Sometimes you just need to make a decent-looking graph, but don’t want to get bogged down in a complex spreadsheet app. Here are some free websites that let you create graphs, no matter what your experience level.
NCES Kid’s Zone: Great for Learning to Make Graphs
The National Center for Education and Statistics (NCES) has a great Create A Graph tool intended to help beginners get started making graphs and charts. And yes, it’s part of their “Kid’s Zone,” but don’t let that dissuade you. It’s useful for beginners of all ages, and it’s pretty nice for whipping up a quick graph. It’s totally free—and no user account required.
All you have to do is choose a design, and set a few options about the design style.
Give your graph some data—a title and labels, as well as the data that forms the actual graph.
Provide some information about labels, and set your font.
Preview the graph to make sure you don’t need to make any changes.
And then print, download, or email the graph to someone.
No, there aren’t a lot of options here and, yes, the graphs look a little basic. But it’s a super simple tool to use if you just need something quick or you want to practice your graph-making skills.
OnlineChartTool: Upload Your Own CSV Files
Online Chart Tool is a another free graph design site that you can use without having to sign up. It features 12 different chart types and a simplified interface that makes editing the style, format, and data a breeze.
Like the Create a Graph tool we covered in the previous section, it doesn’t offer a lot of bells and whistles and the graphs it makes aren’t super pretty. In fact, the process for creating the graph is pretty much identical: choose a design, add data, customize labels, preview your chart, and then save or share it.
However, one extra—and very useful—thing Online Chart Tool does offer is letting you upload data from a comma separated values (CSV) file. So, if you already have data in an app that lets you create a CSV file, getting that data into your chart is a breeze.
Charteca: Clean Interface and Lots of Public Samples
Charteca (char – teh’ – kah) offers a few more options for creating charts than our previous two entries. It also makes prettier graphs by adding some shading, 3D, and even movement options, along with some different ways of displaying legends and labels. The interface isn’t quite as intuitive as those simpler tools, but it’s also not too hard to figure out what’s going on if you’ve got any experience making graphs.
The other thing Charteca gives you is access to thousands of public sample graphs created by other users. And you can even modify those for your own use. It’s a great way to explore what’s available and plan your own graphs.
You are required to sign in to get started making graphs, but if you don’t have to create an account on the website, so sign in through Facebook, Google, Slack, LinkedIn, Windows Live, or Stack Overflow.
Free accounts are limited to having 20 charts at a time, so if you only need a few charts—or if you don’t need to keep a bunch of charts around for sharing—it’s just fine.
Plotly: For Experienced Chart Makers
Plotly is for the advanced user. It offers a much a wider range of graph styles and even some more advanced data visualization tools. Since it’s intended for people who are already comfortable creating graphs, there’s not a lot of guidance available. They assume you already know what you’re doing.
Don’t let this scare you off, though, because Plotly offers a search engine where you’re able to view examples of graphs other users have created, and even modify them for your own use.
Creating a free account is required in order to export the work you’ve done on the site, but it’s easy to do using a sign in partner such as Google or Facebook. A free account lets you create up to 25 graphs , share them with the public, and export them as PNG and JPG images.
Their paid tiers add additional features add the ability to share privately with teams, have a lot more graphs, and export to more formats. Those paid tiers are really intended for people who need to create and share graphs professionally.
Have another great online graph creation tool we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments section!