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How Do I Choose the Best Data Visualization Software?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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Data visualization software is useful for representing data with images and graphs, and choosing the right program for your needs should help you make the best visualization. Premade visualizations are built into most data visualization software, and more of these usually are better. Some visualization programs are made with drag-and-drop technology while others require programming, and you likely will need to choose between ease of use and freedom. Most visualizations will be uploaded online so others can see the graph, so web-export features may be useful. This type of program is used for many purposes, and getting a specialized visualization program may be a good idea.

Most data visualization software comes packed with premade visualizations, meaning you do not have to program or design any yourself. Having a large number of these allows you to make many graphs with different appearances for your various needs. At the same time, if you want to make custom visualizations, the ability to install your own designs may be important. Some programs allow you to both upload custom visualizations and choose from premade ones.

There are two general interfaces with data visualization software: drag-and-drop and programming. Drag-and-drop usually is easier to use, especially if you do not know any programming, and it normally can make visualizations much quicker. At the same time, you usually will be limited by how much is available with which you can interact. Visualization programs that require programming knowledge may be harder to use, but you generally are given freedom because you normally can change more aspects of the visualization. Finding a visualization program that offers both interfaces may be best if you cannot choose between the two.

After a visualization is complete, the graph typically is uploaded online so other people or employees can see it. This means data visualization software that has features to make it easier to export the visualization in a web-ready format may be useful. Without these features, you may have to use other programs or programming to make the visualization into a web-ready format that can be used on websites.

If you are just making a data visualization of files on your hard drive, then a general program may be useful. Specialized visualizations, such as social media visualizations or those based on geography, may require different tools that a generic program will not offer. This means it usually is best to take your visualization needs into account when looking at the program’s features.

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