what is data representation in computer

Data has become the master of the world we live in, so it is not exaggerating to say that it is the oil of the twenty-first century, and therefore any area related to it, such as data representation, is of very great importance.

This huge data available today has become the engine of all our activities and businesses, from e-marketing to the development of self-driving cars and aircraft.

So, in our article today, we will talk in detail about the representation of data, which is the magical tool through which we can make numbers speak and reveal to us all their secrets.

Increasingly we now need to study and understand huge amounts of data and turn them into facts, information or stories for other people to understand.

We will discuss this in detail in this article, and we will review all the things you need to know about data representation… Read on and you will find all the information you need on the topic.

What is data representation?

Data visualization is the graphic or visual representation of information and data in the form of visual elements, such as: charts, maps, etc., through specialized tools.

There are many definitions that describe data representation, but they all have in common that they mean converting data into easily readable visual forms or images.

Data representation is an art in which the specialist or programmer tries to weave the meaning behind this data into a visual image to tell a story.

With the advent of the era of big data , there is a need to provide tools that can make it easier to read millions of pieces of this data and come up with an idea from it.

Of course, reading this data manually is almost impossible, so we created a set of tools and practices that can read and express this data called data visualization.

There is always a story behind these tons of data, and the job of representing the data is to reveal it or in other words to let that story unfold itself.

One of the funny definitions I came across is that data representation is a tool for communication between data and humans, so that data is translated into concrete facts, and its patterns are revealed.

The importance of data representation

I do not want to prolong this point, although it deserves an article on its own, as data representation is indispensable in any field or industry, especially if it is exposed to technology and therefore numbers and data, which is as long as you live in the same era of our time almost all fields and industries.

Whatever your job, you will need to somehow represent the data; Whether you are an online marketer who wants to track your ad campaigns and see if they are successful or not, or you are a content writer who wants to tell a story with this data.

We can summarize the importance of data representation in several points:

1. Provides fast and clear data analysis

Instead of getting into a lot of complicated and technical details, you can simply represent it in a chart, temporal or geographical format, to convey your idea to anyone you interview.

It is also known that a picture is worth a thousand words, and data representation saves you a lot of time, effort and words.

2. Pattern recognition and handling

Pattern recognition is very important in many areas, such as sales, marketing, customer service, etc., which increases the importance of data representation.

Instead of talking in a boring, complicated, and stressful way about the frequency of a certain pattern of data and its significance in your business, you can summarize it all with a graph showing the frequency of patterns in your data.

3. Facilitate decision-making

This is very important especially in the fields of finance and business, with the use of data representation, decision makers will have all the information and facts they may need to make decisions.

Which helps institutions and startups to make decisions, and make more successes, which is why companies are flocking to data representation professionals because this constitutes a very important investment for them.

4. Storytelling

Creating and telling stories is one of the most important benefits of data representation, if not the most important one at all. Whether you are an investor or a researcher, you will need to represent data on an almost daily basis.

Because of the importance of this, many non-programmers have even learned simple data representation tools in order to master this skill.

Types of data representation

There are many classifications through which it is possible to come up with several types of data representation, you can divide them according to the type of form you are using or its function, and there is the classification that we will follow here which is the simplest.

This classification divides the representation of the data into five basic categories, each of which is then further subdivided into smaller categories:

1. Temporal data representation

This classification is concerned with dealing with data that deals with time or has temporal significance. It is a linear classification with one dimension, sometimes consisting of separate single lines or overlapping lines.

So that this classification represents the starting point in time and the end point, and the development that occurred during this time period, and it is used frequently, especially since it can express the increase, decrease or acceleration of data in general, and not limited only to time.

There are many forms of temporal data representation, but the most popular are:

  • Scatter Plots
  • Line graphs
  • Time series sequences
  • Polar Area Diagrams

2. Geospatial data representation

This type of data representation is more related to places and geographical distributions or even distributions in general without linking them to place, as it distributes data in a geographical or spatial way.

This type is widely used in various aspects of life, whether when talking about government projects, political changes, elections, marketing, or hundreds of other matters.

It is ideal when showing density, distribution, or similar matters, and because of the great need for this, it is one of the most important and famous forms of data representation, and its famous forms are:

  • Flow Map
  • Heat Map
  • Density Map

3. Hierarchical data representation

You will surely come across this type often during your studies or during your work, as this type of data representation is concerned with the arrangement between groups.

Where it arranges groups or formations into large sections with small sections inside smaller sections and so on, it collects different information.

Despite the simplicity of its idea, these forms can be very complex, or at least express a lot of complex data, and the most important forms are:

  • Ring Charts
  • Tree Diagrams
  • Sunbrust Diagrams

4. Network data representation

This type of data representation is also very popular and used, and there are many fields and sectors such as scientific research that rely on it very much.

It is able to show the relationship of a set of data to other sets of data in a form or a reticle.

It is often used in order to clarify the relationships between data – especially large data between them – without the need for textual explanations, and its most famous forms are:

  • Matrix Charts
  • Word Clouds
  • Node-link Diagrams
  • Alluvial Diagrams

5. Multidimensional data representation

This type of data representation deals with data that needs to be represented in two or more dimensions, or in other words made up of two or more variables.

Due to the complexity of the data we obtain in recent times, this type of data representation has become very popular in all technical, scientific and commercial circles.

Among the most popular forms of this type are:

  • Venn Diagrams
  • Pie Charts
  • Stacked Bar Graphs

5 most used data representation formats

It is difficult to talk about all forms of data representation, if not impossible, there are dozens and hundreds of them that professionals use on a daily basis.

There are a number of different divisions that we can deal with with data representation, such as: function such as distribution, segmentation, comparison, and others:

In the next part of the article, we will review the 5 most used forms of data representation, which are:

1. Histogram

A histstogram is a form of data representation that distributes data over several periods or parts of time, so that each part or bar expresses the value during that period.

Through histograms, we can know the concentration of values ​​and data and their distribution over time periods, and note any abnormal values ​​or gaps in the data.

Histograms are usually used to compare or distribute data over time, identify patterns, or know the range, and are used to study the distribution of probability.

In short, it is recommended to use histograms in the case of comparisons between data over a period of time or in order to distribute that data, and it is not recommended to use it if there are three or more variables in the data.

2. Heat Map

Heat maps are a form of data representation that is widely used in almost all fields.

It shows the relationship between two components, and it puts a percentage and evaluates this relationship or connection in terms of whether it is high or large through the concentration of the colors used in it.

This color dependence gives us an amazing visual image that we can understand without the need for any words or numerical data alone, and it can also explain the change in values ​​in a simple and easy way.

These heat maps are used to compare data and identify patterns in the data, as well as to show relationships between different data sets.

3. Friend Diagram

Venn Diagrams are a form of data representation that we’ve all used and studied at different levels of school.

Through these diagrams, we can display the data and the logical relationships between them in a very simple and easy way.

Venn diagrams are used for comparisons, presentation of concepts, and to show relationships, especially logical ones.

These diagrams are simple and able to display the most complex logical relationships simply and easily, which is why they are widely used in almost all fields.

4. Bar Chart

Bar charts are horizontal or vertical columns in order to display numerical and numerical comparisons of the data under study.

Perhaps this type of chart is one of the most popular forms of data visualization because it is very distinct in comparing and identifying patterns in the data.

5. Tree Map

A tree map is a popular form of data representation that is used to show relationships between data with multiple variables.

So tree maps are usually quite complex and consist of many layers to show the hierarchical relationships between the elements.

Tree maps are used to compare, illustrate hierarchical layers, demonstrate the part-to-a-whole relationship, and segment data.

Most popular data visualization tools

There are dozens of tools that data visualization professionals use almost every day, perhaps one of the most used is Excel, and I think no one reading this article is unaware of this program.

Therefore, I will address the other four tools that are popular after Excel:

1. Google Charts

Google Charts is one of the most powerful free online data visualization tools that specializes in creating interactive charts that are placed on the Internet.

With it, you can display and extract dynamic data in several formats, for example HTML5 and SVG, to work on browsers without any other plugins.

One of its advantages is that you can provide it with data through several sources, such as: Google Spreadsheets, Salesforce, or even through other SQL databases.

This tool has a lot of data visualizations that you can use completely free of charge, and there are dozens of explanations online that will help you use it.

2. Python programming language

Python is one of the most powerful and most popular programming languages ​​ever, and it is one of the most widely used languages ​​in the field of data science, data analysis representation.

It is the most widely used language today in data visualization, thanks to Python libraries very powerful

Some of the most popular data-representational Python libraries are:

  1. Matplotlib
  2. Plotly
  3. Seaborn
  4. GGplot
  5. Altair
  6. Bokeh
  7. Pygal

3. Tableau

Tableau is the most powerful and widely used data visualization tool ever, and it is on top of your choices for the best data visualization tools.

The tool is available in several forms, whether a computer version, a server version, or an online version, and it also has a free version for users.

The tool features hundreds of data representation options that will help you deal with the most complex and largest data, and the tool has many explanations on the Internet.

4. Infogram

Infogram is a tool for beginners that helps them to easily generate figures and charts for data without programming or even technical skills.

The tool contains more than 35 types of charts and 550 types of data maps that you can use without any advanced skills of any kind.

It works by drag & drop, and allows its user to put it in many formats, such as: PNG, PDF, GIF, HTML, and others.

The tool also provides several WordPress plugins that help integrate data representations visualizations into WordPress blogs .

Learn to represent data

Learning to represent data is usually part of learning science or data science, so you often come across this when studying any data science course or course.

There are a number of courses that I can recommend to you in order to start learning this very important field:

1. IBM Data Science major on Coursera

This major or professional certificate from the leading company IBM is one of the best options available to anyone who wants to learn to represent data professionally through a professional data science major.

This 10-course specialization – which takes about 11 months to complete, with an average of 3 hours per week – puts you right on the path to becoming a professional data scientist.

This is by starting with you from scratch until it trains you in the Python language and provides you with the theoretical framework for data science, and then trains you on the skills, techniques and tools you will need through to the graduation project at the end of the specialization.

2. Dedicate data representation using Tableau on Coursera

This 5-course specialization offered by the University of California helps you master data representation using the famous tool Tableau, and requires you to complete it for 6 months, with an average of only 3 hours of study per week.

3. Data representation course using Excel on Udemy

I recommend this course if you need to represent data, but you are not good at programming and do not want to learn any programming language, this course depends on teaching you everything you need to know about data representation using Microsoft Excel.

The course is of medium duration, its scientific material is only 5 hours, and its rating is 4.6 out of 5, and it is generally one of the most popular data representation courses on the Udemy platform .

4. Data analysis and representation course using Python on Udemy

This best-selling course comes from the famous Jose Portilla, and has a rating on the site of 4.4 out of 5 based on 16,000 reviews out of more than 170,000 students who have taken this course.

The course duration is 21 hours, and includes everything you need to know about data analysis and representation, from NumPy library and Pandas to working with data and data visualization to machine learning .

5. data Udacity

This course from the famous platform Udacity has become one of the popular options to start learning data representation. In addition to the high-quality scientific material, it provides you with a number of projects throughout the study period, which makes you gain the skill for real.

The duration of this course is 4 months, and the average study rate is about 10 hours per week, but before signing up for it, you must have some knowledge of data analysis.

You can also check out these famous blogs in the field of data representation

  • Storytelling with Data
  • Information is Beautiful
  • Blog Table


Data representation is one of the most important fields in the twenty-first century, especially with the data revolution and the boom of big data and the Internet of Things .

In this article, we have taken you on a journey – I hope it will be interesting – about data representation starting from its definition through its great importance in various fields, and even how to learn this important skill.

If you have any questions or inquiries regarding the topic of our article, you can ask it in the comments box, and we will respond to you as soon as possible


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