If you clicked on this article, you’re probably in the following situation: you have a critical dataset to analyze, but you don’t know any good data visualization tools.

Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about data visualization tools, including what they are, why you should use them, and 11 potential tools we recommend trying.

Ready? Let’s start!

What Is Data Visualization?

Data visualization is the process of creating a visual representation of a data set’s trends, patterns, and critical insights. A data visualization tool is software that helps you create a visualization.

Though you may not work with data every day, you’ve likely used many different types of data visualizations before. Some of the most popular visualizations include:

There’s no “one” way to create a data visualization, though the general process of creating one looks like this:

When discussing data, it’s important to note that “reliability” and “validity” are separate things. “Reliability” refers to how well your data and the methodology behind it measures the thing you’re evaluating, while “validity” refers to how accurate your data itself is.

Seeing is believing ✨👀 Check out 11 great options for data visualization right here ⬇️Click to Tweet

Why Data Visualization Is Important

Data visualizations are very useful, as they can help you:

For example, if you analyzed your email open rate, it’d be a BI insight to say that your click-through rate (CTR) was higher on emails sent through MailChimp instead of GetResponse. The insight will likely influence which platform you use.

For example, if you were doing A/B testing on your WordPress site, you could use data visualization to display results for both the “A” and “B” outcomes so that they are easy to understand.

For example, if you were analyzing your ad retargeting results from a whole year, a data visualization would show you seasonal spikes that you likely couldn’t notice by looking at week-on-week results.

Many businesses track data like their website conversion figures. These datasets contain results from hundreds of visitors, so analyzing the data manually would be extremely time-consuming.

Common Features of Data Visualization Tools

Although every data visualization tool is different, most tools share some common (and very helpful) features. This section will briefly describe these features and why they are essential when selecting your ideal tool.

Data Importing API

Many tools include an Application Programming Interface (API) that allows you to import data from your data collection tool to your visualization tool. APIs speed up the visualization process, as you’d need to download your data, upload it to your tool, and format it manually without an API.

Chart Templates

Chart templates are pre-set designs that you can use to create an attractive visualization quickly. These are perfect if you aren’t a graphic designer or a data analyst, as you simply insert your data into the chart.

Most chart templates will also let you customize your chart’s colors, fonts, and headers.

Interactive Charts

Interactive charts react when you interact with them, meaning you can highlight key figures, trends, or variables without creating different visualizations for each analytic.

Version History

Version history allows you to view and restore old versions of your data visualizations — meaning you can undo a mistake without losing your data.

Mobile Optimization

As the name suggests, mobile optimization allows you to alter the presentation of your visualizations to suit mobile devices.

Top Data Visualization Tools for 2022

If you search for “data visualization software,” you’ll find hundreds of different options. That’s a lot of options to choose from, so to help you narrow it down, we’ve compiled a list of our top 11 tools in this section.

1. Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is the oldest (and likely best known) program on this list. Launched by Microsoft in 1987, Excel allows you to create tables, charts, and roughly 20 other visualizations.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

Pricing

One license for Microsoft Excel costs $159.99 per year or $6.99 a month if purchased with Office 365.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Microsoft Excel 
Microsoft Excel visualization.

2. Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is Excel’s younger and brighter cousin. Power BI allows you to create data visualizations individually or within reports.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

Pricing

It costs $13.70 per user per month for Power BI Pro or $27.50 per user per month for Power BI Premium. Power BI also offers “per capacity” plans for large organizations.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Power BI
Power BI visualization.

3. Google Charts

Google Charts is a web-based tool that can create simple visualizations from small and large datasets. You can build visualizations to publish onto your website with Google Charts.

Top Features

Pros

Cons:

Pricing

Google Charts is currently entirely free to use.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Google Charts
Google Charts visualization.

