5 data visualization tools for the code-wary

Chris Courtney and Lucio Villa want to empower everyone to create their own data visualizations, and so do these 5 easy-to-use tools. Little-to-no coding experience is necessary.

1. RAW
Using the D3 library behind the scenes, RAW helps you design your own charts without ever touching code. Once you’ve made your slick bar chart, you can export it as an SVG or PNG.

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2. SVG Crowbar
If you find an element you like that someone already made, extract the SVG nodes and styles from HTML documents with SVG Crowbar by using this handy bookmarklet. It’s just a click of a button, and it’s all yours (just kidding — copyright is still a thing). You can pop the SVG into Illustrator to add your own customization. Check out this D3 example database for interesting visualizations to practice using this tool. Some even have public licenses.

3. ai2html
This handy script takes anything on your canvass in Illustrator and converts it into HTML text and accompanying styles. I’ve used it for graphics many times — it’s almost always an accurate translation.

4. Datawrapper.de
Similar to Excel, but quite a bit fancier, Datawrapper reads your data and turns it into an interactive chart. With tabs for refining, annotating and designing, you get a nice amount of customization.

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5. chart.js
This is the most flexible beginner charting tool of those mentioned. However, it does require a bit of code manipulation. Chart.js has excellent documentation that will walk you through building and customizing your interactive chart. Courtney stressed the importance of persistence when troubleshooting any issues: “People who know how to ask questions online and know how to formulate their questions are going to have a better shot at this.”

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