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Free Tools for Data Visualization

Visualizations are graphical representations of information, data or knowledge. It helps us to quickly grasp complex relationships and see patterns. This is the reason why infographics has become so popular. It’s also become a great way for businesses to tap into the power of data visualization.

According to Wikipedia, data visualization is the interactive visual representation of data. Data visualization is an alternative to data analysis and is closely related to statistical graphics and information visualization. Data visualization it makes it easy to identify patterns in huge quantities of information. Best of all, data visualization has grown in popularity and more developers than ever before are providing freebies for you to use on your website.

Data visualization is a way to communicate data or information in a graphical manner. Visual representations of data make it easier to understand and analyze the data. Data visualizations show relationships between variables quickly and efficiently, as opposed to process of extracting information from tables or text files.

Tableau Public

This is right at the top because it’s essentially the same platform as our self-service BI tool Editors’ Choice winner Tableau Desktop . The company chose not to make its free version feature-poor. Instead, this is the full version of Tableau that’s available for free download, with only one caveat: Everything you create with it is public, which means you’ll automatically be making it available on the web via Tableau’s visualization gallery.

Pro: Tableau Public is that it offers unparalleled data visualization with fully functional and interactive graphics.

Con: You cannot save your workbook locally and everything you create gets shared publicly on your Tableau Public profile, which limits its usefulness for work based on proprietary data.

Tableau Gallery

gallery is cool enough to warrant a mention all its own because you don’t need to download the tool nor use it to benefit from the gallery. Every visualization here can be downloaded into documents and email, or embedded into webpages with code snippets provided by Tableau. Other folks have done tremendous work on some truly impressive data visualizations and Tableau has curated that content and made it available for download. This is a great resource, not only for business people but also for researchers, students, and journalists looking for ways not just to flesh out and beautify their content but to keep it current, too.

Google Data Studio

Part of the Google Marketing Platform, Google Data Studio lets users build multiple views of their data as well as dashboards rather than one-time, publication-ready visualizations. While it follows the Google tradition of requiring somewhat of a learning curve, it’s nevertheless not that difficult to use. It’s also well integrated with Google Analytics , which can make for quite a powerful pairing—especially since both tools are available in free-to-play versions.

Openheatmap

This one purports to transform your spreadsheet, presumably encumbered with some kind of geographical data, into a functioning heat map with just one click. It works with Google Spreadsheets so you’ll have to import your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet there if you want to use Openheatmap. But that’s a relatively trivial requirement considering the possible results.

Flourish Public

When it comes to storytelling, Flourish tops the list and is ideal for anyone looking to tell stories with data. It enables immersive storytelling rather than more traditional ways of visualizing as tables, diagrams, and dashboards. Unlike Tableau Public, Flourish does not require a desktop edition. It is browser-based. You can choose a wide range of flexible templates from the library. Flourish is typically for social media sharing and website content.

Flourish enables journalists to guide readers through one or more visualizations, animating between views to create a narrative. If you are a journalist and involved in newsrooms, Flourish is worth a try.

Pro: It is super easy to create interactive rotating globes and maps in Flourish.

Con: It doesn’t support adding data from Google Sheets or other online sheets in its free version.

Infogram

Infogram is a browser-based visualization platform that offers interactive charts, graphics, infographics, and maps to tell a story and has many free templates from which to choose. In addition to supporting local data uploads, it also supports uploads from Google Sheets, Dropbox, MySQL, and direct JSON data feeds. Infogram provides object animations that allow you to easily zoom, bounce, rotate, fade, and slide objects into your work.

Infogram is for anyone who wants to stand out with data-driven content. If you are a marketer, media company, or strategic business leader, Infogram is worth a try.

Pro: It is easy to create reports, slides, dashboards, email headers, and social media contents in addition to interactive visualizations.

Con: In the free version, when you want to insert interactive charts into your website, you get a large Infogram logo. You have to upgrade to a paid version to remove it.

Datawrapper

Datawrapper is a browser-based data analysis tool that can easily transform numerical data from PDFs, CSVs, and web sources into charts and graphs. It requires no sign up and you can get started by selecting the “start creating” button from its landing page. River, a shared platform developed by Datawrapper, helps you to share relevant data, charts, and maps with other users. It also allows users to reuse visualizations made by others.

If you are a journalist, engineer, and other design professional that needs to compile data from a range of native formats, Datawrapper is worth a try.

Pro: Datawrapper is that it is super easy for beginners to understand the process of creating the visualization as it guides you through every step of the process.

Con: Customizing fonts and colors is tough compared to the other tools in this list.

Prezi

While it may not strictly be a data visualization tool, we couldn’t miss Prezi off of this list. The online editor gives you the functionality and inspiration required to create unique, out-of-the-box presentations. With a little creative thinking, you can spice up your standard company presentations and start presenting with interactive slides that better complement your story.

Don’t expect too many unique or exciting chart layouts with Prezi. That’s not what Prezi is about. With a bit of thought around iconography, movement and type, you can start creating bespoke narrative experiences and take your stakeholders on a whole journey.

RAW

If you want to create interactive data visualizations with D3, but don’t know where to begin – consider RAW. RAW is a free application that makes it easy to use the D3 JavaScript library. Simply copy your data into the online editor, choose a chart type and map your axis. It’s as simple as that. The tool comes with a range of customization options that allow you to style each of your creations. Once you’re happy, use the embed code to add the graph to your website and show off your research results.

The only downside to RAW is the limited graph library. There are currently 16 options to choose from. However, if you are confident with JavaScript, you can add your own and still make use of the WYSIWIG builder to take care of your styling.

Visme

Visme is a brilliant online tool that allows you to create a myriad of dynamic infographics, presentations, charts, maps, graphs, social media graphics, and a variety of other documents to accurately and engagingly present your data.

With its extensive library of graphics, templates, and stock images, the accessibility and scope of this platform is unique, allowing anyone to create clear, professional visuals. For insight professionals, this would definitely be worth checking out, especially if you’re looking to experiment a little with your data visualisation or report presentation techniques.

Fusion Tables

Fusion Tables are an experimental app from Google, not to be confused with number 2 on our list (Google Graphs). What makes Fusion Tables unique is the ability to integrate your data with thousands of publicly available data sets already hosted on the Fusion Tables website. This collaborative nature allows you to build stunning visualizations, whilst adding even more insight to your research by accessing new data.

Fusion Tables are hosted on your Google Docs account, meaning you can access them anywhere, share them with stakeholders and even make them public for others to build on and use in their own research projects.

Conclusion

Visualization is an important topic in the data-driven world we live in today. Every day we see it at the weather, the TV, and even in political campaigns. However, data viz has recently become a buzzword and everyone wants to be able to claim that they’re good at doing it. Let’s face it – not everybody can be an amazing designer and not everybody has budgeted for designers, but data visualization is becoming more and more powerful and necessary

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