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Guide to Data Visualization

Network Analysis

What is Network Analysis?

Network analysis examines relationships between different entities, such as collaborations between researchers, interactions between genes, or communications between people in a company. It can be used for a wide range of purposes from simply studying the structure of a community to solving complex math and engineering problems through graph theory

Network visualization is the visual component to network analysis. There are a wide variety of network visualization types to choose from depending on what type of data you have or what types of relationships you want to show.

Tools for Creating Network Visualizations

screenshot of a node-link diagram made with Gephi


Gephi is a free, open-source desktop visualization tool that specializes in network visualization and analysis.

a node-link diagram made with node xl


NodeXL is an add-on to Microsoft Excel with a free plan. It allows you to create various node-link diagrams using Excel spreadsheets. Unfortunately, it is only compatible with Microsoft Windows versions of Excel.

a tree diagram made with raw graphs


RAWGraphs is a web-based tool that creates visualizations from copied and pasted data or uploaded files. Made with D3, RAWGraphs is not entirely focused on network visualization. However, it does have a number of options for visualizing hierarchical data and flows.

a node-link diagram made with vos viewer


VOSViewer is a network visualization tool specifically developed to aid in examining bibliometric networks, such as collaborations between researchers and relationships between publications.

Network Visualization Examples

a node link diagram about game of throne discussions on twitter

A node-link diagram published by Twitter.


a chord diagram visualizing global economics

A chord diagram published by BBC news.


a sankey diagram showing energy distribution

A sankey diagram published by the International Energy Agency.