Best Free Graphing Software For Data Analysis

In today’s data-driven world, the ability to visually represent information is crucial. This article delves into the best free graphing software available, tailored specifically for data analysis.

We’ll explore various tools that combine user-friendliness with powerful features, enabling you to transform complex data into comprehensible, visually appealing graphs.

Best Free Graphing Software For Data Analysis

OriginLabData import from various sources Supports PDF, SVG, PNG formats Complex mathematical function handling 2D/3D graph plotting
MatplotlibOpen-source, Python-friendly Import from spreadsheets/NumPy Interactive plots, infographics, animations Pyplot and Object-Oriented API
GNUplotOpen-source, 2D/3D visualizations Command-line interface Customizable point styles, error bars Handles nonlinear/parametric functions
Google ChartsOpen-source, versatile chart/graph maker Data table for columns/rows definition Customizable titles, dimensions Supports mathematical/complex data sets
VismeUser-friendly for various skill levels Spreadsheet-like data analysi Multiple export options (JPG, PNG, PDF, video) PowerPoint and HTML download for offline use

1. OriginLab

OriginLab stands as one of the best free graphing software tools available, especially for scientists and students looking to visualize their data with ease.

It’s a powerhouse for data analysis and visualization, offering a user-friendly interface that allows you to create professional-quality graphs and charts quickly and easily.

What sets OriginLab apart is its versatility in handling various data sets. You can import data from multiple sources, including Excel spreadsheets, which is a real boon for those accustomed to Microsoft Office tools. The software supports numerous formats like:

  • PDF
  • SVG
  • PNG

Making it easy to export your work for presentations or publications.

For those engaged in mathematical or scientific work, OriginLab is a godsend. It adeptly handles complex mathematical functions, including calculus, and allows for the plotting of both 2D and 3D graphs.

Whether you need to create intricate diagrams, pie charts, or even animate your data for a more dynamic presentation, OriginLab has the tools for the job.

The graph maker feature in OriginLab is particularly noteworthy. It’s not just about plotting points on a graph; it’s about bringing data to life. The software gives you the ability to create various kinds of graphs, from simple line graphs to more complex polar functions and parametric plots.

For collaborative work, OriginLab shines too. It offers features that allow you to graph with your team, share your charts, and work on projects together.

This aspect is particularly useful for students and teachers working on joint projects or research.

OriginLab also supports a range of operating systems including:

  • MS Windows
  • Linux
  • OSX

Whether you’re delving into geometry, nonlinear data sets, or just need to create a quick bar chart, OriginLab is equipped to handle it all with advanced features that are hard to find in other free software.

2. Matplotlib

Matplotlib stands out as the best free graphing software in the open-source world, especially for Python enthusiasts. 

It’s like a Swiss army knife for creating graphs and charts, offering a versatile platform for plotting everything from simple line diagrams to complex 3D graphs.

Imagine you’re working with a dataset in Python. With just a few lines of code, Matplotlib transforms your data into a visual format, making it easier to analyze and understand.

It’s particularly favored by students and teachers for its ease of use and powerful features.

Whether you’re plotting a mathematical equation or visualizing a complex data set, Matplotlib’s user interface is intuitive yet offers advanced features for more sophisticated needs.

The software supports a range of formats for export, including:

  • PDF
  • SVG, and
  • PNG

which is great when you need to share your findings. Its compatibility with various operating systems like MS Windows, Linux, and OSX, adds to its flexibility.

Plus, the ability to import data directly from spreadsheets or Python’s numerical extension, NumPy, makes it a go-to tool for scientists and students.

What’s more, Matplotlib goes beyond mere graph making. It allows you to create interactive plots, offering built-in support for creating infographics and animations. This means you can not only visualize your data but also bring it to life in presentations or reports.

In terms of customization, Matplotlib excels with its two APIs. The pyplot API is perfect for quick and easy graph making, while the Object-Oriented API gives you more control to customize your plots. You can create:

  • Professional-looking charts and diagrams
  • Tailor them to your specific needs, and even
  • Embed these plots in GUI applications.

3. GNUplot

GNUplot stands as a beacon among the best free graphing software, particularly favored by scientists and students for its versatility in data visualization.

You’ll find it incredibly useful for creating a wide variety of graphs, from simple 2D diagrams to complex 3D visualizations.

It’s an open-source treasure that provides an easy-to-use platform for both beginners and advanced users.

One of the most appealing aspects of GNUplot is its command-line interface. This might sound daunting, but it’s actually a powerful feature, allowing you to quickly and easily generate plots.

For instance, with a simple ‘plot’ command and a file name, you can visualize your data in seconds. GNUplot’s ease of use extends to changing directories within its interface, making it a breeze to navigate through your data files.

GNUplot’s customization options are vast. You can:

  • Alter point styles
  • Connect data points with lines, or
  • Add error bars to your plots.

This flexibility is particularly handy when dealing with mathematical functions or complex data sets. For instance, plotting an analytical function like a sine wave alongside your data points is straightforward, offering a clear visual comparison.

Beyond plotting, GNUplot excels in exporting your graphs in various formats including PNG, JPEG, and even SVG for high-quality vector graphics.

This feature is essential when you need to include these visuals in reports or presentations. The software runs on multiple operating systems, including:

  • MS Windows
  • Linux, and
  • OSX

For those who are into more advanced data analysis, GNUplot’s ability to handle nonlinear and parametric functions is a game-changer. It allows for intricate mathematical visualizations that are crucial in fields like calculus and geometry.

4. Google Charts

Google Charts emerges as one of the best free graphing software tools available today, offering an intuitive and powerful platform for data visualization.

This open-source tool allows you to create a myriad of charts and graphs, from the basic bar and line diagrams to more complex pie charts and 3D graphs.

As a graph maker, Google Charts is remarkably easy to use. You begin by importing the necessary scripts into your application. This is done by copying a CDN link into the head of your HTML file.

From there, you can effortlessly write code to generate various types of charts.

For example, creating a pie chart involves writing a script tag and defining the data set in a specific format.

What’s unique about Google Charts is its use of a data table object. This object is crucial as it forms the basis of the chart by defining columns and rows of data.

You can add as many columns as needed, remembering to match these with corresponding data in the rows.

The customization options in Google Charts are extensive. You can set chart options like title, width, height, and more, tailoring your chart to fit your specific needs. Whether you need to visualize data for:

  • Reports
  • Presentations, or just for
  • Personal analysis,

Google Charts provides the tools to do so with ease.

For those who are more advanced, Google Charts also supports mathematical functions and complex data sets, making it a versatile tool for scientists and students alike. Its compatibility with various operating systems and ease of export to formats like PNG, JPEG, and SVG adds to its utility.

10. Visme

Visme is revolutionizing the world of data visualization and graphic design with its easy-to-use yet powerful features. Ideal for non-designers and professionals alike, Visme is your go-to software for creating visually stunning content, from graphs and charts to infographics and beyond.

Imagine diving into a sea of templates, each meticulously crafted to meet various needs. Whether it’s a pie chart for a school project or a professional business presentation, Visme has you covered.

The software offers a wide array of templates, including documents like resumes and magazines, printables like flyers and menus, and even web graphics for blogs and emails.

Data analysis in Visme is a breeze. You can input data like in a spreadsheet and watch as it transforms into interactive, engaging charts and graphs. Collaboration is also made simple with features akin to Google Docs, allowing team members to seamlessly: 

  • View
  • Comment, and
  • Edit projects.

Exporting your projects is flexible with Visme. Choose from various formats like JPG, PNG, PDF, or even video. For offline presentations, Visme allows you to download your projects as PowerPoint presentations or HTML files, ensuring your animations and features are preserved.

Wrapping Up

The realm of free graphing software offers a diverse range of tools, each tailored to meet specific data analysis needs.

From the Python-friendly Matplotlib to the versatile Visme, these platforms provide powerful functionalities that cater to both beginners and professionals.

Whether you require intricate mathematical plotting, collaborative features, or extensive customization, there’s a solution for everyone. Embrace these tools to elevate your data presentation, making complex information visually compelling and easily understandable

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.