Big Data is the need of the hour. It helps you describe your business profits, monitor your customer actions, and better understand your marketing efforts. However, data in its raw form is not something that can be easily understood.
That's why we need data visualization.
Data visualization tools help everyone from marketers to data scientists to break down raw data, and demonstrate everything using charts, graphs, videos, and more.
Naturally, the human eye is drawn to colors and patterns. In fact, 90% of the information presented to the brain is visual.
And for businesses, the use of analytics and data visualization provides a $13.01 return for every dollar spent. Additionally, 79% of business executives believe that companies will fail without embracing big data.
Whether you're running your own online store or need to present important data to company stakeholders, the tools on this list will help tremendously.
If you're looking to implement data visualization for your organization, then you've come to the right place.
In this post, I curated and reviewed the best data visualization tools to connect to your backend database software. These reviews are based on ease of use, drag-and-drop dashboard styles, integration capabilities, pricing, and more.
Let's get started.
What Are the Best Data Visualization Tools?
Here are my top picks for the best data visualization tools and platforms to use this year.
If you want to see and visualize data easily, then Tableau is the data visualization tool for you. It helps you in creating charts, maps, and every other type of professional graphics. To enhance your visual representations, you can find the desktop application as well.
Moreover, if you face trouble with the installation of any third-party app, then it provides a “lock the server” solution to help visualize the reports online or with mobile applications.
Tableau is most suitable for corporate companies who are looking for data visualization solutions without having to set up manually.
- The product is mobile friendly and is easy to update
- It provides extensive customer support
- Allows you to perform data blending easily
- The corporate team can perform real-time analysis of their data
- Provides access to all types of data analytics, including IT analytics, government analytics, marketing analytics, insurance analytics, and more
- Offers a separate free tool called Tableau Public, which provides some features but doesn't allow you to save reports locally
- There's no option for automatically refreshing the reports
- The solution isn't as comprehensive, and you will require prior SQL knowledge
The pricing plans start from $12 per user/month and range up to $70 per user/month.
Infogram is a web-based data visualization and infographics platform. It permits you to make and share infographics, maps, and charts by taking all the user data and converting it into compelling graphics.
After that, you can further share, embed, or publish those graphics wherever you want. Moreover, the tool is effortless to use and is suitable for government bodies, marketing teams, and even students.
The great news is that you don't require any technical know-how or coding skills to get started with Infogram. The pricing plans also vary based on the type of use, so you don't have to worry about paying extra. And if you want it for basic use and designs, then it's entirely free of cost.
Infogram is most suitable for organizations that work with sales and marketing since it allows you to display your targets with the help of charts and templates. It's also helpful for auditing firms.
- Aside from being useful for corporates and government bodies, it's incredibly student-friendly as well
- Provides customizable templates to help you add colors, fonts, logo, and more
- It offers an ample variety of images, icons, and flags. Proper sets of maps and charts are present.
- The templates help in creating social media images, dashboards, and reports.
- It has got some beautiful project templates that can turn data into engaging content.
- Navigating your data can be challenging
- Customer support needs improvement
The paid plans start from $19 per month and range up to $149 per month. Then there's one quote-based plan that helps you pick all the features you want based on your business requirements. Infogram also offers a freemium plan for essential features.
ChartBlocks is an innovative data visualization software that enables you to import your data within a fraction of seconds. Moreover, you can directly update your data right away in the ChartBlock app and do the necessary import.
It also comes with a “chart builder” that helps you create the type of chart you want. It has a certain high level of tools. After this, you can easily embed the charts to your website or any other social media.
The tool is best suited for the travel industry, healthcare, insurance, and retail.
- Provides excellent customer support
- It makes it very easy to upload your data files
- Allows you to create and share the charts within minutes
- You can use the same data to make a variety of charts
- Comes with built-in social media tools to help you share and embed your charts directly
- It's compatible with all types of mobile devices and can fit any screen size
- Provides limited space to upload your data
- The export quality is not the best in the free version
The first plan is entirely free of cost, where you get up to 50 active charts. After that, the paid plans start from $20 per month.
Datawrapper is another excellent data visualization software on this list. Your target audience should be able to understand whatever type of chart you create. Moreover, the excel screenshot looks quite good on your desktop, but it's barely readable from a mobile.
