel and similar spreadsheet programs can create their own charts with the touch of a button. The answer is that once the data is imported into Illustrator, the possibilities for endless creativity and visualization start. (more…)

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