Bar charts with decimals the easy way
It took three years for the typeface I developed with my colleague Christoph Almasy to see the light of day. There were technical pitfalls to overcome. We prepared the typeface for German and English usage. The project had to mature and then be published with motivation.
When you see the font in action, it’s almost a bit like magic. But behind it is an OpenType feature called “Discretionary Ligatures”. Travis Kochel has developed this with his font Chartwell already particularly impressively in 2012. Unfortunately, Chartwell only uses whole numbers. This is often not detailed enough, especially for infographics. For this reason, we set out to change that. The result is our font “NumToBars”.
What’s behind it
All numbers with a decimal place from 0.1 to 100.0 are replaced by a proportionally corresponding bar. Programs that support discretionary ligatures can do this. In every modern layout program (InDesign, QuarkXPress, Affinity Publisher) this is part of the standard feature set.
Thus, the NumToBars font includes 2,000 discretionary ligatures. This is because both decimal numbers separated by a comma and those separated by a period must be represented.
A wide range of applications
To take advantage of the font properly, it’s best to work with paragraph styles. I’ve recorded a video tutorial that shows various applications. In InDesign, you can also use a few tricks to display stacked bar charts. If you are interested in purchasing a font license, you can do this in my webshop .