Anyone can make a chart. Load a dataset into some spreadsheet software, and there you go.
But not everyone can make great charts that are readable, usable, and beautiful. How do you get from boring defaults to insightful data graphics? What are the steps?
Great charts require both technical know-how and thoughtful design.
Based on my experience in both research and publication, I’ve made the process of advancing past defaults easier for you with a comprehensive collection of visualization tutorials, courses, and guides all in one place.
Membership gets you instant access. It also keeps FlowingData running, which is proudly a 100% member-supported site.
Here is what you get when you join.
Hundreds of hours of practical how-tos and design guidance, with source code and data.
Learn to visualize data, from beginner to advanced. Or, focus on specific data types.
An in-depth newsletter that provides practical guidance on how to visualize data, delivered to your inbox.
Full Archive Search
Quickly access thousands of posts and links on FlowingData, public and members-only.
Members-only links and guides focused on the how of visualization.
Ask questions. Get expert advice.
…the inspiration I needed to start learning to code with a view to building more sophisticated and engaging data visualisations.
Visualization in Practice
Learn with real data and concrete examples.
The best way to learn how to visualize data is to start doing it now. Make charts. Work with real data. Get expert guidance.
- Make great charts right away.
- Look at real data.
- Gain technical know-how and design skills required to visualize your data in a way that is both useful and beautiful.
- Experiment with how visual forms work.
- Learn how to negotiate between more efficient and more visually compelling chart types.
- Learn about how the charts get made instead of relying on templates.
- Download source code to apply to your own datasets.
- Support an independent site.
- Build the visualization skills that everyone with data wants. Become indispensable.
I teach a class on data visualization, and FlowingData has been a source of inspiration and provocative examples for me and my students. Nathan Yau creates discussion generating graphs, starts conversations about other noteworthy data and graphing efforts, and provides useful insights on coding and workflow.
Make Any Chart
Go beyond defaults with step-by-step tutorials.
There are over a hundred step-by-step tutorials — with more every month — amounting to hundreds of hours of learning.
The tutorials — covering a range of basic, to advanced, to my own visualization projects — walk you through step-by-step so that you can make data graphics for reports, presentations, and analysis.
I don’t just cover the mechanics of encoding data into shapes and colors. You will also learn how to design data graphics that speak to different audiences. You’ll learn how to make any chart. You’ll learn how to pick the right chart for your data and purpose. You’ll learn the steps to get from raw data to finished graphic.
Tutorials include datasets, source code downloads, and examples to work with.
Sample of the Tutorials
- Small Multiples
- Calendar Heatmap
- Beeswarm Chart
- Frequency Trails
- Network Diagrams
- Dot Density Map
- Voronoi Diagram
- Square Pie Chart
- Difference Chart
- Horizon Graph
- Working with Shapefiles
- Unit Chart
- Chord Diagram
- Custom Charts
- Making More Readable Charts
- Choropleth Map
- Animated Visualization
- Much more…
If you get stuck, there’s a section at the end of each tutorial to ask questions and see previous answers.
It’s not just how to press buttons or to copy and paste code. Instead, you learn how chart types and visual encodings work so that you can make any chart. Customize to your needs and apply in your own projects.
Even if you don’t have a specific chart in mind now, the ever-growing tutorials collection serves as a great reference.
I’m a frequent user of online classes and really value my FlowingData membership.
Learn the basics and then advance with the courses, at your pace.
If you don’t have a specific visualization in mind, and instead are eager to learn it all, membership provides bonus access to self-guided courses. Work with the suggested schedule or move at your own pace, with a combination of reading and practice exercises.
Visualization for Clarity
Learn how to get from spreadsheet or CSV file to polished graphics to present to an audience. It’s not about the tools. It’s about process.
Visualization in R, From Beginner to Advanced
Create basic charts, make use of visualization packages, map geographic data, and create custom graphics to use with your own data.
Mapping Geographic Data in R
Make beautiful and insightful maps that allow you to see spatial patterns across regions and are great for presentation and communication.
