You’re better than defaults. Learn to make beautiful and useful data graphics today.
Practical how-tos with source code and data.
Learn to visualize with R, from beginner to advanced. Or, focus on time series and spatial data.
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.
Improve your visualization skillset while saving time for better results.
You also get ad-free reading for a more focused experience and a warm fuzzy feeling from supporting an independently-run FlowingData.
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. Look at real data to see how visual forms work and how to negotiate between more efficient and more visually compelling chart types.
Improvement comes with experience.
And this is how I approach FlowingData courses and tutorials.
I explain how a method works, provide you the tools — which includes source code in R and D3.js — to get your stuff done, and then provide you with a wrap-up so you can apply what you learn to your own data.
The advice in the how-tos are based on my own experiences as a statistician and on projects for both web and print.
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.
Get the members-only newsletter covering the practical side of visualizing data.
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 an in-depth newsletter for FlowingData members that looks more closely at how to apply what we know about visualization in your everyday work.
I publish about 1,500+ words every Thursday to evaluate visualization tools, discuss what’s new in the field, and offer my own experiences with working with data.
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…
Follow step-by-step examples to make the data graphics you want for reports, presentations, and analyses.
The tutorials are very helpful to move from “Oooo, cool!” to how to actually DO the cool.
Learn to make beautiful and useful visualizations.
There are over 100 detailed tutorials — with at least one new tutorial each month — amounting to hundreds of hours of learning. Mostly in R and D3.js, the tutorials walk you through step-by-step so that you can make a countless number of data graphics for reports, presentations, and analysis. Tutorials include data to work with, source code downloads, and examples to work off of.
If you get stuck, there’s a section at the end of each tutorial to ask questions and see previous answers.
The goal for every tutorial is not to just show you how to make a chart type and throw up some code on the screen. Instead, we explain how things work so that you can make data graphics, customize them to your specific data and needs, and learn how to make any graphic later on.
There’s that saying, “Give someone a fish and you feed ’em for a day; teach someone to fish and you feed ’em for a lifetime.” We do both. We give you the resources to make your charts quickly and then teach you how to do it yourself so that you become the resource.
In 2016 I had to learn how to do visualizations in R as well as teach others some best practices in a matter of weeks for a project. I signed up for and went through Nathan’s program in about 3 weeks to learn the basics. I then used, and continue to use, his other tutorials as a way to enhance my skills. The lessons were the right level of detail and the examples interesting to try to replicate. I’m a frequent user of online classes and really value my FlowingData membership.
Start with the basics. Advance.
If you don’t have a specific visualization in mind, and instead are eager to learn it all, these self-guided courses are for you. Work with the suggested schedule or move at your own pace.
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.
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.
Mapping Geographic Data in R
Make maps that allow you to see spatial patterns across regions and are great for presentation and communication.
Who I Am
I’m Nathan Yau. I have a PhD in Statistics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and my speciality is data visualization. I’ve written two bestselling books on the topic — Visualize This and Data Points.
I started my visualization career in graduate school, where I primarily used charts and graphs to analyze data. Since then, I’ve traveled the full spectrum of visualization for exploration, use in everyday apps, marketing, data presentation to a wide array of audiences, and data art. I’ve worked with large publications, consulted for various businesses, and I have an appointment with the United States Census Bureau.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the data, and the more people who understand data the better. There are many ways to achieve this through visualization, and I approach tutorials, courses, and guides with this in mind.
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 inspiration I needed to start learning to code with a view to building more sophisticated and engaging data visualisations.
…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.
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.