5 of Our Favorite Open Source Visualization Tools

5 key open source __data presentation.

By Richard Vermillion, CEO Fulcrum Analytics

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the collection and application of data is more important than ever for businesses looking to continue to grow. The downside? As we continually discover ways in which data is beneficial, the more difficult it can become for individuals to compile, present and implement findings. Thankfully, there’s an influx of open source data visualization tools that are able to intake your unique data, both spatial and tabular, and present the information back to you through the use of advanced graphs and charts.

So which tools are worth taking a moment to explore and/or possibly adopt? Below, we’ve assembled 5 of the open source data visualizations tools that take a much needed illustrative approach to complicated data.

R Shiny
R Shiny is an open source package that provides the web framework for building data visualizations, interactive charts, and applications using R. This tool helps you to turn your analyses into sleek interactive web visuals without it requiring in-depth knowledge of HTML, CSS or JavaScript. Much like a spreadsheet, this reactive programming model allows for data to be manipulated with ease rather than waiting for the entire page to be reloaded...we’ve seen success for those within the retail sector who are constantly updating their data and looking for a platform that can keep up minute to minute.

Rstudio Shiny Retirement Simulation

Tableau Public
With the ability to display graphs, charts, maps and more, Tableau Public is a popular data visualization tool that's also totally free. With up to 10 GB of storage and a drag-and-drop interface, users can watch their data update in real-time while collaborating with others on their team. The “public” portion of Tableau means that you can only save your data to public profile where others have access to your data, but if you’re not a highly public company whose privacy is your #1 concern, there are a plethora of upsides to Tableau Public for business analysts and managers. The newest version is optimized for mobile devices, can connect to a variety of data sources beyond Excel, and can link directly to Google Sheets.

Fulcrm Tableau

Datawrapper is a great open source tool for the complete visualization of data and the ability to embed live and interactive charts. Simply upload your data in a CSV file and the online tool is able to build customized visuals such as bar and line graphs. Datawrapper is great for small business or presentation use, as it allows for only 10,000 views per chart, but it may not be ideal for big businesses with a large clientele. However, most people agree that the easy to use interface and ability to quickly present statistics in a straightforward manner is helpful.


Pivot is an intuitive UI designed to enable exploratory analytics on event data while utilizing the much appreciated drag-and-drop interface. One of the attributes that sets Pivot apart is that it’s centered around two operations: Filter and Split. Filter narrows the view of data and is equivalent to the “WHERE” clause in SQL, where as Split is very similar to SQL’s “GROUP BY” function. However, Split allows for data to be cut across multiple dimensions -- we’ve seen great success in grocery price/promotional analysis and optimization.


D3, which stands for data driven documents, is a JavaScript library that binds to arbitrary data to a Document Object Model (DOM), and then applies data-driven transformations to the document. Though D3 may appeal more towards programmers as this tool involves creating code, D3 is able to build an array of truly engaging charts, maps, diagrams within web pages, and more. If you’re willing to put in a bit of extra work, the visual payout absolutely more than worth it.


Regardless of industry, these tools are a key factor in understanding the constant influx of valuable data available to you. These tools are easy to use and have the ability to visualize patterns or emphasize trends without spending a penny.

Curious about how this applies to your business? Click here to discover how we can help to make sense of your data.

Image sources

Source URL
Shiny from R Studio https://shiny.rstudio.com/gallery/retirement-simulation.html
Dashboard Layout and Design, Tableau Public https://public.tableau.com/en-us/s/blog/2013/10/dashboard-layout-and-design
Create A Map Demo, Datawrapper https://www.datawrapper.de/
Imply Pivot https://github.com/geo-opensource/pivot
The Facebook Offering: How It Compares, The New York Times https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/05/17/


Across U.S. Companies, Tax Rates Vary Greatly, The New York Times https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/05/25/sunday-review/corporate-taxes.html
512 Paths to the White House, The New York Times http://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/11/02/us/


Bio: Richard Vermillion is a CEO of Fulcrum Analytics since 2011. Fulcrum is building a world-class data science and data engineering organization that tackles the hardest problems for the top global companies in retail, insurance, investment and retail banking, and health care.


  • How to make a simple bar chart in D3
  • 6 Tips for Effective Visualization with Tableau
  • 7 Simple data Visualizations You Should Know in R