Data visualization tools help you take raw data and present it in a wide variety of visual formats. Presenting data visually brings out patterns that are otherwise hard to find. Visualization tools also bring the added benefit of allowing users to interact with the data, drill down from a high-level into the details, and play what-if scenarios.
The large number of data visualization software on the market can seem overwhelming when you’re on the hunt. We’ve gathered 25 visualization tools you should look at this year in order to make your search easier.
1. Tableau Software
Tableau is a data analysis tool that has been designed to cater to all levels of data analysts: newbies, executives, and IT specialists.
It boasts a specially designed, drag-and-drop user interface that intuitively follows your thought process in creating visualizations. Tableau also offers a quick response data-analysis regardless of the input data volume. However, the downside of these features is a steep learning curve and less-than-ideal data integration.
Tableau offers multiple editions catering to mobile, desktop and cloud users. All versions offer a free limited trial.
Looker is making rounds in the industry for its intuitive user interface and minimal learning curve. Based on the web and adaptable to a wide range of platforms, it focuses on providing ease of deployment and collaboration.
Looker operates on live data thus bypassing the need for an ETL and cubing platforms. It presents data via customizable dashboards and charts that can be drilled into for better understanding. The visualizations can be embedded into websites and exported to a range of different formats.
Looker is a commercial software with an unrestricted free trial version.
3. MicroStrategy Analytics
MicroStrategy Analytics offers both data visualization and business intelligence. It has a rich set of visualization charts that provide for a vibrant graphical experience. The dashboards offered can be linked up to multiple applications, allowing you to interactively sift and correlate information from disparate sources.
MicroStrategy Analytics offers a 30-day free trial for both desktop and enterprise editions. They also have a detailed demo available as well.
Qlik is a data visualization software that packs all the common analytical tools into an easy-to-use package.
It comes in three versions: personal, enterprise and cloud. Qlik personal is free and offers a handy set of guided analytics to make getting started easy. The enterprise and cloud versions are commercial and provide added features such as accessibility over multiple platforms, web-embeddable analytics, and custom apps.
Qlik is used by the likes of Cisco and Hertz for its intuitive user-interface.
Splunk has perhaps the biggest collection of apps and add-ons for its data analysis solution at 800 and counting.
Along with its rich dashboards and data visualization options, Splunk offers a vibrant community of support staff and app developers to help with deployments or specific data analysis customization.
Splunk offers a range of different solutions including personal, cloud, enterprise and Hunk (Hadoop on NoSQL). These solutions have been deployed in a wide array of industries and you can see them in action through a comprehensive collection of videos.
Splunk offers free trials and the option to downgrade to a free license after 60 days.
6. Entrinsik Informer
Informer is a web-based data analysis tool popular for its intuitive user interface and minimal learning curve. Its data visualization options cover all the common chart types and provide the added functionality of simulating different data scenarios. Sample dashboards can be viewed here to get an idea of the graphics available.
Informer supports a wide range of data formats including JSON and XML. Its direct-to-data setup bypasses the need for data warehousing as data is streamed live from its sources. Data analysis can be exported to standard (as well as custom) formats such as certificates, account statements and more. The product tour shows these features in action.
Informer is mainly used for commercial and government applications with wide deployment in educational institutes and comes with a 30-day free trial.
Board is an enterprise-level data analysis tool. While it offers all the common visualization tools and techniques, its ease-of-use and great customer service are the main selling points.
Board can be deployed over multiple platforms including desktops, tablets and smartphones, however, its support on mobile has only started to improve in later versions. You should avoid feeding it null values since it does not handle them well and can result in the slightly ambiguous analysis.
Board does not offer a free trial version. However, you can request a free demo to see the tool in action.
Dundas is an online data analysis tool that provides data visualization and business intelligence (BI). It can collect real-time data from any device and generate a series of dashboards, reports and other related visual analytics. Some sample dashboards are available here.
Dundas integrates equally well on desktop and mobile platforms, but its responsive design and touch-based interface make it more convenient on mobile.
Dundas is a commercial-grade tool deployed by large companies and comes with a 45-day free trial version.
SISENSE is arguably one of the most popular data visualization tools in the market. It stands out for its rich visualizations, easy data preparation, fast analysis, data collection from multiple sources, and instant deployment.
The customer base of SISENSE ranges from executives to software developers. Not only does it allow for visualizations to be embedded in web pages, it also provide an extensive SDK and API for integration with existing software frameworks.
Before purchasing a package, SISENSE gives the option of test-driving it on your target data for verifying the rapid implementation and ease of use.
Alteryx is another commercial-grade data analytic tool with a wide customer base. Used and deployed by the likes of Verizon, this tool sets itself apart with a scalable platform allowing analytics to be shared across multiple teams.
Another feature provided by the tool is the ability to design analysis steps. This, coupled with a rich visualization gallery provides for an intuitive and detailed data analysis. Alteryx can also be integrated with other software frameworks to create customized data analysis applications. For a glimpse of the tool in action, visit the live demo.
Alteryx can be more expensive than some of the other solutions, but you try it yourself with the fully functional trial.
This is a tool for developers. The visualizations do not come pre-shipped, they are coded by you after learning the framework. The effort can be worth it when you’re paid off with visualizations that are simply amazing.
D3.js is free, open-source software is and compatible with modern browsers.
DataHero is potentially one of the few data-analysis tools designed with the goal of servicing you regardless of your skill level. Its intuitive, drag-and-drop interface provides for a gentle learning curve and leads to immediate results.
