May 15, 2017 (Vol. 37, No. 10)
Strong Points: Wide variety of visualzations available, provides sample data
Weak Points: Detailed instructions unavailable, can be difficult to use
So-called “publication quality” graphs are almost never the direct product of basic spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel; rather, researchers often export graphs and charts to a vector graphics editor like Adobe Illustrator to format them for publication. RAW Graphs is an open-source, online data visualization platform that aims to cut out the middleman by quickly generating beautiful data visualizations from user-inputted data. Those data can be uploaded as a file (e.g., .xlsx or CSV), uploaded from a URL, or simply copied and pasted from a spreadsheet application. From there, users select a chart, specify the axes/dimensions from their inputted data, and customize their visualization by inputting additional parameters. The resulting visualization is immediately displayed on the screen, so users can adjust parameters and see the results in real time. The website also includes a blog, a gallery of users’ visualizations, and a link to the documentation on GitHub.