Data provides important information, but it is not always fun to look at. However, with data visualization tools, you can easily turn raw data into visually appealing pieces of information. It makes data more user-friendly and helps retain interest. However, you need to choose a data visualization tool you can trust.
There are many available, but not all of them are free, and not all can be trusted. To help give you a head start, we have put together the following list of the top data visualization tools available for free.
With more than 960 maps and 90 charts available, FusionCharts offers a large range of possibility for your data. This is one tool used by many data visualization professionals and developers. It has been supported since IE6, making it very cross-browser friendly.
It will work with XML and JSON data formats, and allows the charts to be checked out for free before choosing to buy the software. Although, it is a bit more expensive than others on the list, it is worth checking out.
Another popular data visualization library is the open source D3.js, commonly referred to just as D3. It provides developers the ability to create complex graphs and charts using HMTL, CSS, and SVG. Also, it is cross-browser and cross-device compatible, so it will work on desktop and mobile devices.
However, because of its design targeting modern browsers, it is not tested with older browser versions prior to IE9. If you use a browser with an earlier version, it could have issues.
Additionally, the D3 API has a bit of a learning curve because of the amount of complexity it offers. But, if you are needing a powerful data visualization tool, it is worth checking out.
Among all of the data charting software on the list, Charted has to offer the smoothest user interfaces. It is simple to use, just upload your Google Sheet or CSV file. It automatically generates a chart based on the data in your file, and then refreshes the data on 30-minute intervals. This helps stay semi-updated when data is constantly changing.
Developers can run a web server of their own as Charted is open-source and free.
Another option with a free version is Tableau Public, which offers a large library of charts, graphs, and maps. It’s designed towards non-developers, making it an easy to use tool as well. The free version is best for non-commercial use because of the large branding in the footer. For commercial purposes, the paid version removes this branding from charts.
If clean graphs and charts are what you need, Flot offers a simplified interface and decent chart library. Flot offers various advanced features, including resizing, zooming, data series on/off, etc. It also provides a range of other user-generated plugins that may be useful to your business.
Like all Google Apps, their Charts app is also very user friendly with a clean layout. Best of all, it is free without limitations. There are many types of data visualization available, including basic line and bar graphs to more complex types like hierarchical tree maps.
The amount of features, the library of charts and graphs, combined with being cross-platform and cross-browser compatible makes Google Charts one of the top data visualization tools.
If your business has been using Excel and want something more modern without a major learning curve, check out Chartist. As with any worthwhile software it provides a large database of responsive, clean, and animated charts.
While having a large selection of charts, the software itself is designed to be small, at just 10kb it is lightening fast and will not slow down your system. Plus, it’s free so there’s no reason not to check it out. Check out some of their examples.
When your company needs the ability to quickly plot interactive charts, DataWrapper can be useful. This free tool allows you to easily upload a CSV file filled with your data, select the chart type you need to plot, and that’s it.
Because of its ease of use, many developers enjoy using it over other alternatives because it allows for easily embedding live charts into web pages and articles. Although, there are a ton of non-tech savvy users too.
Cartographical data is the main focus of Polymaps, which allows users to easily visual geographical data. It works by pulling data from various image providers such as Bing and OpenStreetMap and renders a representation of its own amazing and clean map. Check out some of their examples.
Raw uses the D3.js platform to eliminate the gap that exists between vector graphics and spreadsheets for non-developers. Although the library of charts is not as extensive compared to others on the list, with only 16 charts ready to use, it is among the easiest to get started with. However, it does offer you to customize charts and layouts.
When your team needs to create timeline charts that are visually appealing and interactive, check out TimelineJS. You do not need to write any code, which is likely why top name sites like TIME often use it.
You can easily convert a large amount of data into a small, easy to read chart. Additionally, the TimelineJS API is compatible with various sources of data, including YouTube, Vine, Google Maps, SoundCloud, Twitter, and Wikipedia. Check out some examples.