Here’s the deal:
Not everyone responds well to text. In fact, lots of people actually prefer to see things visually. So if you have some data or statistics you want to include in your next WordPress post, wouldn’t it be great to be able to display them visually straight from your WordPress dashboard? I think so.
I believe that so much that I conducted some very scientific (sic!) research to prove my point:
Sure, you could always create a graph in Excel and add it manually to WordPress. But Excel graphs are ugly, doing it requires opening another program, and uploading a static image makes it difficult if you ever have to update the data. If you want to keep your data and charts updated, it’s much quicker and easier to work inside your WordPress dashboard.
That’s what we’re going to get into today. I’m going to show you the 8 best charts and graphs WordPress plugins. They’ll allow you to easily and intuitively include tons of cool visual representations on your WordPress site. Use them to help visual learners and increase your credibility by making it easy for people to understand any statistics you have.
Let’s get into it:
Visualizer: Charts and Graphs
Visualizer: Charts and Graphs, now known as WordPress Charts and Graphs on the plugin directory, is a free plugin with a paid add-on. The free version will give you 9 different chart types, all rendered via HTML5 to ensure cross-browser display. You can customize the look of the charts in detail to ensure that they fit well with your website.
There’s also no need to type in your data manually, you can import straight from a .CSV file, or even from a Google Spreadsheet (super convenient!).
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If you’re willing to spring for the pro add-on, you’ll also be able to import data from other charts and edit live in an in-line editor. For most uses, the free version is all you’ll need.
Price: Free with paid add-on
WordPress Charts is another plugin that creates clean, responsive HTML5 graphs. Unlike Visualizer, WordPress Charts only gives you 6 options for chart types, though it’s got all the essentials. It also includes a built-in widget to easily include charts in your sidebar.
WordPress Charts is lightweight (only 4.5k when minified and gzipped) and the charts have great aesthetics. If you don’t need the extra features of Visualizer or other plugins and won’t get scared by WordPress Charts’ somewhat unfriendly user interface, it’s a great option. The 10,000+ active installs with a 4.7 rating prove it.
Data Tables Generator by Supsystic
Data Tables Generator lets you create interactive tables which can be turned into charts and graphs. With 10,000+ installs and an impressive 4.9 rating, it’s clear Data Tables Generator does this quite well.
Adding a table is easy to do in the plugin’s spreadsheet-like interface. You can preview the tables before publishing them so you know what they’ll look like.
You can then showcase these tables as a variety of charts and graphs. Unfortunately, this part is not free. It requires buying the Pro version.
So, if you need the feature of editing your tables inside WordPress’ interface before turning them into charts and graphs, you should spring for this plugin. If you don’t need that feature, you can probably get away with one of the other plugins.
Price: Free for basic, Pro version is $29 for a single-site license
RJ Quickcharts is another free option that creates beautiful HTML5 charts and graphs. The process for creating a chart is super quick and the charts are very visually appealing. You can also add tooltips and style the chart to fit your site.
RJ Quickcharts does have some downsides. Infrequent updates (last updated 1 year ago) leave it behind some of the other plugins, and only 3 chart options really limit your selection.
Still, for a free way to quickly create beautiful charts, it does the job well enough.
wpDataTables is a premium option at Code Canyon that’s packed with features. It lets you easily work with tables, spreadsheets, and, of course, charts and graphs.
You can import from a Google Spreadsheet, Excel, .CSV, JSON data, and more. It definitely has the most comprehensive data import system of any plugin on this list. Once imported, you can easily customize the design of tables and charts – no CSS needed.
Creating charts and graphs from tables is easy with the tool’s built-in wizard, and it wins again with the most comprehensive chart options to choose from. wpDataTables includes a total of 20 chart and graph types. If you filter or change the corresponding table at a later date, the charts will automatically update.
wpDataTables is definitely the most feature packed plugin on this list. But…that comes at a price. A regular license will cost you $35, so this plugin is really only for those who are willing to pay a premium for all those features.
If you want to read more on this plugin, read up on our review on wpDataTables.
M Chart was created due to a real need – journalists who wanted an easy way to display data in their posts. It may not have as many downloads as some of the other plugins on this list, but it’s regularly updated and does a great job at creating basic charts. Its 4.8 rating shows that the people who have installed M Chart are happy.
You can enter data in a spreadsheet-like interface inside your WordPress dashboard, and then render this data via the Highcharts chart library. It’s simple, but it gets the job done for free.
Responsive Charts is a paid plugin offering animated and responsive HTML5 charts and graphs. You can choose from 7 types of charts and include multiple charts on the same page. You can also include tooltips, which is a nice touch.
Importing from .CSV makes bringing in data easy, though I wish it could link directly to a Google Spreadsheet like Visualizer.
Responsive Charts is a nice option, but I’m not sure it does anything better than some of the free alternatives, which leaves me wondering if it’s worth the $15 price tag.
WP Business Intelligence Lite
WP Business Intelligence Lite lets you tap into your data to show real-time charts and graphs on your WordPress site.
You can create SQL queries in the admin panel that will pull real-time information from your database. Every time a user views your page, they will see the most recent data.
WP Business Intelligence Lite is great for anyone who needs live data reporting. The Pro version is pricey, so if you want all the features, you had better be prepared to pay.
Price: Free for Lite, Pro version is $199
If you just want a free solution with pretty graphs and a decent amount of features, you definitely won’t go wrong with Visualizer. If you need tables in addition to your charts, you may want to consider something like Data Tables Generator. For a super lightweight option, consider WordPress Charts. And finally, for a full-on, real-time business solution, you can give WP Business Intelligence or wpDataTables a try.
Have you used any of these plugins? Did we miss one? Do you take issue with my unscientific research on how people view charts? Let us know in the comments!