data visualization

8 best data visualization tools to use in 2024

With vast amounts of data being generated every second, organizations need efficient ways to make sense of this information and derive valuable insights. That's where data visualization comes in. It is a powerful tool that enables businesses to transform complex data into meaningful visual representations, enabling effective, efficient communication.

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Benefits of using data visualization tools

When trying to tell a data story, visualizations are a great tool to simplify the communication of data. Whether presenting to colleagues, clients, or stakeholders, visual representations make it easier to tell a story and engage with your audience. Here are some key advantages:

1. Improved data comprehension: 

Because we humans are visual creatures, we process visual information much faster than text or numbers. Charts, graphs, and maps allow you to grasp patterns, trends, and relationships at a glance.

2. Enhanced decision-making: 

Visualizations enable you to quickly identify insights and trends, leading to more informed and data-driven decisions. By visualizing data, you can easily spot outliers, correlations, and anomalies that may impact your decision-making process.

3. Increased data exploration: 

Data visualization tools provide interactive features that allow you to explore data in-depth. You can drill down into the details, filter data, and change visualizations on the fly, enabling a deeper understanding of the underlying information.

4. Effective communication: 

They simplify the communication of complex data to a wide range of audiences. Whether presenting to colleagues, clients, or stakeholders, visual representations make it easier for you to convey insights, tell a story, and engage with your audience.

5. Time and cost savings: 

By automating the data visualization process, these tools save valuable time and resources. With intuitive interfaces and pre-built templates, you can create professional-looking visualizations quickly and efficiently.

Factors to consider when choosing data visualization tools

With a plethora of data visualization tools available in the market, choosing the right one for your needs can be a daunting task. Consider these important factors when making your choice:

1. Ease of use:

Look for tools with intuitive interfaces and user-friendly features that require minimal technical expertise. The tool should enable you to create visualizations quickly and easily, without the need for extensive training or coding skills.

2. Data connectivity:

Ensure that the tool can connect to various data sources, including databases, spreadsheets, and cloud services. The ability to import and integrate data from different sources is crucial for comprehensive data analysis.

3. Visualization options:

Consider the range of visualization options provided by the tool. Look for tools that offer a diverse set of visualizations to cater to different types of data and analysis requirements.

4. Interactivity and customization:

Check if the tool allows for interactive data visualization that let you explore data and customize visualizations. The ability to drill down into the details, apply filters, and manipulate visual elements enhances the data exploration and data storytelling capabilities.

5. Collaboration features:

If you are working in a team, consider tools that are shareable and discoverable by your whole team. Look for collaborative features, such as real-time sharing, commenting, and versioning. These features facilitate teamwork and streamline the review and feedback process.

By carefully evaluating these factors and aligning them with your specific requirements, you can choose a data visualization tool that best suits your needs and helps you unlock the power of your data.

Best data visualization tools to use in 2024

1. ThoughtSpot

ThoughtSpot is a powerhouse in the world of analytics, specializing in AI-driven, self-service analytics and data visualization. It empowers users like you to effortlessly discover insights using everyday language queries, and the magic doesn't stop there. Our sleek, modern Liveboards, serve as your gateway to real-time data comprehension. You can do more than just look at static charts. Liveboards also enable seamless sharing of insights and support data-driven decision-making.

💡 Read more about why dashboards are dead

Moreover, we have ensured that our platform is easy to use for both data analysts and business users. It's all about making your analytics experience as smooth and accessible as possible!

Core features

  • Real-time data visualization: Liveboards enables you to create dynamic data visualizations that update in real-time as new data becomes available. This helps you stay current with ever-changing business metrics.

  • Interactivity: You can interact with Liveboards, apply filters, drill down, and explore different aspects of your data to gain deeper insights. The interactive nature of the tool makes it easy for you to analyze and understand your data.

  • Data integration: Liveboards allow you to bring data from various sources into a single dashboard. This provides a holistic view of your data by connecting to databases, spreadsheets, cloud data sources, and even third-party databases.

  • Mobile-friendly: Liveboards are designed to be responsive and accessible on mobile devices, making it easy for you to access data and insights while on the go.

  • AI-powered search: ThoughtSpot Sage makes data trends and patterns understandable with the help of artificial intelligence, enabling you to extract valuable insights from your data.

See how ThoughtSpot can help visualize your data by yourself—sign up for a 14-day free trial.

2. Tableau

Tableau serves as a platform for business intelligence, data analytics, and data infrastructure. Tableau allows you to connect to data sources and craft dashboards that present visual representations of raw data. However, large datasets can often appear cryptic to individuals who lack a background in development or computer science. 

Business intelligence tool Tableau

Core features

  • Data connection and import: With Tableau, you can connect to data sources, including databases, spreadsheets, cloud services, and other big data sources. This allows you to import and transform data for your analysis.

  • Data visualization: Tableau offers you a wide range of visualization options including bar charts, line charts, scatter plots, and maps. You can create interactive visualizations to explore and understand your data.

  • Dashboard creation: You can combine multiple visualizations into dashboards, providing you with a comprehensive view of your data.

  • Data blending: Tableau enables you to blend data from multiple sources. This is particularly useful when you're dealing with data from different databases or platforms.

💡Related read: Top Tableau competitors and alternatives to consider

3. Power BI

Developed by Microsoft, Power BI is a data visualization tool that integrates with other Microsoft products. It offers a range of visualization options, from basic charts to advanced visuals, and provides data modeling capabilities. Power BI is often used in organizations that rely on Microsoft's ecosystem. Despite its intuitive interface, Power BI has a steep learning curve, and you would need analytical skills to harness its full potential. 

Core features

  • Interactive dashboards and reports: You can build interactive dashboards and reports via a drag-and-drop interface. 

  • Visualizations: Default visuals include charts, maps, and graphs. If you want customized visuals, you can use Power BI’s custom visuals SDK.

  • Change analysis: Power BI provides possible explanations for increases or decreases in attribute values and shows the results in the context of the visualization. 

  • Data modeling: Through Power BI tools like Power Query and Power Pivot, you can shape and clean your data, define relationships, and create calculated measures using DAX.

💡Related read: 10 Power BI alternatives and competitors to consider

4. Qlik Sense

Qlik Sense is an analytics platform that allows business users to explore data. It is known for its advanced analytics capabilities and its ability to be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. Qlik Sense describes itself as a tool that helps users find insights and make quicker decisions. Ease of managing connections to various data sources and flexible embedding are also the unique selling point of this tool.

Core features

  • Comprehensive data visualizations: With Qlik Sense you can refine contexts, make discoveries, and create interactive visualizations.

  • Augmented analytics: The tool allows business users to ask complex questions about their data. You can also leverage AutoML and predictive analytics to identify key drivers in your data. 

  • Real-time data pipeline: Qlik Sense offers reporting features like alerts, trigger automation, and monitoring. 

  • Hybrid deployment options: The tool allows connection from multiple sources, including public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises sites.

5. Sisense

Sisense is an analytics platform that enables you and your team to extract data from multiple sources and generate insights. Sisense is known for its embedded analytical capabilities, which includes open-source integration and access to RestAPI. However, reviews have reported extensive training is needed for installation and set up and the complexity of setting up data cubes. It may take a longer time to become proficient in using the platform and making the most of its capabilities. 

Core features

  • Data integration: Sisense allows you to connect to data sources including databases, cloud services, and spreadsheets to consolidate your data in one place for analysis.

  • Data modeling: You can transform, clean, and model your data within Sisense. You prepare data for analysis by defining relationships, creating calculated fields, and performing data cleansing operations.

  • Data visualization: Sisense provides visualization options to represent data including various chart types, graphs, and dashboards.

  • Ad-hoc analysis: The tool offers ad-hoc query capabilities, allowing you to explore data and create reports and visualizations without requiring much technical knowledge.

6. Domo

Domo is a data visualization solution that analyzes data and shares insights for decision-making. It helps you get answers to questions, make predictions, and perform what-if scenarios. Domo offers support to all personas. While the platform was previously built for analysts, it now offers functionalities and support to both designers and developers. 

