What’s a word cloud?
Ever noticed a large number of words arranged randomly either horizontally or vertically? Well that’s a word cloud. It’s also called tag cloud. It’s usually used to depict keywords / tags on a website, but these days it has even made way into presentations and tees. It’s I remember designing a t-shirt for an event where I used a word cloud / tag cloud and people really liked it because it was different and they had never seen that concept being used in t-shirts before. Usually the words are arranged randomly, but they may be given different colors to separate one type from another and different sizes to separate more important words from the rest. Here are few sample word clouds you may want to see –
#1 Simple Word Cloud #2 Colorful Word Cloud #3 Word Cloud in a Shape Well these are just a few types you might find on the web. You may of course come out with something else. So how to make a word cloud?
How to Make a Word Cloud?
While using Photoshop or Ms. Paint is a way, it’s time consuming. You may spend an entire day and end up with something you don’t like. Of course Photoshop gives you more room for effects, but requires a lot of work on your part. So if you are a lazy ass you should consider using a word cloud maker. I’ve listed 5 of them below. Have a look, try and choose the best.
Word Cloud Creator
It’s a simple tool to generate word clouds from chunks of text that you provide. It gives more weightage to words that appear more than the rest. You can use different fonts, colors and layouts to get the perfect word cloud. Wordle requires Java to function. So you might well want to install the latest version of Java to use Wordle. You can either paste words to be included in the cloud or paste a URL and Wordle will pick the most used tags on its own. You can configure every aspect of the tag cloud which include language, font, layout and color scheme with this awesome word cloud creator!
Tagxedo is a simple word cloud generator which enables you to create stylish word clouds from news articles, websites, Twitter profiles, RSS feeds and more. You can even paste text to be included in the tag cloud. Tagxedo runs on your browser and needs Microsoft Silverlight to function smoothly. It allows you to customize font, theme, color, orientation and the shape. You can create variations and see them as thumbnails and pick the one you like the most and continue working on it. It not only allows you to use the pre-loaded fonts, but also allows you to use fonts from DaFont, FontSpace and Font Squirrel. You can also get a shaped word cloud using the few pre-loaded shapes or if you’ve an image you can use it as a shape too.
Once your design is ready, you can either save it as an image or order it on a t-shirt, mug, mousepad and even a bag for as low as fifteen dollars!
Tagul is a free web service enabling you to generate gorgeous word clouds. Tagul requires you to register on their site before you start making any word clouds, but let me tell you it’s worth it and its probably the last word cloud maker you’ll ever use. With Tagul you can do everything you could do with the previous two tools. In addition to that, you can also have words inside words, add fancy rollover effects, export in various formats. You can use the word cloud freely for personal use and alternatively purchase a commercial license for $5 per word cloud and if you want you can order mugs, shirts, mouse pads from Tagul store.
TagCrowd is another word cloud maker enabling you to create word clouds from any text. You can either type or paste desired text, upload a text file or mention a URL. TagCrowd automatically visualizes all the words according to word frequency. TagCrowd allows you to set the language to be ignored, set the maximum number of words in the cloud, hide infrequent words, hide or show the word frequencies, group words, convert to uppercase or lowercase, hide specified words and more. The interface is a bit odd and I could find some bugs, but other wise TagCrowd is good.
WordItOut unfortunately doesn’t offer a lot of features. You can paste text, a document, a webpage URL and the word cloud will be automatically generated. It unfortunately doesn’t allow you to customize color and font. So if you are looking to generate a word cloud quickly and customization isn’t an issue, you should give this word cloud creator a try.
ABCya is basically a collection of educational computer games for kids, but they also provide tools that may be of use for teachers or parents to teach their kids. ABCya word cloud generator is very easy to use. You simply have to paste three or more words and you are good to go. It allows you to modify the number of words that are displayed in the word cloud, filter words (keep words like you, if, on, etc. out of the tag cloud), randomize, choose font or color and more. It’s a flash based online tool so you may need the latest version of flash player to use it. If you use Chrome or Firefox, it’s already there.
ToCloud is a free word cloud maker which works directly from your browser without an additional plugin like Java or Silverlight. ToCloud displays the word cloud right next to the configuration box. It doesn’t allow you to save the tag cloud. However you can take a screenshot. If you want you want you can get the HTML code for the word cloud to display it directly on your website or blog. It’s highly unattractive.
Wordaizer is a product of Mosaizer. It’s a freely downloadable software you can use on your computer without a browser or any additional add-ons or plugins. It requires no java, no silverlight, no Microsoft framework and still works flawlessly. It’s fast and even works without an active internet connection. There’s no size limit, you can get high resolution bitmap pictures, you can either save the word clouds or print them directly. You can alternatively save your word cloud in vector format so in case if you later need to enlarge it, you can do it without compromising on image quality. It’s probably the best out of all the eight-word cloud makers we have mentioned in this post.
Well that’s it. There are several other word cloud makers I came across, but I didn’t consider mentioning them because they were highly similar to the ones already mentioned here or had bugs. If you feel I missed a tool which deserves a mention here, let me know and you might see it on this post.