4. Tableau

Tableau is a powerful and well-known data visualization tool that allows you to analyze data from multiple sources at once. Salesforce owns Tableau.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

Pricing

The public version of Tableau is currently free. However, Tableau also offers Viewer, Creator, and Explorer plans that start from $12, $35, and $70, respectively. It also provides enterprise plans.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Tableau
Tableau visualization

5. Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics is a data visualization tool loved by over 2 million users — including employees at big brands like HP, Hyundai, and Suzuki.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

Pricing

Zoho Analytics offers Basic, Standard, Premium, and Enterprise plans ranging from $24–$455 a month.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Zoho Analytics
Zoho Analytics visualization

6. Datawrapper

Datawrapper is an easy-to-use tool perfect for creating charts, tables, and maps for websites. Initially, Datawrapper developers built the tool for news websites, but many organizations now use it.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

Pricing

Datawrapper offers a free plan, a custom plan for $5,990 a year, and enterprise plans.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Datawrapper
Datawrapper visualization.

7. Qlik Sense

Qlik Sense is a data visualization tool designed for large businesses and people who want to use augmented analytics to analyze data. Qlik Sense is the successor to “QlikView” — a similar (but smaller) visual analytics tool.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

Pricing

Qlik Sense offers Qlik Sense Business for $30 per user per month and enterprise plans.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Qlik Sense
Qlik Sense visualization.

8. FusionCharts

FusionCharts is a popular Google Charts alternative. FusionCharts allows you to create visualizations to embed into web pages. Over 28,000 businesses worldwide currently use it — including tech giants like Google, Apple, and IBM.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

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Pricing

FusionCharts offers the Basic package from $499 annually, the Pro package from $1,299 annually, and the Enterprise package from $2,499 annually.

What It Looks Like In Practice

This image shows what a visualization created with FusionCharts looks like.

A sample visualization in FusionCharts
FusionCharts visualization.

9. Domo

Domo is a BI tool geared toward businesses with complicated or large datasets. Organizations like eBay, ESPN, Cisco, and Emerson all use Domo.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

Pricing

Domo’s pricing is organization-specific — so you’ll need to contact the sales department for a quote.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Domo
Domo visualization.

10. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tried-and-true BI tool that’s perfect for small, medium, and large businesses looking to analyze their website activity. Google Analytics can track critical figures like bounce rate, average session duration, and pages per session.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

Pricing

Google Analytics is currently free. However, Google also offers Google Analytics 360, which is organization-specific.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Google Analytics
Google Analytics visualization.

11. Visme

Visme is an intuitive program that can create data visualizations and infographics. Visme is perfect for anyone looking to make simple charts with sleek and aesthetically pleasing designs.

Top Features

Pros

Cons

Pricing

Visme offers the Basic plan for free, the Personal plan for $15 a month, the Business plan for $29 per user per month, and enterprise plans. Visme also offers discounts for students, teachers, and non-profit organizations.

What It Looks Like In Practice

A sample visualization in Visme
Visme visualization.

Decision-Making: What to Look For When Choosing a Tool

While we covered 11 potential data visualization tools you could use in the previous section, everyone’s ideal tool will look different. So how do you choose the right one for you?

When selecting a data visualization solution for your business, check:

How Well It Meets Your Needs

As every business uses different data, you need to check if the tool meets your needs specifically. To do this, ask yourself:

Pricing

Price is a huge factor to consider when investing in new software. Before you click “sign up,” ask yourself:

Future-Compatibility

While the tool may meet your business needs today, will it still be helpful to you one year from now? As many tools use subscription-based pricing, you may lock yourself into a contract you’ll regret if you sign up for a tool that doesn’t scale with your business.

To assess the future compatibility of your tool, ask yourself:

Data Before Visualization: Tips for Maximizing Your Data

Ultimately, your data visualization tool is just that — a tool. If the reliability and validity of your data are low, your visualizations won’t turn out well (no matter what tool you use).

So how do you ensure your data is high-quality? We recommend you:

Break down the data with these handy visualization tools 💪📊Click to Tweet

Summary

Data visualization tools are a game-changer, as they help you create high-quality visualizations quickly. Creating data visualizations has many advantages, as they allow you to:

While your perfect tool will depend on your price and needs, we believe the top tools include Power BI, Tableau, and Google Charts.


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