It’s estimated that each person creates 1.7 megabytes of new data every second. This leads to approximately 44 trillion gigabytes of data that can accumulate worldwide in a given year. Data analytics strives to analyze as much of this data as possible in order to spot customer trends, provide more effective services and better products, and ultimately help businesses make better decisions.
Data visualization provides an effective method for ensuring that members of an organization are able to access data and understand it. Data that are presented in visually engaging storylines can then be used to draw insights and inspire actions with the support of concrete information. These visualizations aren’t just useful within a particular organization; they also inform communications with external parties, such as investors, the media, or other stakeholders.
Many tools are available to aid with the data-driven decision process, as well as to create data visualizations. Selecting the best tool can present challenges, so it’s important for Data Analysts and Data Scientists to consider a variety of factors when doing so.
What Are Data Visualization Tools?
The human mind is largely visual. According to MIT, 90% of the information that is sent to the brain is visual, and it takes only 13 milliseconds for a given image to be processed. Several tools are available that help with the process of presenting information to the brain.
Data visualization tools are types of software that are designed to help users input a dataset, visually manipulate it, and create basic visualizations. Although the capabilities of these tools vary, most include built-in templates that can be used to generate visualizations. By using these various tools, businesses and companies can clearly and effectively present data and make informed decisions based on this information.
What Makes a Good Data Visualization Tool?
With dozens of data visualization tools currently available, how can users distinguish the best ones from the less effective options? Some features to be aware of when deciding between data visualization tools are:
- Ease of use
- Ability to handle large datasets
- Capability to output different sorts of visual representations, such as charts, maps, and interactive graphs
While each organization or business has its own criteria for selecting software or tools, the following are some of the most popular data visualization tools for 2021.
Although it may seem like an obvious choice to begin the list with Microsoft Excel, most everyone who works with data relies on Excel to successfully do their job. As part of the Microsoft Suite, Excel has many useful applications. Its spreadsheet function allows users to make calculations, work with graphic tools, and design PivotTables. Its ease of use and simple interface make Excel the industry standard for spreadsheets.
Excel’s most common uses are:
- Data management
- Data entry
- Time management
- Financial analysis
There are currently more than 750 million Excel users around the world, making it the most relied-upon tool for analyzing data and presenting it.
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI is a suite of business analytics services that was designed to help users create data visualizations that can be shared within their organizations or on websites. This family of business intelligence (BI), data visualization, and reporting products is relied on by individuals or entire teams to extract meaningful information from raw data.
There are many benefits to using Power BI, such as:
- Ease of transitioning from Excel
- Straightforward interface
- Powerful AI capacities and image recognition
- Real-time dashboard updates
- Hybrid configuration
- Natural language query
- Built-in machine learning features
- Powerful visualization templates
There are currently three versions of Microsoft Power BI: Power BI Desktop, Power BI Pro, and Power BI Premium:
- Power BI Desktop: A free service that can be installed onto a computer or local system. It allows users to access the basic Power BI features as well as connect to 70-plus data sources.
- Power BI Pro: The full version of Power BI. It can create and share data, reports, and dashboards with others who have a Power BI Pro license.
- Power BI Premium: Provides capacity-based service. Organizations can purchase a Premium Workspace that can be accessed by multiple users. Is able to host datasets up to 50GB, as well as 100 TB in the cloud. Three Premium capacity sizes are available, with different memory sizes.
Python isn’t just one of the most used programming languages among developers in 2021, it’s also the quickest developing programming language in use today.
Python is a high-level, object-oriented programming language. Its straightforward syntax lends itself to readability. Because its basis is English syntax, Python is considered to be one of the easiest coding languages to learn. This multipurpose programming language is applicable to almost any situation that uses data, lines of code, or mathematical computations. It allows users to perform advanced data manipulations as well as numerical analysis by using data frames.
Python can be used for small tasks, such as powering a Reddit moderator bot, as well as more complex tasks, like working with huge amounts of hedge fund financial data. Because this software is free and open-source, it has a vast community of users around the world.
Tableau (and Tableau Public)
Tableau is one of the leading tools for data visualization. Its ease of use and power make this software one of the best options for those working with data. Tableau enables even non-technical users to design customized dashboards and worksheets that present data in a clear and understandable manner.