DataHero’s collection of charts and analysis tools are on par with competing solutions. All common data formats are supported and data analysis can be exported in PNG, JPEG, PDF, and SVG formats. The tool can be seen in action here.
DataHero can be operated across mobile and desktop platforms. While it is a commercial software, it does offer a free version with restricted functionality.
DataWatch is a browser-based tool that offers data preparation, analysis and visualization capabilities. It has the ability to access live, streaming data to provide real-time analysis.
DataWatch can process data from a wide variety of sources including databases, invoices, HTML files and data warehouses. Its visualization options include a series of customizable, graphics-rich dashboards and charts.
DataWatch is a commercial software with a free 30-day trial version supporting full functionality.
The first thing that strikes you about FusionCharts is its extensive visualization support: 1000+ maps and over 90 charts. Add to this 800+ live examples and you end up having an awesome plug-and-play data visualization tool.
While the data input and export formats are in line with other solutions, backward browser compatibility and a catchy collection of business dashboards give FusionCharts an edge over its competition.
FusionCharts is commercial software and comes with a restriction-free trial version.
GoodData packs all the common features of data visualization into a reliable data tool. These features include real-time data streaming, intuitive drag-and-drop interface, cloud deployment and a guided user experience.
GoodData also provides an SDK, allowing for its integration into existing frameworks. While the API could be easier to use, it lets you customize visualizations and analytics to your specific requirements.
GoodData is a commercial software and ranked among the more pricier solutions in the market.
16. Google Charts
Google Charts is a web-based data analysis solution offered by Google. Data visualizations can be setup easily and embedded into web pages or other media. The collection of charts offers all the common variety usually needed for analysis.
Visualizations are based on HTML5 and SVG and are backward compatible. The platforms supports both desktop and mobile viewing.
Google Charts is free and is the tool to use if you’re looking for a user-friendly and customizable data analysis tool.
Highcharts offers four different types of data visualizations: interactive charts, timeline charts, interactive maps and online web-embeddable charts. These visualizations are based on HTML5 and are backward compatible to IE6.
Export options for data analytics include the usual PDF, JPEG, SVG and PNG formats. Integration into other software frameworks is made possible via user-friendly APIs.
Given its rich variety of visualization and ease-of-use, you would expect it to be a costly package, but Highcharts is actually free for non-commercial purposes.
Jreport is a commercial software, offering data analysis and visualization through a range of features including dashboards, data discovery and business intelligence. Its niche is in embedded reporting where it is widely used for integration into existing software frameworks and web reports.
Jreport supports data from both OLAP and Big data sources. It also ensures compatibility across mobile and desktop platforms alike.
Jreport comes with a free restricted trial and demo. Both, however, need to be arranged on request.
19. SAP Crystal Reports
Crystal Reports is a data visualization tool allowing companies to present their data in a wide range of interactive visualizations and reports.
Specifically designed for small companies, Crystal Reports comes in two versions: desktop and cloud. Crystal Reports can read data from databases and export analysis via PDF, JPEG, reports and embedded web links. Its cloud version offers collaboration features to share analysis across multiple team members.
While it caters well to its existing customer base, Crystal Reports could do with some upgrades to its charts and graphs.
20. TIBCO Spotfire
Spotfire is popular for its effective business intelligence, ease-of-use and efficient deployment. Offered in personal, cloud and enterprise editions, Spotfire caters to all segments of the data-analysis market.
Regardless of your skill, a comprehensive set of guides make it easy to get started with the dashboards and analytics. Spotfire’s data visualizations are interactive and graphically rich. They are built on data taken from real-time sources, cloud and structured/unstructured databases.
Spotfire is offered across mobile and desktop platforms. While all its solutions are commercial, they come with a limited free trial.
Chartio is perhaps most popular for its ability to access from a wide range of data sources. It helps you discover relationships in the underlying data and display them through a series of dashboards and visualization graphics.
Another Chartio feature is its collaboration of visualizations among different teams. By offering the same interactivity to all team members, users at every level can begin to gain insight.
Chartio comes in commercial versions for the web and cloud.
22. SALESFORCE ANALYTICS CLOUD
Salesforce Analytics is visualization software developed for the mobile user. Its cloud-based solution offers quick deployment and high data security.
The visualization features are rich and accessible across a range of platforms. Interactivity, mobile use, and collaboration among multiple users creates a data analysis platform capable of providing insights into your data.
Salesforce Analytics comes in an annually billed app and platform version.
Glimpse is a data-analysis tool designed with the healthcare industry in mind. In addition to the usual array of data visualization and sourcing features, it allows for performance benchmarking, medical billing, and identification of business growth opportunities in the healthcare sector.
Glimpse is a Windows-based platform that comes only in commercial versions.
Pentaho is a data-analysis tool that offers data integration, visualization, big data, and embedded analytics.
Data can be fed in from NoSQL, Hadoop, live-streaming, data partners and ETL platforms. Data visualization comes in the form of graphics-rich, customizable charts and dashboards that make it possible to gain quick insights from your data. To get an idea of the versatility of these visualizations, visit the samples here.
Pentaho provides a demo and free trial to get you started.
Exago is a web-based data analysis tool that offers business intelligence and data visualization features.
It sets itself apart by giving you complete control over the entire reporting cycle, leaving very little outside of your control.
The tool can perform data sourcing on SQL, PostgreSQL, DB2, Informix and MySQL. Data visualization options include elaborate dashboards, charts and customizable layered graphics. The product can be seen in action here.
Exago is a commercial software that comes with a limited free trial version.
If we missed your favorite data visualization tool, please mention it in the comments and we’ll gladly add it to the list.