Putting It All Together: Resources to Help You Visualize Your Data

Once you’ve defined your key messages and storyline and identified your various audiences, it’s time to find different ways of putting it all together in ways that help your story stand out and be your “best story.” The resources below provide several possibilities to help you visualize your data with free or low-cost tools and some tips for creating better slides and charts.

Resources for Data Visualization

Tableau Public
Tableau Public is an eye-opening tool that renders data in a meaningful way and even allows users to layer new data atop old, creating dynamic data visualizations across multiple charts, maps, or graphs. [url; Tableau Public]

IBM Watson Analytics
IBM Watson Analytics (formerly Many Eyes) is a cloud-based smart data discovery service that offers the benefits of advanced analytics, minus the complexity. It guides data exploration, automates predictive analytics, and enables effortless dashboard and infographic creation. Watson Analytics also teaches users what data has the greatest impact, as well as how to create striking visuals that highlight the data using an easy drag-and-drop tool. [url; IBM]

Plotly allows users to create and share reports and charts online, using tools for both seasoned programmers and novices. Sign up for free (which includes help center support) or create unlimited private and public charts for $20 per month. [url; Plotly]

Prezi’s presentation promises that its users will “step up to a whole new level of ‘Nailed it!'” For as little as (roughly) $5 per month, users can create truly dynamic, engaging, and personalized presentations that will wow and resonate with the audience. [url; Prezi]

Resources for Mapping

Google Earth and Google Earth Pro
“Explore the world with Google Earth” is a bold statement, but it’s not just hype. Using Google Earth’s free tools, it’s possible to create visuals that swoop from outer space to city streets to the sea’s surface. Time travel is a reality, too. Hello, Earth! [url; Google Earth]

Tableau Public
This is the same tool that was referenced under Data Visualization above, but it makes sense to show it here as well. [url; Tableau Public]

Census Data Mapper
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Census Data Mapper is a free Web mapping application with a simple interface for viewing, saving, and printing county-based demographic maps of the U.S. [url; U.S. Census Bureau]

QGIS is a user-friendly open-source geographic information system (GIS) licensed under the GNU General Public License. QGIS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) that supports multiple vector, raster, and database formats and functionalities. It allows users to visualize, manage, and edit; to analyze data; and to compose printable maps. QGIS works with Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, Windows, and Android. [url; QGIS]

Resource for Statistics and Analysis

The R Project
The R Project for Statistical Computing is a free software system for graphics and statistical computing that compiles and runs on Windows, Mac, and multiple UNIX platforms. R allows users to create publication-quality plots with ease, including those requiring mathematical symbols and formulae. [url; R Project]

Resources for Royalty-Free Images

CDC’s Public Health Image Library
Bing’s Image Search License Filter
When searching for images, whether they’re photographs or clip art, it’s important to make sure that you actually have permission to use them in your presentations and media. CDC’s Public Health Image Library and Bing’s Image Search license filter are two excellent resources for locating images that will make a presentation pop without denting the budget. [url; CDC/Bing]

Resources with Tips and Tricks for Creating Better Slides and Charts

Top Ten Slide Tips
This short article describes 10 simple tips for developing better slides and presentations and includes a variety of real world examples of putting the tips to work. [url; Garr Reynolds]

More than 30 PowerPoint Tips from the PowerPoint Pros
Although the blog overall is dedicated to e-learning, scroll down the page and you will find links to areas devoted to topics such as “Tips on Using PowerPoint,” “Tips on Presentations and Organizing Content,” “PowerPoint Resources,” and much more. [url; Articulate Blog]

Microsoft Excel Charts: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
This AbleBits blog contains handy tips, tricks, and techniques for creating better looking and more functional charts in Excel. [url; AbleBits]