Infographic and timeline tools made easy

It’s one thing to know your story could use an infographic or a timeline, and it’s quite another thing to build one yourself!  So, here’s a look at two, free online sites that make building either a breeze.

The good folks at Northwestern University’s Knight Lab have created an open-source tool called TimelineJS that allows you create an interactive timeline as long as you know how to open a Google Spreadsheet.

TimelineJSIt’s designed to let  you pull content from sources like Twitter, Flickr, Google Maps, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Wikipedia and SoundCloud — with proper attribution, of course.  As long as there’s a URL for the media you want to use, you can plug it into the timeline.

The San Antonio Express-News used the tool to create a timeline in conjunction with a high-profile money laundering trial that began with events that took place in 2005.  Knowing the story stretched over such a long period, the news outlet knew a timeline was a natural way to bring the audience quickly up to speed.

When you want to take a multimedia approach to visualize data, offers another user-friendly tool. has been around for a little more than a year now and it offers you a plug-n-play way to create an easily embeddable visual element on your website.

You can display your data as a traditional pie or bar chart, as well as a line graph or pictorial, treemap or word cloud.  You can add quotes, photos, video, a countdown or text, adjust the size of the graphic and select one of several default themes.  Continue with the post to see an infographic Advancing the Story created in less than 15 minutes.


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