Free and low-cost data visualization tools from an online editor

Data visualization tools were on my mind after hearing Wesley Grubbs, a data visualizer with Pitch Interactive, speak on “Meaningfully Communicating Data with Visualizations” at the CFA Institute’s GIPS conference in Boston on Sept. 19, 2013. Grubbs provided inspiring examples of creativity, but skimped on practical tips. This is why I was delighted to attend “Data visualization on a shoestring” presented by Sharon Machlis, online managing editor, Computerworld, at the ASPBE Boston Boot Camp on Sept. 24, 2013.

If you’re a financial blogger or writer, you’ll find tools that can help to illustrate your content. Machlis’ presentation reviewed practical tools for data visualization. Because she targeted budget-strapped journalists, she focused on free and low-cost tools. She moved from easy-to-use tools to tools that require the ability to write code.

Make Excel charts look better

Machlis suggested tools that can make your Excel charts look better. Chartbuilder sounded like the easiest place to start.

Another option is IBM’s Many Eyes. It is easy to use, said Machlis, but you’ll need to upload your data and make it public, so that’s not likely to appeal to many asset managers or financial advisors.

More data visualization resources

Machlis’ resource list, which I’m sharing with her permission, offers more sophisticated options.

You can also view a version of her complete presentation on “Data visualization on a shoestring.

1 reply
  1. Olga
    Olga says:

    Hi Susan,

    In terms of data visualization I would also recommend you to try Knoema ( Basically it’s the largest public and open data repository with built-in tools for data analysis and visualization.

    In Knoema you can create intelligible tables, charts, graphs, treemaps, interactive maps and so on using just the system datasets or mash them up with your private data. Just to give you a hint what kind of visualizations can be made in Knoema, please visit our library of ready-to-use visualizations and Viz of the Day stories

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