Excel does a job, and it does that job well. But, if you’re looking to present your data in an attractive manner that allows you easily visualise and analyse it, the out-of-the-box product isn’t the best it can be.
Microsoft offers a lot of advice on how you can make the most of their tool for visualisation, but even that leaves something to be desired.
Your Excel needs an upgrade. Read on for 12 of the best visualisation tools available that will show you the art of the possible:
For the simplest, quickest to access tools, look no further than this selection of browser based visualisation options. The added bonus of these tools is that they will be compatible with any OS you’re using, including Mac.
Tableau is a free service that allows you to upload, visualise and share Excel data with your colleagues. You can also embed these visualisations onto a website.
RAW is a great way to visualise your Excel data. Simply copy and paste your data onto their website, customise the appearance and download your visualisation.
Vizydrop is another alternative to the above options: free, quick and shareable.
If you want to improve your visualisation options directly in Excel, you’ll need to use an add-in. Microsoft’ store offers a number of options, here are the highlights:
4. Radial bar chart
This add-in displays your data in what can only be described as the outcome of merging a bar chart with a pie chart. Find out more about the Radial Bar Chart add-on from the Office Store.
Bubbles presents your data in individual circles, the size of which correlate with the data provided. Take a look at the Bubbles add-on here.
This tool lets you take your Excel data table and visualise networks that connect each data point.
7. Power Map
Power Map is a 3D visualisation tool from Microsoft. It uses Bing maps to plot data points in the form of bubbles, heat maps or columns.
8. People Graph
It’s a very basic Excel data add-in, but People Graph is a great option for anyone looking to get to grips with basic visualisation before moving on to more in-depth tools.
Software tools for your Excel data
For the most comprehensive visualisation tools available, you’ll likely want to look for software options. This selection includes some of the best we’ve found:
9. Power BI
Microsoft’s Power BI is a premium visualisation tool, bringing together data from hundreds of different sources, including Excel, and making analysis of that data easy. You can download Power BI Desktop, Mobile, or Gateway for strictly on-premise data sources.
Like many of the tools featured, Qlik’s drag-and-drop interface makes it simple to build up complex visualisations of your data. It’s got a dedicated desktop app, and it’s a free download.
Looker claims to ‘make data visualisation and exploration easy for everyone’ and that, in a nutshell, is what it does.
If you’re looking for a software tool compatible with your Mac and your version of Mac for Excel, StatPlus is a strong solution. It comes in light and pro editions: visit their website to see which option works for you.
Take your pick
When it comes down to it, many of the options we’ve looked at in this list have similar features. If you want to pick the best tool for your business, your best option is to try out the free tools and see what features you’re missing.
Bookmark this list for later reference, and get exploring. Further reading: