Another free and collaborative tool for creating interactive charts is Datawrapper, which has several advantages over Google Sheets. First, you can start creating in Datawrapper right away in your browser, even without creating an account, and its four-step process is intuitive for many new users. Second, you can add credit bylines, data sources, and even allow visitors to download your data from links inside your Datawrapper visualizations that you publish online, which makes your work more credible and accessible. Third, Datawrapper supports a wider array of interactive chart types than Google Sheets, as well as other visualizations we’ll discuss later, such as maps in chapter 8 and tables in chapter 9. You can build all of the basic charts we’ve constructed so far in this chapter, as well as three new types where Datawrapper stands out: annotated charts, range charts, and scatter and bubble charts. Later, you’ll learn how to embed interactive Datawrapper charts on your website in Chapter 10. Finally, we highly recommend the Datawrapper Academy support pages, the extensive gallery of examples, and well-designed training materials to help you and others learn beyond the basics covered here.
While Datawrapper is fabulous, it cannot fulfill all of your data visualization needs. You’ll still need a spreadsheet tool, such as Google Sheets, to organize and analyze your data as described in Chapter 3, record your detailed source notes and save raw data files as described in Chapter 4, and clean up your data as described in Chapter 5. While Datawrapper can transpose data (swap the rows and columns), it cannot create pivot tables or lookup and merge data from different columns, which Google Sheets and other spreadsheet tools can do. The main reason we start this chapter with Google Sheets is because it’s simpler for newcomers to use one tool for both spreadsheets and basic charts.
Now you’re ready to use Datawrapper to create new types of charts that step beyond the basics. But if Datawrapper or the chart types in this section do not meet your needs, refer back to Table 7.1 for other tools and tutorials, or prior chapters on spreadsheets, sourcing, and cleaning up data.