And Datawrapper solves this issue automatically. All the charts, tables, and maps you create with DataWrapper are easily readable on all devices. The good news is that you don't need any coding skills to create the charts.
Since Datawrapper is a non-commercial platform, it's most suitable for students and small organizations that require basic data visualization features.
- Provides a variety of in-built charts and graphics to choose from
- It doesn't require any technical know-how
- It's an open-source tool and is entirely free
- The charts, maps, and other graphics automatically get saved afterward
- The DataWrapper tool is compatible with all operating systems
- Allows you to edit and annotate your charts easily
- One of the biggest drawbacks is that your data will get stored on the DataWrapper server with the free plan
- The customization of fonts and colors can be tough
It's entirely free if you want to have some basic designs and charts. The free plan also allows you to export your chart, tables, and maps into png format. After that, the paid plans start from 499 € per month.
Plotly not only helps you with creating graphics, but it also provides in-depth analytical reports to help you keep track of the data. It also comes with an easily customizable user interface.
On top of that, it helps you export the reports easily and works superbly well in the business intelligence field.
Plotly has commercial offerings such as Dash Enterprise and Chart Studio Enterprise. Hence, it's more suited for professional enterprises that require data science and AI on a large scale. Other than this, it's perfect for both students and small scale businesses as well.
- One of the greatest features of Plotly is that it provides multi deployment options, which allows you to acquire solutions in multiple ways
- You can add multiple team members, which helps with team collaboration and streamlines your tasks
- Comes with powerful visualization tools and high-quality analytics tools
- You can have application development in this and interactive reports
- In data visualization, it provides simulation modeling, custom dashboards, and proper reports
- Supports popular languages like R, Python, Node, and more
- Doesn't provide customer support via phone call
- The pricing plans aren't available on the official website
If you require basic features, then you can subscribe to the freemium plan. For more advanced functions, the paid plans start at $ 59 per year per user.
6. Zoho Analytics.
Zoho Analytics is probably one of the most popular BI tools on this list. One thing you can stay assured of is that with Zoho analytics, you can upload your data securely. Moreover, you can use a wide variety of charts, tables, and components to transform your data into a concise manner.
Zoho Analytics caters to huge enterprises, including Bajaj Allianz, Maruti Suzuki, HP, Hyundai Motors, and HDFC. However, it's suitable for mid-sized businesses as well.
- Helps you create visually appealing data visualization reports
- It's decidedly easy to use and the dashboard is very intuitive
- Comes with strong security policies
- Provides extensive customer support, which comes in handy for a beginner
- Allows you to easily embed your reports and dashboards on websites and social media channels
- Extracts data from multiple resources and then process it to create insightful reports
- Comes with an AI-based assistant to assist you in your data visualization process
- It doesn't allow users to access data from outside
- The software is a bit slow
The pricing plans start at $25 per month and range up to $495 per month. You also get a 15-day free trial to check out the product.
Visually is a community platform for data visualization and infographics. It permits users to search for various images through tags and descriptions. You can also publish and embed graphics directly to your social network profiles. It works in three simple steps.
Just like Zoho Analytics, Visually also caters to big IT firms such as KPMG, Tiger Analytics, and Xoriant. However, it's also suitable for mid-sized businesses.
- It helps you create engaging infographics, videos, eBooks, report, and more for your firm
- The twitter visualizer tool is also a part of visual.ly
- Users can gather information from multiple databases
- The customer support is extensive, and the staff is willing to help with all the issues you face
- You don't require any coding skills; you just need to point out your requirements, and you'll receive the type of graphic you are looking for
- Only available in the English language
- Doesn't provide a fixed pricing plan
The pricing depends upon the number of users. Also, the tool is open to use but for a limited duration. After that, you'd need to purchase it.
Other than this, it provides unique functions, such as code reusability, a wide variety of curve generating functions, help in associating data to an element in the HTML pages, and more.
It is best suited for those firms that need to create web pages and websites. You can also build excellent apps with the help of this data visualization tool.
- It is an open-source project and works without any plugin
- It requires minimal coding and helps you with data visualization with any prior technical knowledge
- Enables you to visualize data HTML, SVG, and CSS
- You can build a charting component with this tool easily
- You don't need to load the whole library every time
- Helps you with Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation
- You can also generate an HTML table from a wide array of numbers
- It's a bit complex and be very time-consuming
- Needs to be more flexible and offer better options
It offers a quote-based plan for which you have to get in touch with the vendor.
