When people want to explain complicated content in a simple way or present numerical content in a way that can be easily understood, they often use infographics. With their help it is possible to present as much information as possible within a small space. Proof of just how popular infographics are today is provided by the large number of websites where you can generate them for free. One of the most comprehensive and user-friendly of these is Easel.ly. The site offers a huge range of possibilities and operates in a very similar way to a layout program such as InDesign. Make use of existing templates or start with a completely empty page.
It’s this simple to work with Easel.ly:
- Select a template on the home page (every element of these can be edited), or the “Start fresh” link top left to start from a blank template. You can change the size of your graphic as you wish by simply dragging the bottom and right hand edges. The size here is shown in px. With an empty template it is best to wait to determine the size until after you have chosen a background, because unfortunately the display jumps back to the original size every time the background is changed.
- Decide on the alignment (vertical, horizontal, mobile view); do not be confused: this only changes once you have selected another colour or background.
- Each element can be selected and changed individually (position, size, colour, content etc.): simply click and move and, for example, change the size and set the colour, transparency and position (layered in front or behind).
- You can choose from 24 fonts and determine the alignment and colour, as well as whether your text is in bold, italics, underlined or shadowed.
- Add new elements by dragging them from the list at the top onto your graphic.
- Objects: Select a general object name from the list and then the desired image
- backgrounds: Drag the desired background onto the image or select a new colour (next door on the left)
- draw: Draw lines and arrows
- shapes: Insert objects like arrows, circles or rectangles
- text: Add new text element
- charts: Insert diagrams; these can be changed as you wish in terms of content and graphics by double clicking on them
- upload: Upload and use your own images
To put objects in the right position, these can also be moved in small increments using the arrow buttons. If you use the mouse for this, helper lines are displayed which help achieve alignment with the centre or with other elements. You can also move or scale several elements at the same time by drawing a box round them with the cursor or selecting the desired elements whilst holding down the Ctrl key. Another good helper for the positioning and alignment of elements is the grid screen, which you can display using the “grid” button. It’s also handy that standard shortcuts such as Ctrl+C and +V work or you can delete selected elements with the Delete key. Other advantages: Every element can be hyperlinked and with the “Present” button you get a preview of your graphic.
If you want to work more on your graphics at a later date, you can also save them, however you have to register in order to do this. You can download your infographics in standard or high quality (which should generally be sufficient for printing) or as a PDF. However please note that the data is always in RGB. So to use it for printing, you first have to convert to CMYK.