Episode 078

Episode 078 – Charts and Graphs

by Richard Querin

In this episode I will demonstrate how to import a graph or chart and tweak it up a bit using Inkscape 0.46.

This episode utilizes the Gnumeric spreadsheet program which can export graphs or charts in SVG format very easily. I’m not sure if other spreadsheet apps (like OpenOffice Calc or MS-Excel) have this capability but I think Gnumeric is a great spreadsheet app anyway. I find it relatively lightweight and capable enough for many of my spreadsheet needs. I use it both on my Linux machine at home and on my Windows XP box at work.

The song in the intro is by Brad Senne under the project name “Beight” and is called “Parallels”. You can find it at http://magnatune.com/artists/beight.

[Update: See rico’s comment below on how to do this same thing using OpenOffice Calc – thanks rico! ]

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27 Responses to “Episode 078”

  1. rico Says:

    nice tut thank you,

    for those who want to do it from openoffice, copy the chart from OOcalc paste it in OOdraw, right click on it >Convert>to path and then export it to svg (once it’s converted to a path you have also the option to convert it to a curve in the same submenu).

  2. Fionn Says:

    Nice! Thankyou.

    I like the reflection efect…

  3. Saksak Says:

    Thanks a lot!! Iā€™m learning something new every time! And this time with the bonus of learning some things about Gnumeric – I already love it!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

  4. rfquerin Says:

    @rico – Thanks so much for the tip. I’ve updated the post to make people aware of your comment. I knew there must be a way to do it in OpenOffice, just wasn’t sure how.

    @Fionn @Saksak – Thanks for the nice comments. Glad whenever you find these things useful. šŸ™‚

  5. heathenx Says:

    Wow! I was nearly speechless for a few moments when I watched this episode. I guess in the back of my mind I knew I had a bit of a donut habit but actually visualizing that habit ala a detailed spreadsheet along with a graph, aptly titled “I’m a Pig”, has really brought attention to my dependence for deep-fried or baked goods. I live in an area where Dutch ancestry runs relatively high and because of this there are many bakeries surrounding me. I gladly and loosely toss my money into the hands of those that run those fine shops. After all, it’s just money and it’s what I work for. But that’s no excuse. Perhaps I’m just a product of my environment. Maybe if I were surrounded by gym’s and organic food then it might have a major impact on my life in the same manner as bakeries. I’m willing to change. I’m not stubborn. Although, I’ll have to start out slow. I cannot quit donuts cold-turkey. Have you ever eaten a Krispy Kreame? Cripes! They’re like potato chips. You can’t eat just one, you know. I’ll need discipline and understanding.

    If you noticed at the beginning of episode 078, around the 2:40 minute mark, Richard had collected some data regarding 69 strawberry donuts that I had consumed in the month of July among other irrelevant data. What can I say? The facts don’t lie. I am ashamed of myself. Strawberry donuts are ******* delicious and I will punch anyone in the teeth if they claim differently. Wait! Calm down, heathenx. No one is saying strawberry donuts aren’t delicious and those that do are probably insane. Anyway, this is a problem that I intend to tackle and beat into submission. I plan to reduce that number to just 68 strawberry donuts for the next month of January and 67 to 66 for February. No! I have made up my mind and I’m not turning back. I cannot be talked out of something once my mind is made up. If my calculations are right, and I have no reason to doubt my stellar math skills [startflashback] ‘member that time when you flunked that math test because…never mind…it’s not important [endflashback], it will take me 57.548 years to completely stop eating donuts. When that day comes I’m sure I’ll feel as proud and look as good as Arnold when he won his first Mr. Olympia.

    So thank-you Mr. Richard Querin for putting donuts into perspective for me. At first I wanted to do harm to you – like removing the ball from your mouse or smearing my fingers across your monitor after I had eaten pork chops or bar-b-qued ribs. But no, I won’t do those things. I will instead extend my hand in an attempt to shake yours…because we are brothers in this world…(heathenx rambling on and fading out…cue music: National anthem of the United States of America…by the way, I’m not crying…there’s an eyelash in my eye…both eyes).

    Oh, before I forget. None of the above is true. I enjoyed episode 078…while eating a donut of course. šŸ˜‰

  6. rfquerin Says:

    Okay. I nominate that comment for Comment Of The Year!

    First let me say that I had regrets about the ‘I’m a pig;’ Chart title. I really did. But it was the third attempt at recording it and I was getting frustrated. I honestly thought about putting “I Love Donuts” but that was after I had already typed the ‘I’m a Pig’ title. If I had deleted that and changed it I would have looked like a wuss.

    All the other crap about the donuts (like the numbers and stuff) are actually factually true. I swear.

    So donuts are your thing. My weakness is cereal. I used to be up to 3 bowls of Frosted Flakes before bed every night (no joke). We all have our problems.

  7. heathenx Says:

    Oh…don’t even get me started on cereal. šŸ˜‰

  8. Jody Says:

    A few points
    1) You can drag the chart directly into inkscape, no need to save and reload.
    2) Several of the simpler formatting changes (line widths and such) can be done directly in gnumeric.
    3) no need to set the legend to ‘manual position’. Just dragging it in the preview will adjust it.
    4) Thanks for doing this screen cast.

