Create Infographics for Free: A Review of the Top 5 Free Online Tools
The maxim “a picture is worth a thousand words,” is one reiterated time and time again. Apparently the online community has finally taken the adage to heart – in the past two years tens of thousands of infographics have flooded the web, visually eviscerating every topic from business telecommunications history to entrepreneurial characteristics to Star Wars. Infographics are a powerful link-building tool and should be part of every SEO and marketing manager’s arsenal, but they can also be a very expensive tool; Visual.ly designs professional infographics for clients starting at $4,000. Fortunately free infographic creation tools abound and my efforts to jump on the infographic bandwagon gave me the opportunity to sample five of the top online tools.
Below are my favorite infographic tools that not only have extensive features, but they are easy to use and are – for the most part – free!
Beginners who crave simplicity will love Easel.ly’s intuitive design tools. It’s also one of the few tools that give you full access to its features completely free of charge.
- It’s completely free; all you need to do is register and start creating
- There are tons of easy-to-use design features: Easel.ly has the most visual elements of any free infographic creator with 15 “vhemes” (professionally designed themes) to choose from, objects with a multitude of categories, and over 24 backgrounds
- You can upload files to the infographic to insert your own images, graphs, and charts
- Though there are 3 canvases to choose from (landscape, portrait, and mobile), there is no way to change the canvas size
Ideal for those considering regularly producing high-quality infographics; you can start with the limited free service then upgrade to an account with more themes and features for $29 per month.
- The free account includes 6 quality themes (a number that may grow over time) and over 60 graphics that can be dragged and dropped onto the canvas
- You can upload up to 5 images in the free account and create charts by uploading a CSV file or manually inputting data
- Very intuitive and simple to use
- The free account has quite a few limitations; for instance you cannot change the canvas size or upload more than 5 images
Perfect for those wanting to display their Excel data in a more sophisticated and interactive medium. Like Easel.ly, you have full access to features free of charge; however, an Infogr.am store is in development so that may change in the future.
- You can create infographics, graphs, pictograms, and charts in Infogr.am by uploading CSV files or manually entering data
- You can increase the size of the canvas by adding more graphs or images
- It’s completely free and very easy to use
- It is in the beta stages, so it can be buggy. Infogr.am has a contact form if you need technical support or have any other questions
This tool is tailored specifically to be a report creation tool for business professionals. A free basic account is available, but you can also upgrade to a professional account for $20 per month.
- They have well-designed report templates designed for finance, marketing, and sales reports that are easily reformatted to suit your needs
- There is a plethora of graphics to choose from, including 28 big-brand logos, like Twitter, Linux, and Google Chrome
- You can upload XLS files to create infographics, charts, graphs, and pictograms, as well as upload images from your computer or the web
- Editing colors and objects is not as intuitive as the other tools
Though you cannot create infographics in Visual.ly, the site is an infographics goldmine; according to the site, it is the “largest visualization showcase in the world.”
- You can submit infographics you’ve created to the site to be perused and used by others, which is valuable for getting exposure and building links
- You can browse over 20,000 infographics and embed them in your website for free
- Visual.ly will create a free, personal infographic of your social media presence from Twitter or Facebook accounts. It’s a neat tool, but also a creative marketing ploy
- You cannot create your own infographics using this tool, but the designers at Visual.ly will design one for you starting at $4,000
Forging your own path with PowerPoint
If you desire a great deal of control over the look and feel of your infographic, designing one in PowerPoint may be the route for you. I followed HubSpot’s “Marketer’s Guide to Creating Infographics in PowerPoint” to create my first infographic (see the results here) and it was fairly easy to do, but my lack of design experience made the process a bit time-consuming and tedious. I only recommend it for those with a great deal of PowerPoint and design experience or people patient enough to learn.
- You have more control over the design of the infographic
- There are tons of free online design tools, such as Inkscape, Gimp, OpenClipArt, and Creately, to help you create custom graphics
- Putting the slides together in Pixlr gives you a tremendous amount of control over the canvas size and shape
- Depending on your PowerPoint and design skills, the creation process can be very time-consuming
All-in-all, infographics seem to be a wave of the future coming to fruition with the advent of social media. Interestingly enough, infographics are not a new means of information transmission at all, and have actually been around for hundreds of years. Check out some of the most influential infographics of the 19th Century, here via FastCompany Design.
Ready to share your infographic? These free infographic directories should be the first you submit your infographic to.
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