9. Ember Charts.
The Ember Charts is more like a charting library built with the Ember.js and d3.js frameworks. With Ember Charts, you can make graphics like time series, scatter, pie, and bar charts. Moreover, it helps you to easily extend and modify the charts since it offers great customizability options.
Ember Charts is suitable for your organization if you require statistical graphs pretty often. Moreover, if you need graphics like a vertical bar, horizontal bar, pie, stacked bar, and scatter, then also it's a great tool.
- The Ember Charts comes with a straightforward dashboard. Thus it's decidedly easy to use
- Provides high level of customizability
- It provides unique and rich features and allows you to add legends, tooltips, labels, and mouse-over effects to your project
- It offers powerful and polished charts
- If you add data that isn't normal, your chart won't break. It means that if you add bad data, the Ember Charts won't stop working
- It's entirely free of cost
- You can extend the Chart Component class to roll your own charts
- The product isn't as popular as other tools on this list so you can't read enough reviews before using the product
It's a free tool and there are no associated costs.
The NVD3 allows you to build reusable charts along with chart components for d3.js. The good news is that it keeps all the components customizable and doesn't take away the control that d3.js provides you.
If you prefer neat and customizable data charts, then you might want to try out NVD3. And since it's free of cost, it's perfect for small organizations as well.
- The NVD3 gives you the ability to build reusable charts
- Comes with numerous types of charts, including time series bar charts, scatter plus line charts, and more
- Provides a high level of customizability
- The documentation is a bit weak, which takes a lot more of your time than it should
- You need to look at the example code to understand the working
- The NVD3 is a work in progress. The visualization tool still needs some work with the label issue
You can use the NVD3 data visualization tool for free.
11. Google Charts.
The Google Charts is another great data visualization tool on this list. It runs on SVG and HTML5 and allows you to create pretty interactive charts. It also gives you more control over the charts you create and will enable you to zoom the charts. Moreover, it's user friendly so you can get started with it quickly.
Google Charts is suitable for all types of organizations, whether it's mid-sized companies, start-ups, or large enterprises. Moreover, it's best for the organization that needs to create, manage, and present data with data tables, Google sheet integration, and animations.
- Google Charts is easy to use. You don't need to have any technical knowledge in advance to use it
- You can easily integrate Google Charts with other Google products
- It allows you to embed the charts on your site and social media platforms easily
- Comes with a comprehensive gallery and plenty of templates
- It displays live and real-time data on your site
- Provides an interactive dashboard
- Comes entirely free of cost
- Not as suitable for in-dept personalization
- You may face a bit of difficulty when you get creative with the graphs
Google Charts is a free product.
Moreover, it provides over 90 inbuilt charts and more than 1000 maps to help you process the data into interactive dashboards.
FusionCharts is best for organizations that need to create dashboards within their project or product. However, since it comes with a hefty price tag, it's more suitable for large-sized businesses.
- FusionCharts offers flexibility in design
- It provides many perks, such as an interactive nature, clickable data, and numerous color schemes
- You can get a variety of fonts and layout of dashboards
- You can create a custom dashboard using FusionCharts
- Provides unique features, including relational display, visual discovery, consistent API, cross-browser support, and more
- Offers extensive documentation to break down everything in depth
- Needs improvement when it comes to customization options
- It's a bit expensive so more suited for large enterprises
For per user, the pricing of FusionCharts starts at $497. The pricing plans range up to $9,947. The good part is that you can get a free trial that you can use before making the final purchase.
The Highcharts is best for students and non-profit organizations since it's entirely free for non-commercial use.
- Highcharts offers a lot of different types of charts and supports line, spline, area, areaspline, column, and more
- You can use Highcharts to show different types of Analytics easily
- Comes with a wide range of third-party plugins
- It's free of cost for non-commercial projects
- It's dynamic in nature and allows you to add, remove, or modify series and points
- Compatible all types of devices, including smartphones, tablets, desktop, and more
- The Highcharts can consume your time in figuring out and calculating the values of the axis
The official website doesn't provide the pricing details of Highcharts. You'd have to get in touch with the vendor to get a quote. Moreover, it's free of cost for commercial use.
