Learning to work with data might be complex, but it doesn’t have to be costly. While there are paid tools and services that offer full functionality and might meet the needs of power users or businesses, there are many robust free and open source solutions out there to try.
Here are a handful of free tools and software with which you can make visually stunning charts, graphs, timelines, and dashboards.
Tableau offers robust tools for data storytellers, and this version is free, just note that everything you create is publicly visible. “Easily create stunning interactive graphs, maps, and live dashboards in minutes on our free platform. No coding required. Connect to data in a variety of formats like Excel, CSV, and Google Sheets.” Explore and share with a global community of creators.
Working with data can be tedious without a tool like OpenRefine, “a powerful tool for working with messy data: cleaning it; transforming it from one format into another; and extending it with web services and external data”
Create charts, maps and tables with Datawrapper, no coding required. Datawrapper focuses on mobile-responsiveness and ease of use to get more people visualizing.
Chartbuilder generates polished, static charts, and using the tool is straightforward once you get it running.
Test and develop color schemes for visualizations with ColorBrewer, choosing by nature of your data, number of data classes, and filtering for color-blind-safe or print-friendly.
TimelineJS is a tool from Knight Lab for creating interactive timelines. View tips for creating and some examples to inspire you.
Want to learn how to effectively use data for storytelling purposes? Sign up for our new Online Data Visualization course starting on November 16th.
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