June 15, 2017 (Vol. 37, No. 12)


Strong Points: Nicely designed site, many stylistic options for charts
Weak Points: Limited features included in free version


Plotly is a beautifully designed, online data visualization platform that allows users to collaboratively create graphical representations of their data. With the free version of Plotly, all uploaded data are public; for enhanced features (including access to privacy controls) users must purchase a subscription plan. Personal subscriptions are $33 per month, though student memberships are only $5 per month. To start graphing one’s data, users can import CSV or Excel files, or they can upload their data via a URL. Example datasets are also included on the site to help familiarize users with the tool’s functionalities. The free version provides access to basic chart types like line plots and bar charts, as well as some statistical charts like histograms and box plots. More advanced features like animations, 2D histograms, maps, and 3D charts are only included with the subscription “Pro” version.

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