Chart.js is a straightforward and flexible visualization tool for designers and developers. An open community maintains it, so it's entirely free of cost as well. Other prominent features include the ability to visualize data in eight different ways, excellent scale granularity, and more.
Chart.js is suited for small projects that require primary data visualization features.
- It's easy to use and comes with a straightforward dashboard
- Allows you to visualize data using 8 different types of charts, including polar, bar, doughnut, radar, pie, and more
- The data charts are animated and highly customizable
- You can add and remove any type of chart in Chart.js to reduce your footprint
- It provides perfect scale granularity
- The biggest drawback of Chart.js is its slow rendering process
Chart.js is a free data visualization platform.
The Leaflet is best for organizations that need specialized big data mapping solutions. It also helps organizations save plenty of time and resources and get more things done.
- Leaflet offers an extensive plugin repository
- Allows you to add masks, heatmaps, and animated markers
- The product uses OpenStreetMap data, which enables you to add HTML5/CSS3 interactivity and visualizations
- It's very responsive and mobile-friendly
- It's an open-source data visualization platform, which makes it free
- The community that runs the tool is always willing to help you get started
- It could be more responsive
- It might not show an error when coding
It's an open-source data visualization platform, so it's entirely free of cost.
Note: other tools not yet reviewed or added to this article include Microsoft Power BI and Sisense BI.
What is Data Visualization?
The 21st century saw an explosion of data in every walk of life.
2.2 million terabytes of new data emanate every day, and it's increasing every year. Handling such a humongous amount of data and interpreting it is a challenge. That's why you require newer and more advanced techniques for data analysis.
And that's where data visualization comes into the picture since it's one of the simplest ways of analyzing and demonstrating data. The right tool can attack any complex dataset by their horns, and break them down into simplified steps that even a layman can understand easily.
The technique graphically depicts the relationship between data. For that, it uses elements like charts, tables, histograms, bar graphs, and maps to correlate between different sets of data. Moreover, the method helps us understand the underlying patterns & trends in data. It also enables us to identify the outliers among the data.
The significant part about data visualization is that it lets you use colors to separate two or more datasets visually. Humans can identify nearly 7,000,000 different colors, and data visualization techniques make use of this feature.
You also have the option to use different shapes and sizes to distinguish trends and facilitate decision making.
Basically, Data visualization techniques use our inherent nature to look for outliers and hidden trends in data, even subconsciously.
That's why looking at 20 tables with endless columns of numbers makes little sense, but we suddenly know everything about the dataset once you view it diagrammatically.
How Do You Use Data Visualization Tools?
Interactive data visualization tools help you visualize a huge amount of data by transforming numbers into diagrams within minutes. Since humans interpret and understand diagrams better than numbers, these tools are externally useful.
So how do you use these tools? You can choose from a lot of options, depending on your business requirements and objectives.
However, you need to choose the mode of visualization very carefully.
1. Column Charts.
Column Charts help you demonstrate data points using a linear time frame.
For example, the monthly sale of the commodity X as the particular financial year 2015-2016 progresses.
2. Bar Chart.
Bar Charts are a simple way to take data sources and depict quantitative data in a differentiable manner.
Take this data representation, for instance:
Here, the students chose to depict their preferences using three different colors.
3. Pie Chart.
With Pie Charts, you break down data into portions of a pie. It's a simple method of demonstrating the relative proportion of each unique quantity represented.
Here's an example:
Here, in a survey about favorite fruits, 27% of respondents preferred grapes, 10% chose peach, and so on.
4. Venn Diagrams.
Venn diagrams demonstrate the possible type of relationships between 2 or more datasets. It helps in assessing data and displaying how it correlates to one another. Basically, Venn diagrams help depict the commonalities between two data sources.
In the above diagram, it describes the common features between birds and bats.
5. Gantt Charts.
Gantt charts are essential in the course of any business, be it B2B or B2C. It demonstrates the different stages of the advancement of a project and sheds insight on the rate of completion of projects on deadlines.
This chart depicts the time it takes for a business to complete different phases of its operations.
Make sure to check your data visualization tool to see if they have Gantt charts, or opt for a Gantt chart maker for your projects.
6. Line Charts.
If you want to study the trends of a dataset over time and notice crests and troughs, line charts can be helpful. They are mostly popular for financial studies and stock markets.
