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Data Visualization

Learn about best practices and tools to visualize data using charts and maps.

Planning a Visualization

Data visualization is simply creating a chart, diagram, picture, map, infographic, etc. from your data. In other words, a visual representation of data or information. Use this guide to discover best practices for creating data visualizations as well as accessing recommended resources for learning how to visualize data.

Steps for Creating a Visualization

1. Know your data & purpose.

  • Know how each data point or variable was measured and have some ideas or hypotheses about what you might see.
  • It is helpful to make sure your data is clean and error free.
  • Decide whether you are trying to find patterns or telling a story to the reader (Cole Nussbaumer Knaffic)

2. Select a chart type that best accomplishes your purpose, given the data you have.

3. Choose the software or tool you will use to create your visualization.

4. Refine your visualization according to best practices and your purpose. 

  • You often need to adjust the axes, add labels, change colors, or add or remove chart elements to create the ideal chart.