About Glimpse

Glimpse is an app for the Apple iPad that lets you transform your spreadsheets into dynamic interactive visualizations. You can import your spreadsheet into Glimpse files and assign visual encodings to the columns. Glimpse supports importing spreadsheet data from Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, comma separated values files, and SQLite databases.

Glimpse is a flexible visualization tool, so while it can create traditional charts like bar charts, line graphs, and scatter plots, it is not constrained by a rigid set of pre-defined charting types. Instead, Glimpse allows you to assign visual encodings to the columns in your spreadsheet. These visual encodings control how data points are displayed on the iPad, and include vertical & horizontal position, color, size, shape, and label. In addition, you can add columns to the variations encoding, which lets you create dynamic animations showing the changes to the visual attributes of the data points.

For a short video demonstration of Glimpse, please visit


Why Visualize?


Our brains allow us to very rapidly detect and accurately detect a limited set of visual properties by the low-level visual system. These properties are sometimes referred to as preattentive, since their recognition and limited analysis takes place before more complete analysis by conscious (attentive) processing.

This can be summarized by looking at the following two images, the first of which shows sales profit for a number of cities as plain text, and the second which shows the same data represented by a traditional bar chart. Which image allows you to most quickly determine the most and least profitable cities?