Here's an example:
It presents charts, bar diagrams, infographics, timelines, and more in a single frame, facilitating actionable insights and fast decision making.
What Should You Look for in Data Visualization Tools?
To quote Ben Shneiderman, an American computer scientist, “Visualization gives you answers to questions you didn't know you had.”
The power of data visualization knows no bounds, and that's why you should know exactly what to look for while choosing a tool. Every business is different, and needs will vary, but some of the features needed are similar across industries.
Here are some of them:
1. Easy to Embed.
You need Big data to drive real business insights. After this, you need to embed those derived insights into your web pages or any social media channel to demonstrate everything to your target audience adequately.
When embedded seamlessly into business software, these tools can facilitate easy, actionable, real-time decision making that will ultimately benefit the business. The right tools can make the process of sharing and embedding the reports easy and straightforward.
2. User Friendliness.
You've got to ensure that you can fully leverage the data visualization tool you are purchasing. That won't happen unless the tool is user-friendly and easy to operate. That's why it's essential that the tool you choose is user friendly and provides a modern and intuitive dashboard.
3. Real-Time Collaboration.
Real-time decision making necessitates real-time inter-team and intra-team collaboration in any business. It helps draw conclusions that each team member can access instantly, offers better visibility, and keeps everyone on the same page.
The motive of any business is sustainability and profitability. You can achieve it only if you continue to grow and scale up your business. That's why you need a highly scalable tool, with an eye on the future. Your business may be small today, but the tool you use needs to be able to scale-up and meet the growing demands of your business.
AI is the next big step in technology. It can facilitate easier data analysis and can help predict trends and prescribe necessary changes. Therefore, integration with AI in your visualization tool can prepare your business for the future.
Apart from these, some of the other features you should look for include customer service, streaming data support, interactive exploration, dynamic infrastructure, and more.
Data Visualization Examples.
Here are some industry leaders in the market and examples of what their dashboards look like:
Used by nearly 60,000 accounts, Tableau is by far the best tool in the market.
Some of its most prominent features are:
- Handles enormous & dynamic data sets
- Handles big data & machine learning applications
- Integration with advanced database solutions like Salesforce, Hadoop, SAP, Teradata
- Efficient graphics
The dashboard provides all-in-one access to a host of functions for holistic management.
Used by over 800,000 developers across 28,000 companies, FusionCharts is one of the best in the market right now. With their interactive and responsive charts, extensive documentation, and consistent API, the dashboards provided are one of the finest.
Some of the key features are:
- Beautiful charts, graphs, and maps (over 90 varieties)
- Powerful time series
- Export entire dashboards as PDF
- Extensive third-party integrations
- Highly flexible & scalable
This is an example of its dashboard that monitors the energy used. The dashboards are incredibly informative, detailed, and specific.
Eighty of the world's largest 100 companies use the services of Highcharts. Used by tens of thousands of developers, it's one of the simplest yet most powerful tools in the market.
Some of its features include:
- Sophisticated navigation, annotation and client-side analytics
- Interactive maps to display information with respect to geography
- Flexible & scalable
The dashboard display doesn't necessitate specialized data visualization training, making it attractive even to novices. Its USP is cross-browser support, that enables anyone to run interactive visualization.
Datawrapper is a free, browser-based data visualization tool that is suitable for almost every industry.
Some of its features are:
- 19 responsive and interactive chart types
- No coding expertise needed
- Copy and paste data from net, excel or sheets
- Upload CSV/XLS files
- Export charts as PNG, SVG or PDF
- Highly automated workflows
The dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of the problem at hand. Moreover, it makes it easy to depict different varieties using colors, fonts, and shapes.
These were some of the best data visualization tools out there. These tools will help you make your presentation smarter and more interactive, allowing you to grab the attention of your target audience.
However, if you require advanced features and have a decent budget, then you might want to try out more credible and popular data visualization and business intelligence tools like Tableau, Datawrapper, Zoho Analytics, and more. These tools are suitable for both mid-sized as well as large enterprises.
Whether using Apple, Microsoft Windows, or even Android devices, these tools help you extract raw data from multiple databases and present them in a simple manner.
Which of the above data visualization tools are you planning to use? Let me know your feedback in the comment section below.