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Best data visualization tools of 2021

Person looking at sheets of data visualizations
(Image credit: Pexels)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best data visualization tools make it simpler and easier to provide business insights from data, using charts to communicate these to stakeholders.

The best data visualization tools & apps

Click the links below to go to the provider's website:

 

1. Tableau

2. Quire

3. Casual

4. Wrike

5. Targetprocess

Data visualization is useful for a comprehensive range of processes, whether involving simple reports to providing insights from big data. This can be used in the form of anything from presentations to workflows, each of which can benefit from better charts and diagrams to provide information visually.

Ultimately, data visualizations will provide clear indicators of trends from existing data, or present otherwise important information such as core tasks or assignments in management processes.

The key to visualization is simplicity in the presentation, no matter how it is applied, and while there are industry specific applications of visualization.

Here we'll feature what we think are the best data visualization tools and apps currently available.

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(Image credit: Tableau)

1. Tableau

Best overall data visualization tool

Reasons to buy
+Powerful range of tools+Comprehensive visualization+On-premises and cloud
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Tableau comes in strong as a market leader when it comes to showing how visualization can help with general productivity management. It's a flexible and powerful solution that provides for business intelligence, and it's with large data sets that Tableau really comes into its own.

Tableau offers a range of different software tools for data visualization, starting with Tableau Creator which allows for both a desktop and online version for individuals, to allow for the processing of data to output visualized analytics.

There are also versions for teams and organizations, either as a standalone to provide data mining with visualization and interactive dashboards, while there's also a version for live analytics processing with existing software apps.

Altogether, Tableau is a powerful analytics tool for producing all manner of useful charts and graphs, all of which makes it easier to communicate insights and answers to questions with different levels of stakeholders. 

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(Image credit: Quire)

2. Quire

All you need and nothing more

Reasons to buy
+Simple and familiar user interface+Kanban or list format+Quick visual progress representations
Reasons to avoid
-No Gantt charts

Quire allows you to manage and visualize projects but don’t require advanced functionality.

Quire works by letting you map out tasks and thoughts in a simple to-do list format that can easily be rearranged and assigned to team members. Once tasks have been defined in the app, you can visually organize and assign these tasks using a Kanban board built into the system. The software makes it easy to flip between task lists and the Kanban board as needed.

The beauty of Quire is that it also offers a number of visual representations of your task list that you can choose from, including pie charts, project summaries and graphs. All the basic visual representations are there except for Gantt charts, the one strike against this platform. 

Overall, though, Quire delivers a streamlined interface that works very well for exploring workflows and improving project management and strikes a good balance between simplicity and power.

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(Image credit: Casual)

3. Casual

Best for flowchart wizards

Reasons to buy
+Flowchart-based project management+Visually simple task flow
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t handle large teams

There are many ways in which you can visually organize your project. If your preferred style is flowchart-based organization, you’re going to love Casual.

Instead of Kanban boards or Gantt charts, Casual is built exclusively around a single flowchart interface where you organize projects by drawing lines between tasks, and assign team members to each step in the flowchart. Each team member gets a task list based on the flowchart, but essentially project managers that use Casual track progress through the single-pane flowchart.

Casual is easily the best solution if you prefer to work with flowcharts and have a project that can be represented in that format. If you want a range of charts and other ways to organize or manage a large team, however, Casual is not for you.

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(Image credit: Wrike)

4. Wrike

Dashboard project management

Reasons to buy
+Dashboard format+Gantt charts+Visual workflow creation
Reasons to avoid
-No Kanban boards

If Gantt charts and dashboards are your thing, Wrike should be on your project management shortlist.

Wrike makes it easy to create tasks and workflows, and then manage these tasks visually in a Gantt chart or calendar format. One feature that’s great about Wrike is that you can visually create custom workflows for your project.

Data visualization is also a strong point for Wrike, which lets you set up custom dashboard items that visually show the progress of key project metrics. In one quick view, you can see the status of each area of the project.

Furthermore, Wrike is highly scalable, with many integrations to other platforms and support for large teams.

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(Image credit: Targetprocess)

5. Targetprocess

Clunky but full-featured

Reasons to buy
+Comprehensive feature set+Lots of data visualization tools
Reasons to avoid
-Complex options

If you want everything in your project management software, including a host of data representation options, Targetprocess is for you.

Taking a dashboard approach but also working in Kanban and Gantt chart formats, Targetprocess basically gives your project the full suite of features. Complex task lists can be configured and rearranged, and it comes with a multitude of data representation views that can be added to the dashboard for quick progress assessment.

Targetprocess is geared towards agile software development projects, and it can be overwhelming in its feature set and clunky in its interface, but this solution visually represents data in more ways than rivals, and does everything a software project manager could want.