Core features

  • Visualizations: Domo has different chart types and custom maps to help you visualize your data and create dashboards. 

  • Customizable dashboards: A low-code environment allows you to create dashboards and reports on your own without the need for any technical background. Dashboards can be further customized with different visual layouts, annotations, and filters.

  • AI model management: Domo lets you deploy Domo-hosted models from Jupyter Workspaces and AutoML as well as externally hosted models such as OpenAI, Hugging Face, and others. 

  • Data modeling: It has a drag-and-drop interface for setting up data models from different data sources.

7. Looker

Google’s Looker is a unified self-service analytics platform that allows business users to create dashboards and reports from various data sources, build embedded applications, and streamline workflows with real-time insights. Looker allows integrations with open-source solutions through Google Cloud Platform. Consequently, its data processing capabilities can be augmented with Vertex AI, AutoML, and BigQuery ML.

Core features

  • Self-service data visualizations: Looker allows you to create custom data models, define metrics, and design dashboards and reports. It uses LookML to deploy data experiences.

  • Ad-hoc reporting: You can connect to Looker’s semantic model and analyze, explore, and visualize data more interactively. This integration allows ad-hoc reporting through which you can discover anomalies.

  • Real-time view of your data: With Looker, you can pull real-time insights from the cloud of your choice. You can even refine data by adding and modifying filters.

💡Relevant read: Looker vs Tableau.

8. Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics helps you in data preparation, data visualization, and exploration. The analytics solution helps you track key performance metrics, identify outliers, make future predictions, and discover hidden insights. Infused with AI technology, Zoho Analytics offers a set of pre-built templates. 

Core features

  • Data integration: Zoho Analytics allows importing data from data sources and business apps, such as spreadsheets, cloud databases, and online applications.

  • Data preparation: It offers features for transforming and enriching data. You can merge datasets, perform calculations, and create custom metrics to prepare your data for analysis.

  • Data visualization: The tool provides many prebuilt visualization templates, including charts, graphs, pivot tables, and dashboards. The low-code interface allows you to create personalized reports without technical expertise.

  • Augmented analytics: It provides you contextual insights and recommendations with AI, ML, and NPL technologies. The platform also offers predictive analytics capabilities that allow you to perform what-if analysis and predict upcoming trends. 

Integrating data visualization tools into your workflow

To fully leverage the power of data visualization, it is crucial to integrate these tools into your workflow seamlessly. Here are some steps to consider:

Identify your data sources: Determine the sources of data that you want to visualize. This may include databases, spreadsheets, cloud services, or APIs. Ensure that the chosen tool supports connectivity with these sources.

Clean and prepare your data: Before visualizing the data, ensure that it is clean, accurate, and relevant. Perform necessary data cleaning, transformation, and aggregation to obtain meaningful insights.

Choose the appropriate visualization: Select the right visualization technique to represent the data effectively. Consider the type of data, the relationships you want to highlight, and the goals of your visualization.

Create interactive dashboards: Build interactive dashboards or reports that allow users to explore the data and derive insights on their own. Enable filters, drill-downs, and other interactive features to enhance user experience.

Automate data refresh: If your data is constantly changing, set up automated data refreshes to ensure that the visualizations are always up to date. This will save you time and effort in manually updating the visualizations.

Data visualization tools help you streamline your data analysis process and make data-driven decision-making a seamless part of your organizational culture.

Uncover secret insights within your data

By transforming complex data into visual representations, organizations can make informed decisions, drive innovation, and gain a competitive edge. The best data visualization tools provide a range of features, customization options, and interactivity to help users explore and communicate data effectively. 

Considering factors such as ease of use, data connectivity, visualization options, and collaboration features, you can choose a tool that best suits your needs. Remember to follow best practices in using data visualization tools, integrate them into your workflow, and continuously explore the possibilities they offer.

See the power of a modern data visualization tool like ThoughtSpot—register for a live product demo today.