Data is a powerful tool. It enables companies to recognize trends, conduct analysis, make informed decisions, and set realistic goals. And yet a business can have all the data it needs to succeed and fail if no one knows how to understand or leverage it.

Data sets may seem like a foreign language to many in an organization outside of the analysis team. This is where data visualization comes in. With data visualization, professionals can take raw data and turn it into something easy to interpret.

Below is an overview of what data visualization is and why it matters, along with a list of some of the best data visualization tools available to professionals.


Data visualization is the process of creating a visual representation of information in a data set.

While there are hundreds of ways to visualize data, some of the more common data visualization techniques include:

  • Pie charts
  • Bar graphic
  • Histograms
  • gantt charts
  • Heat maps
  • Mustache plots
  • Waterfall charts
  • Area charts
  • Point clouds
  • Infographics
  • Plans


Visual representation of data often provides information and lessons from it. As such, data visualization is an effective way to make data more accessible within an organization. This, in turn, can allow employees to support their actions by using concrete information rather than relying on assumptions, resulting in more data-driven organizational processes.

Data visualization can also play an important role in communicating with parties outside the business, such as the media, investors, regulators, and other stakeholders.

Data visualization has become so important to modern businesses that many organizations now specifically hire people who are proficient in it, among other data science skills.


A data visualization tool is a form of software designed to visualize data. The capabilities of each tool vary, but they basically allow you to enter a dataset and manipulate it visually. Most, but not all, come with built-in templates that you can use to generate basic visualizations.


1. Microsoft Excel (and Power BI)

In the strictest sense, Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet, not a data visualization tool. Still, it has useful data visualization capabilities. Since Microsoft products are widely used at the enterprise level, you may already have access to them.

According to Microsoft’s documentation, you can use Excel to design at least 20 types of charts using data in spreadsheets. These include common options like bar charts, pie charts, and scatter charts, as well as more advanced options like radar charts, histograms, and tree charts.

There are limits to what you can create in Excel. If your organization is looking for a more powerful data visualization tool but wants to stay in the Microsoft ecosystem, Power BI is a great alternative. Developed specifically as a data visualization and analysis tool, Power BI can import data from various sources and display visualizations in various formats.

2. Google Charts

For professionals interested in creating interactive data visualizations for living on the internet, Google Charts is a popular free option.

The tool can pull data from a variety of sources including Salesforce, SQL databases, and Google Sheets, and uses HTML5 / SVG technology to generate charts, making them incredibly accessible. It offers 18 types of charts, including bar charts, pie charts, column charts, geographic charts, and area charts.

Members of the Google community occasionally generate new graphics and share them with other users, which are arranged in a gallery on the Google website. These graphics tend to be more advanced, but may not be HTML5 compatible.

3. Tableau

Tableau is one of the most popular data visualization tools on the market for two main reasons: it’s relatively easy to use and incredibly powerful. The software can integrate with hundreds of sources to import data and generate dozens of visualization types, from charts to maps, and more. Tableau, owned by Salesforce, has millions of users and community members, and is widely used at the enterprise level.

Tableau offers several products, including desktop, server, and web-hosted versions of its analytics platform, as well as customer relationship management (CRM) software.

A free option, called Tableau Public, is also available. However, it is important to note that any visualization created in the free version is accessible to everyone. This makes it a good option for learning the basics of the software, but it’s not ideal for private or confidential data.

4. Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics is a data visualization tool designed specifically for professionals looking to visualize business intelligence. As such, it is most often used to display sales, marketing, profit, revenue, cost, and pipeline information with easy to use dashboards. More than 500,000 companies and two million users currently benefit from the software.

Zoho Analytics offers several paid options, depending on your needs. There’s also a free version that lets you create a limited number of reports, which can be useful if you’re testing the waters to determine the best tool for your business.

There are many other tools that work similarly to Zoho Analytics and are designed for sales and marketing professionals. HubSpot and Databox are two examples, both of which include powerful data visualization capabilities.

5. Datawrapper

Datawrapper is a tool that, like Google Charts, is used to generate charts, maps, and other graphics for use online. The tool’s initial target audience was journalists, but any professional responsible for running a website can find value in it.

While Datawrapper is easy to use, it is somewhat limited, especially compared to the others on this list. One of the main limitations is that it does not integrate with data sources. Instead, you have to manually copy and paste the data into the tool, which can be time consuming and lead to errors if you are not careful.

Some common outputs include scatter charts, line charts, stacked bar charts, pie charts, graphs.Both free and paid options are available, depending on how you plan to use the tool.

6. Infogram

Infogram is another popular option that can be used to generate charts, reports, and maps.

What sets Infogram apart from the other tools on this list is that you can use it to create infographics (where the name comes from), which makes it especially popular with creative professionals. In addition, the tool includes a drag and drop editor, which can be useful for beginners.

Visualizations can be saved as GIF and image files for integration into reports and documents, or as HTML for online use. Like most of the other tools on this list, Infogram offers tiered pricing, ranging from a free version to an enterprise version.

7. Qlikview

Qlik with its Qlikview tool is the other major player in this space and Tableau’s biggest competitor. The provider has more than 40,000 customer accounts in more than 100 countries, and those who use it frequently cite its highly customizable settings and wide range of features as a key benefit. However, this may mean that it takes more time to get used to and use it to its full potential. In addition to its data visualization capabilities, Qlikview offers powerful corporate intelligence, analytics and reporting capabilities and I particularly like the clean and uncluttered user interface. Qlikview is commonly used with its sister package, Qliksense, which handles data mining and discovery. There is also a strong community and there are many third-party resources available online to help new users understand how to incorporate them into their projects.

8. Sisense

Sisense provides a comprehensive analytics platform, but its visualization capabilities provide an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface that enables more complex charts and graphs, as well as interactive visualizations, with minimal effort. It brings together multiple data sources in one easily accessible repository where it can be instantly queried through dashboards, even on large data sets. Dashboards can be shared between organizations, ensuring that even unsuspecting staff can find the answers they need to their problems.


Data visualization is an effective way to communicate with your data, and there are several tools you can use to create attractive charts.

It’s important to note that visualizations are as good as the data you use to create them. When the data is incorrect or defective, it can lead to misleading views or, even worse, misleading information. This, in turn, can have serious business and legal implications.

This is why you need to gain a basic understanding of data science if you are interested in data visualization. This can help you identify bad or defective data and avoid the negative consequences of poor data visualization. An online analytics course, completed in as little as four weeks, can help build this knowledge.

Is Tableau the best visualization tool?

Tableau. Tableau is one of the most popular data visualization tools on the market for two main reasons: It’s relatively easy to use and incredibly powerful. The software can integrate with hundreds of sources to import data and output dozens of visualization types—from charts to maps and more.

What is the most popular form of data visualization?

Column Chart. This is one of the most common types of data visualization tools.

What is not a tool used for visualization?

The answer is Eclipse. Eclipse is a java script tool which used to change the environment of the document but not used for data visualization. The remaining options are data visualization tools. However, excel and Tableau are widely used data visualization tools.

What are the tools of data presentation?

Data tools include standard charts and graphs, such as a bar chart, block histogram, bubble chart, scatterplot, pie chart, line graph, and so on. Users can also choose to display data as networks of related words and ideas, such as a word tree, tag cloud, or word cloud.

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