10 best big data visualization tools

Image: Data visualization tools - graphs and charts printed on a paper

The visualization of data is a technique for understanding and make sense of it. The most common way of visualizing data is by using lines, pie or bar graph charts. For years these tools are helping scientists and planners to recognize patterns, trends and make better decisions.

Differently from observing raw numbers (which is boring sometimes), graphs accelerate our understanding of patterns and accelerate our predictions and decision-making process, which is important in these days that huge amounts of data are generated every second.

There are many data visualization tools - including your ms office word or ms office excel. But if you’re considering a career in data science, you’ve got to choose the right tools to analyze your data. The right tools will help you be more efficient and take fast and right decisions with the data you collect from your devices, apps or software.

Keep in mind that the choice of the right tool for your project will depend on your (company) goals, your customer base and the type of data you collect.

With so many options available, we compiled this list of visualization tools to help you make the best choice. Start by using one that brings you the most benefits, while also remembering that you can, whenever necessary and circumstances demand, change one tool for another and also customize the features of each tool to attend the needs of your project.

Microsoft Power BI

Image: MicroSoft Power BI logo

Microsoft’s free data visualization tool, helps you analyze, aggregate and share beautiful charts. The biggest advantage of using power BI is that you don’t have to be an expert to use and understand it.

With real-time analytics, you can have updates about your sensors, apps, or social media and make decisions in seconds.

Power BI offers you an intuitive and beautiful interface and the best experience you can have visualizing data. You can easily drag, copy, paste and change pretty much all elements you see on the board, including the template.

The cloud system behind the app allows you to have instant access to the changes made by other users if you’re working on a collaborative project.

Tableau

Image: Tableau logo

This is perhaps the most popular visualization tool. It generates outputs very fast and can be integrated with many applications to unify data from multiple sources and simplify your jobs.

Tableau is the best option to process big data tasks and you can customize the data system you want to work with; organize, analyze and visualize the outputs in any device.

Although you can use tableau for free, we recommend you to get the paid version, to have the best-looking graphs, charts, and maps.

Sisense

Image: Sisense logo

Sisense is a business intelligence tool that provides data-driven solutions to businesses. This tool allows you to instantly collect large amounts of data from different sources, analyze them without advanced knowledge in data analysis and predict their impacts.

You can integrate Sisense products with each other or integrate with other platforms such as Tableau, Power BI and Domo. You can also use connectors to improve your productivity and outputs.

Sisense dashboards can be exported and visualized in many different formats such as Excel, CSV, PDF, PowerPoints, etc.

Zoho analytics

Image: Zoho analytics logo

Zoho Analytics is a tool that lets you create data visualizations and dashboards that provide business insights to companies of all sizes.

By using this tool, you can track your business metrics, trends and other KPI’s using data from different sources.

You can add data to Zoho using spreadsheets and CSV, HTML, JSON, and XML files or also collecting data from cloud-storage services. Using connectors, you can collect insights from popular applications in sales, marketing, finance, HR and other fields.

You can share your reports with colleagues and clients – and Zoho secure infra-structure lets you choose who can access specific reports and data.

Qlik products (QlikView and Qlik Sense)

Image: Qlik Logo

Qlik is a powerful data visualization tool that converts raw data into insights presented in various forms, on a simple and easy to use interface. We can use Qlik products to develop data models, analytical applications, dashboards and create analytical reports.

If you’re working on a big project, you can use the search function to easily navigate through the templates and to access data. You can also edit, organize, redecorate and share dashboards with various collaborators, on different devices.

QlikView is a cheap, entry-level data visualization tool – yet powerful. If you want advanced features such as work on augmented intelligence, fast natural language processing, build modern applications based on open APIs and applications that run offline, then you should consider paying a little bit more for the Qlik Sense.

Domo

Image: Domo logo

Domo is a tool that helps you accelerate important business-related processes on a big scale. With Domo, you can build interactive dashboards using data collected from multiple sources such as AWS, SQL databases, Box, and more than 1000 connectors (sources) available.

You can quickly visualize data in real-time as it grows and changes, and create layouts with specific colors, images, explanatory text or other ways of sorting your information.

This tool automatically checks for data correlations and summaries and sends you alerts every time your data deviates from the KPIs you defined.

Leaflet

Image: Leaflet logo

Leaflet is an open-source library written in JavaScript that allows you to build lightweight maps aimed to run specifically on mobile devices (although they can be also visualized on desktops).

This tool runs on any browser and you can change the style of any map using HTML and CSS.

Although there are many third-party plugins to easily add animations and other changes to your map, you should know JavaScript to incorporate this library into your framework.

Plotly

Image: Plotly logo

Plotly is an open-source, web-based data visualization tool that helps you make good looking graphs and charts. This is a tool built using python, Django and JavaScript and is mainly used to analyze data from web applications.

Some key advantages of using Plotly are the ability to use drag and drop functionalities; draw 2D and 3D figures without the need of writing code, and use default themes and templates to build charts or develop your own styles.

If you are not a developer or don’t want to waste time coding, this is the best option. You can also try the next tools.

Datawrapper

Image: Datawrapper logo

This is an online tool for building interactive charts, tables and maps fast. It demands no code or design skills and can be used by professionals that don’t have strong inclinations to coding, such as journalists, news companies or activists.

This tool uses data from XLS and CSV files, Google sheets, external links or data pasted directly onto the browser to automatically generate bars and other graphics.

Datawrapper can run on any device and operative system.

Highcharts

Image: Highcharts logo

At last, we have Highcharts.

This is a library written in JavaScript that allows you to create charts and maps for your website or web apps. Charts can be exported and visualized in different formats, such as PDF, PNG, SVG, and JPG.

On their website, you can find many templates and pre-built models to create your charts. Or you can also build your custom templates to fit your project needs.

Highcharts is free for non-commercial or personal endeavors but paid when used for commercial purposes.

Final notes

The market has many other alternative tools for data visualization, paid or free. Our purpose with this list is not exactly to show you the best ones, but where to start from. Whenever necessary you might need to change from one to another. One that might not even be mentioned in this list. That’s ok! As long as you choose one that meets the needs of your project.

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