A word cloud is a graphical representation of words; it is used to create mental images of text. Word clouds are also known as Tag clouds and show the frequency of words or tags in a data set using font size and color.
Word clouds are also used to show the frequency of keyword tags on websites, for analyzing content in political speeches, for analyzing data and more.
Word clouds can be used to easily find the most important words in a large data set of words and for locating words alphabetically to know their relative importance.
In websites, the graphical representation of the free text are usually linked to items associated with the text for easy website navigation. In graphic design, word clouds are a type of weighted list which are used to represent relative city sizes on maps.
Word clouds were popularized when they began to be used on Web 2.0 blogs and websites to show the frequency of keywords in the website content and served as a website navigation tool.
Word clouds were used extensively by top websites like Flickr, Del.icio.us, Technorati and more at that time. When used on websites, word clouds are also called Keyword Clouds.
Word cloud overuse on websites caused user experience to drop and led to the removal of word clouds completely from most websites and a total stop in the use of tag clouds.
Tag clouds are now been used as text data visualization tools to determine importance of words based on a specific criteria such as word frequency for quick text analysis. There are new types of word clouds been proposed namely Parallel Word Clouds, SparkClouds and Prefix Word Clouds.
Word clouds are powerful tools for data analysis because they present visual representations of numerical data to show users information on which words have more weight and can help in quickly determining and showing important and less important data.
Word cloud colors also help users to see changes in data such as positive and negative changes, percentage changes and more, similar words can also be made to show close to each other in the word cloud. In data analysis, word clouds are called data clouds.
Word clouds also help kids learn better through creative thinking, they are used as teaching aids and prove very effective.
Word clouds are formed using inline HTML elements and can be shown in alphabetical, random and custom orders.
Arrangement of words in a word cloud is determined by attributes such as:
- Tag Ordering Rule – Alphabetical, Importance, Context, Random, Visual Quality, etc
- Word Cloud Shape – Circular, Rectangular, Irregular, Custom
- Word Bound Shape
- Tag Rotation
- Vertical Tag Alignment
Best Free Word Cloud Generators
Creating a word cloud is very easy as there are many free word cloud generators available online. These software are very easy to use, all you need to do is to visit the website and input the words you want.
Here is a list of free word cloud generators:
- ABCYa! Word Clouds
1. ABCYa! Word Clouds
ABCYa! Word Clouds software is mainly for teachers of kindergarten students. It is easy to use and allows users customize their word cloud using a toolbar, users can change font style, color and text layout.
TagCrowd tool is registration free and helps create professional word clouds. Users can copy and paste tags they want to use, choose a url to extract tags from or upload a file containing the tags. The word cloud generated can be optimized to show a specific amount of words, minimum word frequency, similar word grouping and more.
Tagul requires users to sign up after which they can upload words from URLs or copy and paste them. Tagui enables users customize fonts, word cloud appearance and colors
Tagxedo is a free word cloud creator which converts text into word clouds and allows users change the shape, font and perform other customizations.
Tricklar is a word cloud maker which has the capability of adding time to the word cloud in addition to features other tools provide. It is registration free and also offers appearance customization.
WordClouds is a free tool which offers the same functionality as most of the others mentioned above. It is very popular and allows users add links to words which is good for website owners who wish to use word clouds.
WordItOut tool allows users copy and paste text and generates word clouds afterwards, it allows background color, font size, font type and shape customizations.
Wordle word cloud maker allows users upload text or specify a URL as source for word cloud creation and sharing. Wordle also allows language, color, font type, font size and cloud shape customization.