Excel vs. Tableau vs. R
We are hard core believers that you should become the master of the tools you own. If your company relies on Microsoft, figure out how to use Excel to make amazing data visualizations. If your company invested in a site-wide license for Tableau, climb over that learning curve and master it. If you are working within a round number in your budget, like ZERO, and relying on free software such as R, become its master. Work whatchur mama gave you.
It doesn’t matter to us what software you use, so long as the visuals you create from it are awesome. We show folks how to make awesome graphs and dashboards in all three of those platforms at the Evergreen Data Visualization Academy and in our Graph Guides program.
We know from experiences developing graphs and dashboards in multiple platforms that each program has its strengths and its confusing idiosyncrasies that make it a pain in the neck. It’s funny, some people like to think “oh this software makes doing X really hard” so they’ll switch to another software where now X is easy but Y and Z are mysteriously horrid. Every program has its trade offs.
To help you know what you are getting in to, at the Academy, we give every tutorial in a ninja level rating. That’s our way of telling you how hard it is going to be to make a particular graph in the program you chose. A 1 means it is super easy to make that graph, and a 10 means it is pretty hard (but possible!).
The table below lists our ninja ratings for some of the many tutorials in the Academy. Listen, ninja ratings are subjective. And rated by those of us who have some experience at this, thinking about what it would be like for a newbie. Even with those caveats, you can sort and compare the ratings to see where things are harder and easier in each program.
|Auto-Populate Office Documents||3||coming soon||7|
|Back to Back||3||8||4|
|Bar + Vertical Benchmark||8||2||2|
|Choropleth, Tile, and Hex Maps||3||4||10|
|Dashboard Automation||9||coming soon||9|
|Dashboard with Filters||7||4||9|
|Diverging Stacked Bar Graphs||9||4||6|
|Filled Intersect Line Graph||8||6||9|
|Horizontal Dumbbell Dot Plot||9||10||5|
|Interactive Heat Maps||8||3||9|
|Line to Area||1||3||3|
|Nested Area Graph||3||coming soon||8|
|One Page Handout||3||5||7|
|Overlapping Bar Charts||5||4||7|
|Pull In Pictures||8||3||4|
|Setting the Scale||5||2||1|
|Slide Handouts||3||2||not possible?|
|Small Multiple Bars||3||2||7|
|Sparklines & Indicator Dots||1||7||8|
|Vertical Dumbbell Dot Plot||4||10||4|
When folks join the Academy, they watch a few of our orientation videos, learn my 4 step process for making graphs, and then dive in to lessons with a ninja level they are comfortable with, tackling more complex tutorials as they gain more skill. Everyone gains several ninja points with us, sometimes racking up points in different software.
In our Graph Guides program, we build you a customized path through these tutorials (and the dozen or so we’ve added since we published this post) and test you at the end – you master graphing in one year.
Want in on the action?