Visualizing Time Series Data in R
Everything you need to know to see and show patterns over time, from basic chart types to the more advanced.
Get the members-only newsletter covering the practical side of visualizing data.
Stay up-to-date with visualization tools, what’s new in the field, and learn how experts design data graphics.
It’s worthwhile to learn the principles behind visualization, but in practice, there are always tradeoffs when you design data graphics. The rules that you read in books usually work more like suggestions. The Process is a weekly newsletter for FlowingData members that looks more closely at how to apply what we know about visualization in your everyday work.
Where Your Support Goes
FlowingData started in 2007. It was a way for me to share interesting visualization and statistics things with a few classmates. The site grew, and I eventually found sponsors, but it always felt kind of weird. The sponsors could leave at any point, and FlowingData would die.
So I started memberships. Since 2018, FlowingData has been completely ad-free thanks to its generous members.
- FlowingData blog — a publicly available resource on visualization, statistics, and design, every weekday since 2007
- Tutorials — learning how to visualize data with a variety of tools, from a practical perspective
- Courses — detailed instruction from beginner to advanced
- The Process weekly newsletter — discussing what’s new in visualization and the design process of making great charts
- Data Underload — charts, analysis, and visual experiments exploring the everyday-ness of data
Your support as a member means FlowingData keeps the lights on, hopefully for years to come.
Hi. My name is Nathan Yau. I’ll guide you through the process of visualizing data.
I have a PhD in Statistics, with a focus on visualization for presenting data to non-professionals. I’ve been visualizing data for over a decade, and I believe that visualization is the best way to communicate data to everyone, regardless of background. I wrote two bestselling books on the topic.
I use charts for analysis, for reports and presentations, and for communication to a wide audience. My work leans towards practical but has also reached millions of people.
I was a winner of a FastCompany Innovation by Design Award for Graphic Design & Data Visualization; I’ve won Information is Beautiful awards; and I was featured in The Best American Infographics. I’ve worked as a researcher and for mainstream publications.
My books and tutorials on visualization are based on these experiences and have helped thousands advance past the defaults.
I’d be honored to be your guide.
What Others Say
FlowingData is a never-ending source of information, inspiration and instruction in data, visualization and design and Nathan Yau’s approach to exploring these subjects is both technical and familiar, somewhat similar to a discussion of a shared obsession over beers with a friend.
Andrew Sánchez Meador
The tutorials are very helpful to move from “Oooo, cool!” to how to actually DO the cool.
…one of the finest resources on visualization…
…I wish I had time to read it all.
As a student who is just getting into the game of visualization (and plans to continue), it has been very helpful to be able to have a closer look behind the scenes.
I think of your weekly emails as lessons that I actually take notes on every week and apply the knowledge I learn to my actual job as a data analyst… The membership fee is more than worth it for the information and education you get…
We generate a lot of data (a large forensic pathology practice), and have found [FD membership] very useful to explain the public health and nosological problems.
I love being a member of FlowingData because you just can’t beat Nathan’s approachable and easy-to-follow tutorials – they’ve saved me so much time. Plus, he always has his finger on the pulse of the data viz community so having access to all of his posts and the weekly newsletter is a MUST for me!”
I’ve used skills from the visualizations both for internal tools at work, as well as for public facing visualizations.
Questions and Answers
Can I cancel my subscription at anytime?
Yes. There is no minimum subscription length. Membership auto-renews. Cancel anytime via your profile with a few clicks, hassle-free. There are no refunds.
Do I need to know how to code first?
Nope. Tutorials are self-encapsulated and take you through step-by-step. While some tutorials are more advanced and it can help to have some experience, I try to make the topics approachable for various backgrounds. You can also work through the courses first, which assume minimal coding experience.
Do I need to buy any software?
How is this different from your books?
Data Points and Visualize This provide overviews of visualization, whereas tutorials on FlowingData are more specific and code-centric. The collection of tutorials and courses is also constantly growing. If you read the books (thanks!) and are ready to make all the charts, the tutorials and courses will get you there.