How to Format Bar Charts in iBooks Author - dummies

How to Format Bar Charts in iBooks Author

By Galen Gruman

iBooks Author provides a set of common chart options at the top of the Chart inspector. The Chart inspector has three panes — Chart, Axis, and Series. To create a chart, use the Charts icon menu in the toolbar to choose the desired chart type (there are 19 types). Or you can choose Insert→Chart and then choose the desired chart type from the submenu that appears. iBooks Author creates a chart that uses sample data. It also displays the Chart inspector and the Chart Data Editor panel.


To format bar charts, refer to the options in the Chart pane:


  • Show Title: The word Title appears above the chart, and you can edit it, as desired, by double-clicking it and entering (or pasting) your text.

  • Show Legend: If you don’t want a legend to appear, deselect this option.

  • Bar Format: If you’re displaying the data in one of the eight bar formats or one of the two bar-and-line formats, this section appears in the pane. It includes three controls:

    • Gap between Bars: Set the distance between bars by entering a value in the field or adjusting its stepper controls.

    • Gap between Sets: Set the distance between bar groups by entering a value in the field or using its stepper controls.

    • Shadow: Specify an (optional) drop shadow for the whole group or just the selected bar by choosing an option from the pop-up menu.

The options in the Axis pane control the labels and formatting of the chart’s x and y axes:

  • Value Axis (Y): You can choose multiple options in this menu:

    • Axis display: Show Axis shows the y axis’s line. Show Chart Borders places a visible border around the entire chart data, with the left border being the y axis. Show Title places placeholder text for the y axis’s title along its axis; double-click that text to edit it.

    • Axis labels: These options control how the y axis’s labels and values appear.

    • Scale: These options determine how the y axis’s values increment.

    • Tick marks: These options determine where the tick marks appear relative to the y axis.

    • Gridlines: These options determine which lines appear across the chart to indicate the numeric values as an aid to the reader for visually assessing a bar’s value.

  • Scale values: iBooks Author figures out the y axis’s start value, end value, and increments automatically for you. But you can change those automatic values by entering your own in the Min and Max fields, and by setting the number of major increments in the Steps field or Decades field.

  • Value display settings: These options control the display of the numeric values on the y axis. Check the Separator option to have a comma (in North American notation) or space (in European notation) appear in values of thousands or greater. Use the Format pop-up menu’s options to set the numeric presentation.

  • Category Axis (X): This pop-up menu has the same options as the Value Axis (Y) pop-up menu.

  • Label Every __ Categories: Use this field or its stepper controls to determine which groups of bars get their data series labels along the x axis.

If you’re working with a chart type where the bars extend from the left side rather than from the bottom, the Category Axis (Y) pop-up menu is renamed Category Axis (X) and the Category Axis (X) pop-up menu is renamed Category Axis (Y).

The options in the Series pane control the display of the labels for the chart’s series data:

  • Value Labels: Check this option to display the values for each bar.

  • Trendline: If you’re working with any 2D bar chart (except stacked bar charts) and you click the Advanced disclosure triangle, an additional section appears. Its Trendline subpane lets you specify whether and how a trend line for your data appears over the bar chart.

  • Error Bars: Visible only if the Advanced section is displayed, the Error Bars subpane lets you display error bars over the bars. Error bars show the degree of possible deviation or margin of error for each bar’s data.