    Best Wishes, Jody.

  9. Walther Says:

    Great tutorial. The graph looks really great. Thanks

    (And potato chips rule!)

  10. Richard Querin Says:

    @Jody – Thanks for the great tips. I realized that a lot of adjustments could be made in Gnumeric beforehand, but in the interests of time I thought I’d just give a brief overview of how to create the graph for those unfamiliar with Gnumeric and get right to the Inkscape stuff. No problem doing the screencast.. hopefully it also has the side benefit of making more people aware of Gnumeric too. šŸ™‚

    @Walther – Thanks. And while potato chips are okay (Ripples FTW), I’m an even bigger fan of Cheetohs. To each his own. šŸ˜›

  11. neon g Says:

    Thanks for the tutorial šŸ™‚ personally I’m a fiend for cornish pasties, I can’t help myself.

    One tip I have when using the perspective tool is to do a “Stroke to Path” on all your lines beforehand. This makes sure the width of the line tapers into the distance rather than being uniform.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play with Gnumeric …

  12. Richard Querin Says:

    Dang neon g, I’m learning more in this set of comments than I have in the past month! šŸ™‚

    I didn’t realize the stroke-to-path thing before doing the perspective effect would do that. I’ve usually created a thin path (no stroke) by various means to get the tapering. As usual, I’ve done something the hard/stupid way for quite a while before finding out there was a much easier/smarter way. šŸ™‚

  13. Richard Querin Says:

    At the risk of further diluting this comment thread, here is a neat link that just popped up in my feed reader. It mixes graphic design with Cereal.. I guess…

  14. eric Says:

    If you import more than one graph into Inkscape there are some display bug because many objecs share the same name in their xml file.

    To prevent this bug, i save the graphs from gnumeric in pdf and import them in Inkscape without any bugs.

  15. Schnitter Says:

    Great tutorial, liked it šŸ˜‰

    But…sorry, what theme are you using?(And if you have the link, where can I find it? :>)
    I saw it sometime and it looks great.

  16. schrottplatz Says:

    your reflection technique is a bit complicated.. you should first make the refelction and after that the perspective thing

  17. Richard Querin Says:


    It’s called Shiki Colors I believe. I posted about it in a thread in the Linux Outlaws forum a while back. I really like it. The relevant links are in that post:


    Glad you liked the tutorial.

  18. Richard Querin Says:

    @schrottplatz – I’ve always been unable to do it the way you stated. I think it’s because the reflection is a masked object. Even if all the objects are paths (including the gradient used as the mask) it screws up if I try and do the perspective. It runs the effect but you don’t get the required result.

    I could be wrong, or it could be just my system. I’d like others to try it the way you describe and see if it works for them. If it does, it might definitely be easier.

  19. Don W Says:

    I found when I use perspective after gradient, the effect goes away. You can do it by path>combine first, do the perspective then break apart. But on text you have to go back and do the path>difference to get rid of the solid centers of letters. The only advantage to this is that the skew step is eliminated but several other steps are added and you still have to use the mask.

  20. Richard Querin Says:

    @Don – I watched that screencast you sent me. The benefit of using a black-white mask (using Object->Mask->set) is that the reflection is then an opaque-to-transparent one that can be utilized on whatever background you like later on. Even when you export it as a png (which holds transparency). Doing it with a simple black-to-transparent gradient does work – on a black background, but if you wanted to put that text and it’s reflection on a white background later on, the method wouldn’t work. Also, using the black-white mask method lets you create reflections of anything you can group together, such as images, text, paths etc..

    The only problem I see with what schrottplatz is suggesting is that the masked object doesn’t hold up very well under the perspective effect. If I could get the perspective effect to work on objects that were masked, I’d do it that way for sure.

  21. Don W Says:

    @RQ- The O>M>S is the least complicated way to go, maybe the only way to have a product that can be used in various ways (transportable). My demo is too restricting but shows another way if text is used. This method could be used if you needed a background "picture" to be used with other Inkscape effects.

    (-: And you don’t have to SKEW IT. :-).

    It will be interesting to see what others have to offer.

  22. Zombiebrainz Says:

    Merry Christmas folks!

  23. Roberto Says:

    I did not know that Gnumeric exported to svg … this is great!
    Trivia! but is in the repository linus (ubuntu) that program “Key Status”?

  24. Vadim P. Says:

    thank you!

  25. Schicke Charts in Inkscape : Karl-Tux-Stadt Says:

    […] schöne Charts in Inkscape generiert. Angeregt zu dieser Suche hat mich ein ziemlich alter Screencast. Nützlich ist das Ganze ja schon, aber Gnumeric haben die wenigsten installiert, die Masse […]

  26. Photos Says:


    […]screencasters.heathenx.org » Blog Archive » Episode 078[…]…

  27. Nagura Says:

    This is a very good tutorial.
    Thank you.