Tableau is able to integrate with hundreds of sources in order to input data. In addition, it can output dozens of visualization types. This software incorporates intuitive drag-and-drop products that simplify data analysis. It allows users to combine multiple views of data to offer deeper insights. In addition, its dashboards can be published and shared live online with just a few clicks.
Of its many popular features, Tableau is most commonly used for:
- Real-time analysis
- Data collaboration
- Data blending
Tableau Public is the world’s largest data visualization repository. More than two million vizzes, or data visualizations, are hosted in Tableau Public, which amounts to more than 2.3 billion views. This free version of Tableau allows users to save their visualizations to Tableau’s public cloud, where they can be accessed by anyone. Since the workbooks created in Tableau Public cannot be saved locally, this platform is geared toward those who wish to share their data.
Infogram optimizes a drag-and-drop visualization tool that enables users who don’t have any prior experience with document design to make creative and compelling visualizations. After visualizations are finalized, they can be easily exported into a variety of formats, like PDFs or JPGs. In addition, users who wish to embed interactive visualizations into apps or websites can do so using Infogram.
This tool also offers tiered pricing options, in addition to a free plan that comes with basic features.
Chartio is a business analytics tool that has provided product teams, Data Analysts, and business teams the essential organization tools to explore data and represent it visually. This cloud-based data discovery platform has been used for more than a decade and has helped users create 10.5 million charts on 540K dashboards.
Chartio has a restrictive, visual adaptation of SQL that provides users with a simple interface that helps them explore, manipulate, and visualize data. This tool offers many pre-assembled connections to data sources such as Google BigQuery, Snowflake, and Amazon Redshift to streamline data exploration. Chartio users subscribe to services on a monthly basis. Subscriptions include both phone and email support.
In the upcoming year, Chartio will partner with Atlassian’s platform to allow for many more data visualization capabilities.
Several different types of charts can be made using Google Charts, including:
- Area charts
- Pie charts
Each of these charts can be completely customized by using basic CSS editing.
It is recommended that those working with Google Charts have experience with HTML programming.
Zoho Analytics is a self-service data analytics and BI tool that allows users to work with data from many sources. Those working with Zoho can blend data and also design cross-functional dashboards and reports.
Zoho has several practical features that enhance usability. It has a drag-and-drop designer, as well as Zia, a “smart” assistant who is on call to field questions. Its powerful data import and integration APIs allow users to quickly create connectors, as well as access data from both online and offline apps for analysis.
Zoho users are able to connect to many relational databases that are hosted on the cloud or in-house, as well as NoSQL databases. This platform also alerts users when anomalies or outliers are present. Those working with Zoho Analytics can easily create and share engaging reports in just minutes without relying on IT support.
Datawrapper was developed for the purpose of incorporating maps and charts into existing news stories that are displayed on websites. After the data is imported, which often entails copying and pasting directly into the tool, users can create charts with just one click.
Datawrapper can be used to create many different visual representations of data, such as:
- Scatter plots
- Locator maps
- Election donuts
- Area charts
- Line, column, and bar charts
This software does not require any knowledge of coding or design. In addition to its paid monthly plans, Datawrapper offers a free plan, which is a great option for those who wish to embed graphics on smaller sites or those that have limited traffic.
Many international news platforms, such as Fortune, The New York Times, and Mother Jones, use Datawrapper to visually display information within news articles.
Hands-On Data Visualization Classes
Are you interested in learning how to create compelling and engaging data visualizations? Noble Desktop’s Tableau classes are offered in-person in Manhattan, as well as in the live online setting. Noble also offers a Power BI Bootcamp, a six-hour class for those who want to master the art of creating dynamic data visualizations that can be used in business or intelligence reports.
Noble Desktop’s Data Analytics classes provide hands-on training for learners who wish to improve their skills in handling big data. These courses cover topics like Python, SQL, Excel, and data science. For students who are most comfortable learning in the virtual format, other providers also offer live online Data Visualization courses. These online classes prepare participants to process, organize, visualize, and present data in a professional setting.
If you want to find a data visualization class in your area, check out Noble’s Classes Near Me tool. This tool provides an easy way to locate and browse more than 200 data visualization classes currently offered in in-person and live online formats.