According to Microsoft Research, “NodeXL is a powerful and easy-to-use interactive network visualisation and analysis tool that leverages the widely available MS Excel application as the platform for representing generic graph data, performing advanced network analysis and visual exploration of networks.”

NodeXL is a free, open source software platform for analyzing and visualizing networks. It was designed for users with relatively little programming experience.

Furthermore, NodeXL integrates seamlessly into Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010, and opens as a workbook with worksheets displaying the elements of a graph structure including edges and nodes. With NodeXL, it’s a snap to can import a variety of graph formats such as edgelists, adjacency matrices, GraphML and UCINet.dl.

NodeXL provides users access to several sets of prebuilt class libraries using a custom Windows Presentation Foundation control.  You can also develop .NET assemblies as plug-ins to bring in data from external data providers. Current NodeXL data providers include major social media and internet firms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia and Microsoft Exchange Server.

The NodeXL team (including Stanford, Cornell, University of Maryland and Oxford) is also undertaking research in a variety of areas, including:

1. Algorithms for Network Analysis — determining the most appropriate metrics for understanding networks

2. Sociology — research into the nature and structure of communication in science

3. User Experience/Information Visualization — research in optimum UI/UX workflows for network analysis research

4. Network Analysis Toolkit — developing tools designed for the study of social network structures, social media and other network structures.