Which data visualization tool/software to use?

Genesis of Data Visualization

As a species we relied primarily on our sight for survival in pre-agricultural era. As a civilization in agricultural era and beyond, we relied on stories to share information, and to collaborate with each other. We have natural disposition for story-telling and visual art. Evidence of us trying to communicate through visual medium via stories can be seen in the primitive cave paintings of the early human. The tool and technology of that era and the want for communication made cave paintings possible then. Fast forward it to today, our species has made a giant leap to digital age where data is the commodity that requires processing for story-telling and insight. Data visualization is that tool of our era!

Business executives nowadays overwhelmingly rely on data to make their decisions. Data visualization has enabled them to consume large amount of complex data in visually intuitive way. As a component of business intelligence and data science solutions, data visualization plays a crucial role in packaging data as accessible information to business.

Here are some reviews by our experts on widely used visualization tools. There are also links to the appropriate resources for further information. Or you can contact us for free consultation with our visualization expert.


Born out of innovative software, VizQL, in a Stanford’s Computer Science lab, Tableau has revolutionized the data visualization industry with convenient drag-and-drop feature for creating visualization on the fly and making it accessible to nontechnical user. The clean and intuitive user interface, impressive collection of off-the-shelf visualizations and data connectors,  strong data extraction and processing capabilities are some of the reasons why Tableau makes for  a great visual analytics and reporting tool. It has been the industry leader  for some time now with a wide user base.

While Tableau is a great tool, it is not cheap. On-premises Tableau server deployment with role-based licensing is suitable for  Organization with large user group, but beware of the lurking cost in server maintenance with high concurrency and wide use of in-memory data extraction and refresh scheduling disrupting the server availability. Tableau Online is a fully hosted cloud subscription model which is also role-based licensing.

You can find out more about the the Tableau pricing model here

Try Tableau for free here

Power BI

Power BI is another visualization tool that is taking over the data visualization market by storm with its highly competitive pricing. The tool is easy to learn because of its simple interface, and is specifically designed to assist users in creating  visualization dashboard with minimum coding.

Power BI is developed by Microsoft. It is a great fit for any organization who are already in Microsoft stack and prefers to leverage MS services like Azure, Dynamics CRM etc. Additionally, Power BI shares many excel features that most businesses are familiar with. Because of its simple interface and familiar brand features of Microsoft it could be good option for many organizations. However, without good knowledge of DAX programing– the language behind Power BI, Python and R– oftentimes, performing advanced analytics in PowerBI can be challenging.  Also, many great features in PowerBI are available only with expensive premium service.

You can try it out for free here


D3Js is the most popular javascript library that allows users to create  visualizations with absolute freedom. It applies powerful Document Object Manipulation (DOM) technique to develop really impressive interactive visualizations in a single HTML file. Once the visualization is created and deployed, it can be shared as HTML file or host it on any server for users to access.

Development of D3Js visualization is a niche skill however. You need someone skilled in javascript (web development language) as well as data analytics to code in D3Js; these are traditionally disparate skillsets.

More about D3Js here

R (GGPlot)

Data visualization is not only used for Business Intelligence(BI) purposes but is also increasingly being used by scientists all over the world. R is a statistical programming language popular among academics.  Scientists and statisticians are also generating incredible visualizations using packages like ggplot and plotly.

Install R package for free to code visualization in R.  If you want to publish your visualization on the web, you would need R Shiny — which means you need to either setup an R server or use a community server. More details can be found here

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