Turn Your Charts Into Xkcd Style Charts With These Tools

I believe in charts. A good diagram can remember an important fact and keep it there. And some of the best are taken from the xkcd webcomic by Randall Munroe. Now you can turn any chart into an xkcd chart if you have the data and know a little code.

On xkcd, Munroe depicted global temperature changes , radiation doses , the name of each color , money, and the scale of the universe . Less seriously, he portrayed the number of people in the Lego world , his excitement about escalator abuse, and how stupid people behave with cats .

For all but the most complex graphs, Munroe loves to use the same wobbly hand-drawn lines he uses in his figurine comics. These charts are constantly transmitted over the Internet. Many smart people love and trust this comic. If you want to abuse this trust by making your own charts look like xkcd charts, you should check out these resources:

  • Mathematica xkcd Style : Use the popular math program to style your graphs. A bit more like The Far Side – Textbook Graph, but very charming.
  • Xkcd style in Python : use the Matplotlib library. The font looks a bit like Nickelodeon, but it’s a nice fake.
  • xkcd to Javascript : use the chart.xkcd package. Lowercase letters are not authentic to xkcd, but they are more readable. (via kottke.org )

Don’t really pretend your chart is from xkcd, but use this style to make important data more appealing to your audience or to spice up your presentation.


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