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Turn Data Into Visuals: 28 Apps that Generate Reports and Charts

Aja Frost
Aja Frost / February 16, 2016

Humans love patterns—in fact, our superior ability to process patterns is what sets us apart from other species.

We still need help drawing conclusions from data, though. That’s where reports come in: They provide a visual overview of information, From summarizing work expenses to recapping research findings, reports help sort connect the dots.

But no one has the time to dig through data, make charts and lists, and turn every single project and activity into a report. That's where these 28 apps can help—they create reports for clients, team, and yourself in minutes.


The Best Tools to Build:


Graphical Reports for Clients

You've worked hard to land a new client, and need a presentation that will close the deal. Or maybe you've labored over a client's project for a month, and need a quick way to show the progress you've made.

Text won't cut it. You need a visual report that turns numbers something that everyone will understand at a glance. For those times, these are the apps to use.

Sushi Status

Sushi Status

Let’s face it: many clients and team members will merely skim your status report, or even ignore it entirely.

Sushi Status solves this problem with streamlined, easily comprehensible reports. In other words, you can make reports people will want to read.

To compose a new report, just drag and drop the elements for your report (text block, timeline, checklists) into the order you’d like. Choose a color scheme, add a logo, and even pull in data from Basecamp or FreshBooks. Then, select your recipients and send it off.

Sushi Status Price: Free for first project, $29.99/month for 10 projects

Piktochart

Pictochart

Although primarily known as a platform for designing infographics, Piktochart is also a fantastic tool for reports.

The free version gives you ten customizable templates. Although they each have different layouts and color schemes, every report is designed to print out onto two sheets of Letter-sized paper.

Piktochart gives you lots of freedom to play. Upload files; add text, maps, videos, and charts; change the color palette; incorporate graphics; even change the background.

Once you've got a design that works for this project, you can save it as a template—which means generating a new version for a different client will be a breeze.

Pictochart Price: Free; $15/month for advanced features

Sway

Sway

This new report app, from the Microsoft Office family, will make your clients think you have some serious design skills, even if you don’t know Photoshop from Photo Booth.

Sway allows you to make interactive reports, complete with charts, videos, web content, social media posts, and basically anything else you can think of. Plus, every report is responsive, so it’ll look great on your phone, laptop, tablet, or desktop.

The built-in design engine tries to come up with a design that fits your report automatically, but if you want a different theme, all you have to do is press "Remix" and it'll try again.

Sway Price: Free

Raven

Raven

Working on improving a site's marketing? Raven's automated marketing reports will keep you focused on your marketing work, while still impressing clients with well-designed reports.

Here’s how easy the process is:

  1. Land a new customer.
  2. Log into Raven.
  3. Add the customer, and customize the analytics they’ll get (including SEO, social media, and PPC Adwords data)
  4. Schedule the reports—from daily to quarterly

With the reporting out of the way, you can focus on what really matters: the results.

Raven Price: $99/month for 4 users; $249/month for unlimited users

Use Raven Tools integrations on Zapier like these to automatically add keywords to Raven from forms, calls and more:

Zoho Reports

Zoho Reports

Want to create a free-form report? Zoho Reports is a tool that'll work for everyone.

It gives you a ton of freedom to create reports about anything. Import data from any source (including hosted and in-house business applications) and easily create a visual summary, using charts, pivot tables, and Excel-like data representations. The collaboration feature is also a nice extra, as it makes developing reports with a coworker easy—something most design tools don't include.

Zoho Reports Price: Free for 2 users; from $50/month for 5 users

See Zoho Reports integrations on Zapier

SmartDraw

SmartDraw

SmartDraw is a fantastic resource for creating professional-looking diagrams, charts, and timelines. It’s a visual processor—the world’s first, in fact.

Just like a word processor automatically applies a format to your text, SmartDraw automatically applies a format to your data visualizations. It comes with hundreds of templates and examples to get you started.

Plus, it integrates with the Microsoft Office suite. Let’s say you’re working on a report in Word; once you create a drawing, putting it in your report takes just one click.

SmartDraw Price: $99 for cloud-based version; $197 for Windows version; $497 for Enterprise edition

LucidChart

LucidChart

SmartDraw isn’t your only option, when it comes to quick designs. LucidChart, a diagramming tool, also gives a variety of design options for diagrams.

However, unlike SmartDraw, LucidChart is a web app, one designed for teams. You can share your work with others, comment about what needs changes, and revert to old versions of yoru designs if you need.

LucidChart reports are embeddable, so you can effortlessly drop them into a wiki, website, or blog. When you edit a report on the LucidChart site, your changes will instantly show up on the embedded version.

LucidChart Price: $4.95 for basic, single-user account; Team accounts from $20/month for 5 users

Measureful

Measureful

Wondering how your ads are performing? Measureful is an app to turn that data into a report. It connects with your ad accounts, including Google Analytics, Facebook, and Google Adwords, to bring all your marketing efforts together.

After pulling all your data together, Measureful performs its own analysis. You can then choose the metrics that are shown, select a design, then upload your logo and add any additional commentary you want in the report. The finished product is a beautiful PDF with your own logo and branding.

Measureful Price: $49/month for 10 reports; $99/month for 50 reports; $249/month for 150 reports

WebMerge

webmerge

One of the simplest ways to make a report is to drop numbers and graphics into a Word document, but even that can take time out of your day. WebMerge can handle it for you instead. Add your document templates to WebMerge, then send in data from your apps, and WebMerge can turn it into completed documents automatically.

You can even set up complex delivery features. Let’s say you offer five services, and you need to send a different version of your contract depending on which service the customer is buying. WebMerge will automatically send the correct one. Or maybe you only want to send a client brief to one sales rep, not all 10. That’s easy to do.

WebMerge Price: From $29/month for 30 documents per month

Check out our WebMerge review for more details, or use WebMerge integrations on Zapier like these to create reports from forms, payments, sales and more:

Internal Reports for Your Team

Your internal meetings may need some graphics and charts as well, but what about the data that's reported outside of meetings? Perhaps you need to know what your team's working on without bugging them for status reports every day, or just want a quick way to see your company's sales this month. These tools will help.

Status Panda

Status Panda

If you’re tired of bugging your team members for updates, Status Panda could be the app for you.

Say you’re currently managing four projects. You can set different check-in times and frequencies for each member of each project; maybe you need an update from Chris every morning, but one update per week from Jen is totally fine.

Status Panda will email your team members, get their updates, then sends you back a summary report. Since it works over email, there’s no onboarding required—and your coworkers will never have to leave their inbox.

Status Panda Price: Free

Report HD

Report HD

For on-the-go visual reports, use Report HD. Just open the app, take a picture, then overlay it with notes or sketches.

Then, add your logo and set a footer to turn the image into a report. Upload it to Dropbox or Evernote so you can reference it later, or email it directly to your teammates. It's not as professional looking and polished as the visual report apps above, but it's a quick and easy way to add a bit more detail to graphics.

Report HD Price: Free

UpdateZen

UpdateZen

If you're already used to Twitter's short messages, UpdateZen is another great tool to keep up with what everyone's working on. Like Status Panda, UpdateZen asks each project member for an update, but there’s a twist: responses are capped at 250 characters.

Your team members have to write less, you have to read less, and it's easier to list what you've done when you have to keep it short. Then, in the app, you can sort updates by project, date, or team member, which makes finding the info you need easier when you need more than just the report.

UpdateZen Price: $11.99/month or $99.96 per year

Weekdone

Weekdone

Need reports faster? Weekdone turns your team's status updates into daily newsfeed or a weekly email report—your choice. The summary gives you a quick overview of what's been accomplished at the top, followed by more detailed feedback from each employee.

Weekdone follows the PPP model: plans, progress, and problems. Employees describe their objectives for the week (plans), their completed tasks (progress), and their delays or issues (problems).

Everyone can interact within the report, so if an employee is struggling with a particular assignment, coworkers can comment with suggestions.

The Weekscore feature is also really helpful for managers. It uses employees’ responses to calculate how “healthy” your team is; this will alert you to dips in morale and show you the trends in your team’s success over time.

Weekdone Price: Free for up to 3 users; from $49/month for up to 10 users

Use Weekdone integrations on Zapier to log events, published blog posts, tasks and more to your Weekdone report:

Sprintboards

Sprintboards

Asana is a great tool for managing your team's tasks, and Sprintboards can turn those tasks into a report in just a minute.

You can then save a one-page report about any of your Asana projects, perhaps to let your client know how your work on their site is coming along.

And you don’t have to worry about constantly making new boards. When you make changes to a project in Asana, just click “Update” on the corresponding Sprintboard, and it’ll reflect the most current version.

Sprintboards Price: Free in beta

10at10to10

10at10to10

If you're using the Agile project management system, you'll need a tool to keep track of what's discussed in your daily stand-up meeting. That's what 10at10to10 is designed for.

Every team member shares three things: what they did yesterday, what they did today, and what’s stopping them from getting something done. It'll then turn it into reports, ones you can use to share with team members who are out of office, or to help you remember where to start back tomorrow.

10at10to10 Price: Free in beta

iDoneThis

iDoneThis

iDoneThis is an inverse to-do list: it focuses on what you've accomplished, not what's left to do. Each day, it will email asking what you've completed. The next morning, it'll send a followup email, showing what you and your teammates have gotten done.

The simple email will free up the time you would otherwise spend in weekly or daily status update meetings, while still keeping everyone in the know. And if someone's stuck—or has done an exceptional job—you can chime in with a comment from the iDoneThis web app.

iDoneThis Price: $9/month per user for Standard, $22/month per user for Plus

Check out our iDoneThis review for more info, then use iDoneThis integrations on Zapier to log completed tasks, code commits, tracked time and more automatically:

HeyUpdate

HeyUpdate

Another similar app is HeyUpdate, a progress reporting platform great for remote teams. Each team member answers a single question: “What did you do today?”

The next morning, HeyUpdate sends a summary of what the team accomplished by email or to your Slack channel. And “morning” doesn’t mean “morning for Joe, who lives in Boston, but night for Allie, who’s in Thailand.” The app works with each person’s time zones, so updates are delivered at the right time across the world.

HeyUpdate Price: $5/month per user

Cove

Cove

Tracking OKRs—or “Objectives & Key Results”—can be a highly effective way to keep your team members both on track and motivated. Cove can help you get started.

With a Kanban board style interface, Cove lists your team's objectives (perhaps “Exceed Q2 Revenue Targets” or “Offer Faster Customer Support”). Underneath each objective, you can assign specific goals to team members for a big picture of how your team will accomplish those goals. Each week, Cove will then send you a report on your team's progress.

Cove Price: $5/month per user

Birdly for Slack

Birdly

If your team already relies extensively on Slack, then you're likely already using and integrations to find files, check the news, and more. Birdly for Slack can help you track expenses and turn them into reports, right from Slack.

Just add a picture of receipts or invoices to Slack, and Birdly will analyze and process the expense. It can also remind everyone each week or month to add their expenses. You can set up a multi-stage approval process, and even customize which currencies are supported.

Birdly updates each team member’s expense report in real time, so managers and individual employees can always get an up-to-date idea of their expenses.

Birdly Price: $5/month per user basic plan; $9/month per user for advanced features

Expensify

Expensify

For more expense report features, Expensify is another great app that's even easier to use. Employees can link their personal and corporate credit cards for automated expense tracking. When they use cash, inputting those transactions is as easy as snapping a photo of the receipt.

Then, using your company’s accounting policies, Expensify auto-categorizes each expense, and turns them into reports. Admins can process hundreds of reports at once; centrally administer and reconcile all company card transactions, at any time; and reimburse team members via ACH Direct Deposit, PayPal or payroll.

Expensify Price: $5/month per user Basic plan; $9/month per user Corporate plan

Geckoboard

Geckoboard

Whether you already have a data-driven culture or are trying to build one, Geckoboard’s beautiful dashboards and reports can be insanely useful. Connect it to your apps and data sources, choose the metrics you want to display, and you'll have a detailed dashboard to put on a TV in your office.

Whether you're tracking signups, sales, or your support queue, Geckoboard makes it easy to track the most important numbers for your business. You can even make extra dashboards to keep track of each department's important numbers and data on their own boards.

Geckoboard Price: From $49/month for 1 user and 2 dashboards

See Geckoboard integrations on Zapier

BrightGauge

BrightGauge

Still haven't found the reporting tool for your data? BrightGauge just might work, as it aggregates data from all your sources, including your CRM, help desk, network, security program, finance software, and project management tools.

Then, you can filter the data to find just what you want. Say you want your team members to see these six metrics in a dashboard, your client to see a different six in a PDF report, and your project manager to see all twenty metrics in a detailed report. BrightGuage can create them all from one app.

