Data Visualization: Tools

This section on “Data Visualization” will explore what it is, examples of its use, and web sites which provide both galleries of data visualizations and which allow you, or your students, to create your own.

Tools: English

Tag Cloud: A tag cloud provides a visual representation of word content of a document.


Wordle is a site which allows you to create word clouds from text. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more often. Wordle is free and easy to use. You won’t need to sign up for an account.


 How to use Wordle:


Ways to use Wordle in Education:


Wordle could be used in English classes to create a quick visualization to examine the main ideas is a paper.


Online Graphical Dictionaries and Thesauri

There are a few programs that offer a graphical representation of words and synonyms.


Visuwords is an online graphical dictionary which displays the meaning and the association with other words and concepts.  It is free online and does NOT require a download.


When you type in a search term, Visuwords displays synonym sets and shows, by color, what part of speech each one is (i.e. adjective, verb, etc.) The program also shows the relationship between words.


Lexipedia is another free online program. Lexipedia may be somewhat easier to use and also provides an audio pronunciation.

Visual Thesaurus
The Visual Thesaurus creates an animated display of words and meanings. Visual Thesaurus has a voice/pronunciation feature. However, this program must be purchased.

Tools: Images

Tag galaxy is similar to a visual thesaurus. When you type in a term, the program brings up a solar system of words. Double clicking on the sun, produces a globe of pictures.


Tools: History/Social Sciences

History Pin  

YouTube Video


New York:

Leeds, England

See more about History Pin and examples at:


Tools: Science & Engineering


A compilation of interesting resources can be found at:

Tools: Social Visualization

Swivel Swivel is a collaborative tool that allows you to create charts and graphs and allow others to work on these. Swivel provides access to publicly shared data and allows you to share your data with everyone, to share only with your own group, or to keep it totally private. It has the added advantage of being available online (in the cloud).


On Swivel you can upload your own data, work on it. collaborate with others on your data, or search the public repository.

                                             Twitter use by age:


Tools: Platforms


Many Eyes

Many Eyes helps you to create visualizations from your own data sets. You can also browse and use visualizations which have been created by others and saved as “public”.


To create visualizations using Many Eyes, you need to sign up for an acount (it’s free).


Tableau Public

Requires a download to use, but you can  access the gallery on the Internet. Once you have created a visualization, you can embed it on a website or blog.


More examples of data visualization from Smashing Magazine: