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Research Guides

Data Visualization: Data Visualization Tools

Data visualization tools, services, and resources.

Choosing a tool

Selecting a tool depends on many variables:

  • The type of data you are working with.
  • If you are new to working with data visualization tools.
  • If you have coding experience.
  • How much time you have to prepare your data and learn a new tool.

Before getting started with a tool, it may be helpful to sketch out your visualization idea first to determine what data you'll need, the format your data will need to be in, and which tool(s) will be the most useful.

Quantitative Data Visualization Tools


Tableau is a data visualization tool best suited for quantitative data. There are different versions of Tableau.

Who has access to what?

  • Tableau Public: Free and open to anyone to download. All data visualizations must be saved on the Tableau Public server, so this version is not suitable for any confidential/sensitive data.
  • Tableau Desktop: Available for students, faculty teaching with Tableau, and some researchers. Allows user to save Tableau workbooks locally (on their personal computers). Can also share visualizations with others if they have Tableau Reader installed.
  • Tableau Reader: Opens and allows users to interact with Tableau visualizations. However, users can't edit the visualizations in Tableau Reader.
  • Tableau Server/Tableau Online: Allows users to save visualizations to Tableau's server (Tableau Server) or to their own server (Tableau Online). Good for large organizations with complex/many Tableau projects.

More information about Tableau at the UW

UW staff questions about Tableau

  • Staff questions about Tableau access are best directed to UW-IT.
  • While they do not offer technical support, the UW Tableau User Group is a great community of practice where you can learn from other students, researchers, faculty, and staff.

Tableau resources

Qualitative Data Visualization Tools

Network Analysis Tools

Geospatial Data Visualization Tools