BrightGauge Price: From $199/month for 1 admin and 2 data sources

Individual Reports for Yourself

Reports aren't just great for tracking others—they're a perfect way to keep yourself motivated. Since you don’t have time to track everything and turn it into polished charts and graphs, these apps do it for you.

Retroospect

Retroospect

We tend to judge our weeks by how much we accomplished, but what if you've had a few bad days? Your mood can sharply change your productivity.

Retroospect puts the focus back where it belongs—that is, on your happiness. Each week, you answer five simple questions about your stress level, professional relationships, personal growth, etc. Retroospect tracks your responses, and helps you identify trends and areas for improvement.

Not only are the insights super applicable, but knowing you’ll be asked to reflect on your mental health will make you more mindful all week.

Price: Free for individual users; from $5/month for 5 users

Reporter

Reporter

If you want more insight into why you feel what you do when you do, try Reporter. Two or three times a day, it’ll send you a short survey with questions like, “Who are you with?” and “What are you doing?” Thanks to the app’s autofill and smart suggestion feature, answering is a breeze.

Once you’ve given Reporter some data to work with, it’ll start revealing patterns and themes you may have never picked up on. To run your own analysis, just export the data as a CSV or JSON file—or even save it to Dropbox.

Reporter Price: $3.99

Gyroscope

Gyroscope

When it comes to your health, it’s frustratingly easy to get off track. However, Gyroscope will keep you in the game—both literally and figuratively.

The app pulls data about your activity and movement from the sensors and apps you’re probably already using: Instagram, Twitter, RunKeeper, Apple Health, Moves, Foursquare, Jawbone, and Fitbit.

Every Sunday, Gyroscope sends you a summary of your health, productivity, and top moments from the week.

Your info is automatically private. However, if you’d like some accountability, you can also add your friends or even turn your account into a public website.

Gyroscope Price: Free basic plan; $7/month for Pro

RescueTime

RescueTime

While most people think of RescueTime as a productivity tool, its core feature is reporting. This tool monitors how you’re spending your time on the computer: which applications you run and which websites you visit, for how long.

The resulting info is enormously helpful. You can, for example, see that you spent 30 minutes answering emails, 55 minutes writing code, and a whopping 45 minutes browsing Quora. For the websites (like Quora) that you realize are killing your workday, RescueTime has a handy “focus” feature that’ll let you block them for a given period of time.

Then, each weekend, RescueTime will let you know how productive you were this week in an email report.

RescueTime Price: Free for RescueTime Lite; $9/month for Premium

Check out our RescueTime review for more details, or use RescueTime integrations on Zapier to add emails, completed tasks, notes and more to your daily reports:

Moodprint

Moodprint

How often do you pause and think about the emotions you’re experiencing right that moment? Probably not enough. When you ramp up your self-awareness, you boost your ability to act rationally, not emotionally.

And that’s why Moodprint is such a useful tool. At random times throughout the day, it emails you asking, “How’s it going?”

You can respond with as many emotions as you want, even adding some context like, “Just learned project would be delayed.”

The system will regularly categorize your moods, create a color chart to depict your emotional trends, and send the report to your inbox.

Moodprint Price: Free

WakaTime

WakaTime

Software developers will really like this time-tracking tool. Once you install the open-source plugin, WakaTime will start measuring your progress. You’ll get real-time metrics per project, file, branch, commit, feature, operating system, and editor/IDE.

The language dashboard tells you how much time you spend coding in each language, while your productivity dashboard tells you how efficient you are.

Every day (or seven, if you’d prefer), the app sends you a summary of your activity.

And, fun bonus: WakaTime has productivity “leaderboards” so you can compete against other users. Whatever works to get you motivated, right?

WakaTime Price: Free; $9 per user/month for data exportation and unlimited history, $12 per user/month for team dashboard and project privacy settings

Take Your Reports to the Next Level

Now that you can create a beautiful report in minutes, it's time to start making reports on more things. Here are some ideas to get started:

The worst thing about reports is the time it takes to make them—but with these tools, that's no longer a problem. See how you can put some of these tools to work in your next reports, and let us know your favorite report generating tools in the comments below.

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“Zapier is the extra team member at our agency linking our systems together and managing the push and pull of data.”

Alex Minchin, Managing Partner at Zest

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