We need an Adobe product that creates charts better than a MS product!
Years have gone by without Adobe recognizing that InDesign is used for a LOT of annual reports that are chart-heavy. Built-in functionality in Illustrator is appalling at best, then to have to break a chart apart and literally re-type every label for potentially 100+ charts for a report is ridiculous. We need the ability to control the look and feel of a wide variety of charts natively (with the ability link to various data sources -- spreadsheet, odbc, etc.).
Use Excel and export as a PDF and link it. However edits are onerous when you have to change the excel doc, re-output the pdf, and update the link. Text colors/sizing are never quite correct (let alone needing to make a change document-wide -- FORGET ABOUT IT), alignment never seems to be exact, and it's just a poor approach, honestly.
Another alternative (even recommended by admins here) is an expensive font that only uses whole numbers up to 100 (made that mistake, waste of money). Bar chart with decimals? Nope. Reporting on the GDP of a region? Can't do it.
For a company that's so focused on being data-driven, it's pretty ironic that we can't create compelling charts in one of your flagship products -- especially when products like Excel and PowerPoint can do it. What gives?
PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF YOUR USERS DO SOMETHING!!
Charles Crofton commented
I know a lot of designers that create bar charts in InDesign, just to avoid Illustrators tools, using colored boxes, separate rules, and type boxes spread about. In the past this might have been good enough, but was a pain to edit afterwards. However, I have a client now asking for pdf's to be accessible, and there's no way the previous solution would fly. Illustrators' chart building tools haven't changed in decades.
I can only agree. This use of InDesign and external data and charts must be known by Adobe. Identifying the most common workflows and finding a way to improve them ought to be part of the product managers interest and responsibility.
Erik Laurijssen commented
Datylon offers an advanced dataviz extension for Illustrator to create RGB/CMYK charts. Check it out at https://datylon.com/graph. The charts can easily be embedded in Indesign
Next quarter we'll have an online chart editor as well that allows you to design advanced branded charts online. These charts can be downloaded as SVG/PDF for import in Indesign.