Venn diagrams are an effective way to visualize the relationship among sets. A Venn diagram is a group of circles, each representing a set, and the areas where they overlap represent their common values. Here are the best tools to create a basic three-circle Venn diagram.
Microsoft Office is probably the most popular tool to make basic charts and graphs. Though they don’t offer much, PowerPoint, Excel and Word are familiar and most people are comfortable with them.
If you only need a simple three-circle Venn diagram for illustration purpose and already have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, why not make use of it? Here’s a quick guide:
- In PowerPoint, Excel or Word, select Insert > SmartArt Graphic > Venn diagram.
- A template will pop up, all you need to do is fill it in with relevant information: labels, group sizes, intersection size, etc. Go to Insert > Text box.
- Tip: Use Excel to count common values in 2 groups (intersection of the circles). The function is: =SUMPRODUCT(COUNTIF(range1, range2)). For the intersection size and common values among 3 groups in Excel, check this out.
- Familiar and easy to make simple Venn diagrams.
- Though it is technically possible, making proportional Venn diagrams in Excel is truly a pain. Consider alternatives such as BioVenn, R, or BioVinci.
- Not free.
Best for: Making simple Venn diagrams; users who already installed Microsoft Office.
BioVenn is a free web application for making proportional three-circle Venn diagrams. It offers an impressive range of options to customize the diagrams, like colors, font sizes, font types, image sizes, and image formats.
The interface, however, is not very friendly. You have to import separate files for each group, or copy data in manually. Also, BioVenn does not support making 4-circle Venn diagrams, or any other types of charts.
- Can make proportional three-circle Venn diagram.
- Does not support other chart types, or Venn diagrams with more than 3 circles.
- Importing data is cumbersome.
Best for: Making proportional Venn diagrams with up to 3 circles.
Meta-Chart has a lot to offer. This web-based platform lets you make three-circle Venn diagrams and other types of visualization for free. Meta-Chart is capable of making proportional Venn diagrams with as many sets as you wish.
Meta-Chart does not have the option to import files, and you’ll need to manually input group sizes and intersection sizes, as well as other chart information. Besides, we find Meta-Chart’s customization options somewhat strange. You can change the border and background colors, but not the colors of the circles. You cannot display the set sizes and intersection size either.
- Many visualization options.
- Capable to make proportional Venn diagrams.
- Must input data manually.
- Limited customization options.
Best for: Making Venn diagrams that have simple input data and don’t need much customization.
4. Venneuler package
Venneuler package allows you to draw Venn diagrams in R. First, use Excel to calculate the overlap in 2 groups:
Then transfer the numbers straight into package. For example:
v = venneuler(c(A=10, B=11, C=13, ‘A&B’=1, ‘A&C’=13, ‘B&C’=4, ‘A&B&C’=1))
Obviously, this is the way to go if you are using R. It’s free and powerful. The main downside is, there is a steep learning curve if you are not familiar with R or uncomfortable with code.
Best for: R users.
BioVinci is probably the best data visualization app out there. It can draw all sorts of charts, including proportional Venn diagrams, three-circle Venn diagrams, and 4-circle Venn diagrams. It is super quick and easy to use — all you need to do is to import data file and click a couple times. The result graphics are gorgeous and publication-ready. Sure, you have to pay to use BioVinci, but it is worth it, especially if you need to visualize complex data on a regular basis. BioVinci can also run statistics and plots like nobody’s business (3D-PCA plot, anyone?).
- Powerful, capable of making any types of visualization.
- Full range of customization options.
- Code-free, user friendly, very easy to use.
- Paid app.
Best for: data analysts, scientists and users who want to produce professional graphics.