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Best Data Visualization Tools

10 Best Data Visualization Tools

Tom Gerencer
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From data scientists to data rookies, pulling insights from ever-larger datasets to share with execs is an increasingly valuable skill. Data visualization tames the numbers and lets you unearth trends to drive informed decisions.
But business intelligence (BI) tools are very personal choices. What’s perfect for one user may be a frustrating struggle for another.
The 10 data visualization software solutions in the list below bring massive datasets down to eye level. These apps let you go beyond spreadsheets and build pleasing visualizations to present to managers and co-workers.
Our list of the best data visualization tools offers the perfect software options to drive BI and share insights with C-suite execs.

1. Tableau

Tableau is the go-to BI solution, and the reason why is simple. The ease of use here is just plain astounding. You can use it on the fly when an exec asks a tricky question, and presto, there’s your instant insight.
This app can pull from multiple data sources like spreadsheets, Salesforce, other cloud apps, and databases. Its visual analytics features let you quickly generate powerful maps and graphs to put the story in your data.
If you’re a data scientist or analyst with some level of data structure or reporting knowledge, Tableau is easy to learn. If you’re a bit less skilled and more of a layperson, Tableau Public is free and may be more your speed. Full Tableau plans start at $70 per user per month.
Pro tip: When you buy an HP ZBook, you get more than a dozen pre-configured open-source data science tools, including Tensorflow, Visual Studio Code, and NVIDIA® CUDA, in the Z by HP Data Science Software pre-load.

2. Microsoft Power BI

For hassle-free visual analytics, Microsoft Power BI lets you process data, model, create visualizations, and share them via the Power BI web service. The data modeling here is outstanding and very accessible if you’re not comfortable programming in R.
MS Power BI is one of the best data visualization tools for team members who aren’t highly skilled programmers but still want to create insightful visualizations. This self-service app integrates exceptionally with the rest of your systems and security.
The app offers some of the best visualizations on the market, with plenty of template and customizability options. That flexibility keeps things fresh, so your audience doesn’t feel like you’re just hocking the same message repeatedly. Plans start at $10 per user per month.

3. Lucidcharts

It may not be as popular as Tableau and not as integrated with modern business as MS Power BI, but Lucidcharts is a favorite data viz app with 30 million users in most Fortune 500 companies. Most data scientists either love it or like it.
Lucidcharts is a solid SaaS-based platform packed with features like easy style shapes, hundreds of templates, keyboard shortcuts, UML sequence diagrams from text markups, AWS infrastructure imports, and automatic flowcharts and diagrams.
One of the best benefits of Lucidcharts is its collaboration feature. Teams can use it to create and share work diagrams from ready-made templates like workflows, org charts, brainstorming, and network diagrams. The price is also appealing, with a free forever plan or $9 per user per month for larger teams.

4. Qlik

Qlik (formerly Qlikview and Qliksense) is a mature data visualization software tool with more than 10 years of heavy use streamlining its features. It exports pivot tables perfectly to Excel and offers robust AI support with data prep and association recommendations. It also lets you dig into your data from any angle without leaving it to the visualization.
The tool comes with a native mobile app you can access from any device, even when you’re working offline. You can easily embed white-label analytics, too, to disseminate your insights across multiple platforms and to any stakeholder you like.
Qlik’s many APIs help you integrate with portals, products, and workflows. Pricing for this versatile platform is steeper than MS Power BI (and cheaper than Tableau) at $30 per user per month.

5. Google Data Studio – free data visualization tool

A basic, functional data analytics and visualization tool that’s easy to use, Google Data Studio offers excellent value. Thanks to its single free forever pricing plan, you can add as many users as you want without worry.
Data Studio is still a useful tool even though it’s not nearly as beloved as Tableau and not as well-integrated with the business world as MS Power BI. It offers collaboration, customizable reports and dashboards, tailored branding and templates, and a drag-and-drop UX.
If your team works in Google Workspace, you can use Data Studio to unearth deep insights from your Workplace, Google Analytics, and Google Ads data. If your queries are more complex and pull raw data from multiple sources, you may need a more complex solution.
For an open-source data discovery and visualization tool, give Google Charts a try.

6. Microsoft Visio

Certainly one of the best data visualization tools on the market, Visio is an excellent graphics and data representation product for block diagrams, flowcharts, org charts, network diagrams, and other visualizations. It’s also top-shelf as a brainstorming and diagramming tool.
The app also offers enterprise-grade security and accessibility, with handy real-time collaboration. Visio is a great fit if you’re looking for a tool for planning, drag-and-drop diagramming and graphing, and representing your ideas.
If you need a robust data visualization app, consider MS Power BI instead. Plans start at an affordable $5 per user per month.

7. Sisense

The Sisense business intelligence and data visualization app is designed to create embeddable insights you can infuse into employee and customer workflows and applications. Start with handy dashboards, then break out into customizable, AI-driven features. Generate reports, graphs, charts, and scorecards with advanced filtering and integrated APIs.
The Sisense data visualization tool is very user-friendly. Their customer support quickly responds to inquiries with a deep knowledge of the product and its analytics capabilities. There’s also a detailed training and onboarding arm to get you and your team up to speed fast.
The software can be a little buggy, and the elastic cube feature may be confusing for some users. Pricing is on a per-quote basis but generally starts at $83 per user per month.

8. Matlab

Known first and foremost as a data modeling tool, Matlab also offers workable visualizations in customizable charts and graphs. You can use it to create heatmaps, plot and compare data sets, and draw business-steering insights from your data.
Matlab can create bar charts and interactive charts, plot data points, and build detailed 3D models. You can also simulate mechanical events and create powerful interactive data visualizations. It’s user-friendly and easy to learn, with built-in libraries to simplify complex operations.
You’ll need deep programming knowledge to use Matlab. Pricing is quote-based but a full buyout license generally costs $149. Of course, it helps if you run Matlab on one of the best data science laptops.

9. Minitab

If you don’t already know any scripting languages (and you have better things to do with your time than learn one), Minitab is a serviceable choice. While it’s not the best data visualization tool on the market (or the most robust or full-featured), it makes up for that with its supreme simplicity.
It’s easy to learn Minitab and quickly generate customized results. If you’re a data scientist or data analyst, you likely already know R or Python. But if you’re in management or tasked with doing some data viz on the side, Minitab will let you in without a massive learning curve.
The software is available for a buyout, but the prices are more than $1,600 per license.

10. Zoho Analytics

A self-service business intelligence and data visualization tool, Zoho Analytics delivers customizable data dashboards and reports to drive informed decision-making. Create interactive visualizations showing where you are or want to be in minutes without assistance from IT.
Build charts, pivot tables, graphs, and datasheets, and easily sync your data in an extremely flexible user interface. First-time setup can be a little tricky, and customer support isn’t always on deck. However, for organizations that already use Zoho, the integration is clutch. Plans start at $60 per month for the first 5 users.

Summary

The data visualization tools in our list can give your company a dashboard to help you drive confidently toward your business goals. Tableau is our top pick because of its legendary ease of use. And for a budget-friendly, highly integrated option, consider integrating MS Power BI into your workflow.
About the Author: Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.

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