As a business owner or manager, you know the value of presenting your ideas creatively during business meetings. Until you have an engaged audience, you won’t be able to convince them. A data visualization tool helps you do just that. It uses visual elements such as charts, graphs, and maps to show complex data in simple, clear visual representations.
If you’re one of those who need data visualization software, you might find yourself in a state of dilemma: You need the software but you don’t have the budget as you’re trying to cut costs. Well, this article is for you. Below, you’ll find the five best free and open-source data visualization software products.
What does “best” mean? Each of the five tools (listed in alphabetical order) included in this article appears in our Top 20 data visualization software list and offers a free version. These tools have 4+ (out of 5) user ratings and 50+ user reviews on Capterra (see the full selection methodology here).
- Free plan: Supports up to three users and offers 3GB of data storage and email and chat support.
- Paid plans: The first tier starts at $9 per user, per month. It includes email, chat, and phone support, as well as unlimited users (minimum five) and data storage.
ActivTrak is a data visualization tool that offers team behavior analytics. The tool can handle teams with 5 to 1,000 members and is designed for business owners, IT and HR managers, and team leads who want to track their team’s productivity.
The tool offers mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices.
- Free plan: Includes one user and two dashboards.
- Paid plans: Starts at $29 per month and includes one user and five dashboards. Features include unlimited widgets, unlimited history, TV mode, public URLs, custom logo, custom themes, custom SSL domain, unlimited data exports, and embedded analytics.
Cyfe is a data visualization tool that helps you monitor and analyze data scattered across different online applications such as Google Analytics, Salesforce, Google Ads, Facebook, and Twitter. The tool also helps you with KPI monitoring, search engine optimization, social media marketing, custom reports, and data exporting and archiving.
- Free plan: Available for three users. Includes three data sources, three databoards, daily data refresh interval, and historical data for up to 11 months.
- Paid plans: Upgrade plan starts at $49 per month for 10 users, which includes 10 data sources, 10 databoards, hourly data refresh interval, and historical data for up to 11 months.
Databox is a data visualization tool that allows businesses to track and report on their KPIs through a visually pleasing dashboard. The tool can deliver information across multiple devices and integrates with popular systems such as Adobe Analytics and Salesforce.
Databox offers mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
- Free plan: Includes a data capacity limit of 1GB for a single user.
- Paid plans: Upgrade pricing starts at $9.99 per month for a single user with a data capacity limit of 10GB.
Microsoft Power BI is a data visualization tool that helps you create interactive reports, analyze and explore data, and share content with others. The tool monitors your organizational data from all the apps in use. Its customizable and pre-built dashboards unify key metrics into a single view, showing updates to every device in real time.
It offers mobile apps for Android devices.
- Free plan: Tableau Public is a free platform to publicly share and explore data visualizations online. Anyone can create visualizations using either Tableau Desktop Professional Edition or the free Public Edition.
- Paid plans: Upgrade plans start at $70 per user, per month (billed annually).
Tableau is a data visualization platform that offers a streamlined user interface and allows drag-and-drop data manipulation and data visualization. It is best suited for people who are comfortable with Excel’s pivot tables.
The tool offers mobile apps for iOS or Android. Tableau offers training through in-person sessions, online, webinars, and documentation. The software provider also offers support online and via phone during business hours.
How to choose the right free data visualization tool for your business
After you’ve reviewed this list of tools, the next step is to select one that will best fit your business needs. The following steps will help you make that decision:
- Calculate the total cost of ownership for the upgrade plans, including training, implementation, and support costs. Check with the vendor to ensure that upgrading the product you choose is within your budget.
- Compare the free usage limits of the products (such as the number of users and available features) and shortlist tools accordingly.
- Ask the vendor about the integration options. One key benefit of a data visualization tool is its ability to gather data from multiple sources, including your existing software. Be sure to ask the software provider whether or not their tool integrates with your existing tools.
Common questions to ask while selecting a free data visualization tool
You’ll probably have many questions when selecting free data visualization software, and it’s important to get answers from software providers and/or their sales representatives. Here are a few key questions to consider asking:
- How long does it take to fully implement the data visualization tool? This will help you keep a realistic estimate of time and plan the transition toward the new software accordingly.
- Does the software upgrade cost include phone-based tech support? This will help you get clarity on the type of premium support you’ll receive when you start paying for the software.
- How easily can I create customized reports? You should always be able to decipher your data and easily create reports. If you need a programmer to build new reports, that might hamper your ROI.
How we rate
This article was updated on March 30, 2021. Products considered for this article had to be in Capterra’s March 2020 Top 20 Report for data visualization software tools and:
- Offer a free, standalone version of the software (not a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product after a limited amount of time).
- Meet our data visualization definition: Data visualization software lets users represent data via charts, graphs, sunbursts, and other visual forms of communication. These visualizations are intended to be shared with colleagues and stakeholders to help teams make more well-informed business decisions.
- Software that met the market definition also needed a minimum of 50 user-submitted reviews and have an above-average overall user rating compared to other products in the category (as of March 30, 2021).
- “Top” free tools had a minimum overall rating of 4/5 stars from reviewers on Capterra at the time of publication. We selected the top 5 tools having the maximum overall rating among the top 20 tools (as of March 30, 2021).
Note: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.