Visualizing data using DataWrapper

DataWrapper is an online tool that helps anyone to create embeddable charts in minutes.  The main advantages of using data wrapper are:

a)      It is easy to use. It saves on time needed to create an embeddable chart.

b)      User has full control. It is free software. You can choose to use their online hosted server or download and install on your PC.

c)       It is easy to customize. Users can customize layout, fonts and colors to match their website.

With DataWrapper, you can create a chart in a few steps.

Using DataWrapper, I have been able to jump through steps using the buttons provided. There are two buttons labelled “Back” and “Revert” .You do not have to complete one step for you to go to the next. You can skip to the next step then click on the Back button to go back to the previous step. The changes are automatically saved. For example, i was able to click on the Visualize button without filling in the Source and the Link text boxes then later use the Back Button to go back and fill in the information.

We are going to go through a step by step process of creating a visualization using DataWrapper.

For this tutorial, we shall use a data set on pre-mature admissions in Regional Kenyan hospitals, which is in Excel file format.  You can download the dataset here.

1)      Prepare and clean data.

Ensure that there are no empty spaces in your dataset. Data can come from a Google table. The best results are achieved with a cleaned data set. Data should be free of formatting, dots or comma separators in the numbers and even currency symbols.

2)      Login or sign up to DataWrapper.

Open your browser and go to Click on Login if you already have an account or sign up to get one.

3)      Click on create a chart as illustrated below;


4)      You will get a screen like the one below prompting you to upload your data.

Upload Data

This is the data upload screen. You can either choose to paste your data or upload a csv file.

Open the downloaded excel file then copy all the contents (CRL+A) and paste (CRTL+V) in the textbox as shown below:

Paste data

DataWrapper will automatically organize your data into a table. Check that the displayed in the subsequent screen is in the correct format.

Describe Data

At this point, you have the choice of transposing the data. What this means is that rows and columns will be switched like in the diagram below:

Transpose Data

Credit the source of data and if possible provide a link to the source data.

Credit Source

Click on visualize. If everything is ok, you will get a screen with your first visualization.

The drop down will contain a list of possible fields which can be visualized. visualize

Try to select a different field from the drop down and see what happens. The visualization changes according to the selected field.

Field Selection

You can also select a different kind of chart to use for different visualizations. For example we select the column chart. The result is like below:

Column Chart

We are now ready to refine our chart. Click on the Proceed button. Here you can choose your custom colors. Choose a base color or define your own color.

Refine Chart

Next click on proceed.

Now its time to summarize your story. Fill in the two text boxes. Tell the story in five words and guide the audience through how to read the chart. See diagram below:

Tell the Story

Next click on Publish. You will get the embed code which you can paste into your website or blog. Alternatively, there is a link which you can send via email. See diagram below:


Publish VIZ

That is how DataWrapper can be easily used to visualize data in four steps.

For more resources on how to use DataWrapper, please visit the DataWrapper website.

For a video tutorial on how to use DataWrapper, please visit YouTube.


Daniel Cheseret
About the Author: Daniel Cheseret
Few developers in Kenya would consider applying for a data journalism fellowship but not Daniel Cheseret. Having realized that the growing importance of data journalism has created new career opportunities in the newsroom, he applied for Internews Data and Health Journalism Fellowship. I will learn more about producing infographics, data mining and creating news applications,” says the software, developer and webmaster. Among his achievements is developing a news management software for Citizen TV. While working with Royal Media Services, the company that owns Citizen TV, he developed over 10 websites for the group. After five years he left to start a consultancy firm.
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