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How to create word clouds using Wordle

Updated on August 12, 2012

This Article's Word Cloud

The text in the first capsule of this article
The text in the first capsule of this article

Discover the power of Words

Being a writer, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the domination of images and video on the web. We are in an age of multimedia, for sure so when I discover tools around the internet that helps push the power of words to the foreground, I like to let other writers know. One such tool is a site called Wordle that you should check out. From their intro page, this simple but powerful tool is all about "generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text."

Just provide the URL for any blog or RSS feed and this program creates marvelous word clouds that you can custom format for font, alignment and color and then display for others to enjoy. Alternatively, you can paste text into an entry box and generate a cloud just based on that content. The word cloud at the top of this hub is from the text in this first capsule!

Please note that all word clouds in this article were generated using Wordle.net

Wikipedia blog word cloud

Wikipedia Blog topics (a lot of them and you can see the Wiki diversity of topics) - this is the message of this cloud: far-ranging information on many diverse topics.
Wikipedia Blog topics (a lot of them and you can see the Wiki diversity of topics) - this is the message of this cloud: far-ranging information on many diverse topics.

Effective Word Cloud Usage

Word Clouds can be effective ways to communicate the main topics of a blog, or to test just how many themes you have going on at once, as the tool sorts words according to the frequency of usage. However, there is the danger of making the cloud a useless and confusing jumble of disjointed and unrelated words and ideas.

The other option is to select words and paste them into the Wordle box, rather than letting the tool sort out a RSS feed. This allows you to selectively create a more consumable word of graphic design, based on the content of a key article or other similar source. It is up to you to use this tool as a effective way to communicate.

To save your cloud, just use a screen capture to save your design as a graphic. You can also post your cloud on Wordle, print or share for all the world to see. As for rights to the word clouds, here is the guidance from the Wordle FAQ on ownership:

"Yes, you may make money off of Wordle - You may take a Wordle, put it on your book cover, Your T-shirt, your campaign poster, what have you..."

Business Insider's Word Cloud

Here is the feed from businessinsider.com, just as Usain Bolt won Olympic gold. This is an example of using the cloud format to highlight a popular, real-time event dominating the RSS feeds, capturing a moment in time.
Here is the feed from businessinsider.com, just as Usain Bolt won Olympic gold. This is an example of using the cloud format to highlight a popular, real-time event dominating the RSS feeds, capturing a moment in time.

My writer's blog site word cloud

My personal writer's blog, with the strong message of my topics about personal escape, financial freedom and (in small print) a new mystery I am developing.
My personal writer's blog, with the strong message of my topics about personal escape, financial freedom and (in small print) a new mystery I am developing.

The Onion Word Cloud

The silliness of the fake news site, The Onion, with stories about the Florida Marlins and their new waterfront park. Due to the satire content of this site, the cloud may not be cohesive or even make any logical sense, but that is The Onion.
The silliness of the fake news site, The Onion, with stories about the Florida Marlins and their new waterfront park. Due to the satire content of this site, the cloud may not be cohesive or even make any logical sense, but that is The Onion.

MarketBOB movie review site

My film review site about movies and how they make us feel and thus, how they reflect our mood when we make decisions about money and our future optimism.
My film review site about movies and how they make us feel and thus, how they reflect our mood when we make decisions about money and our future optimism.

Word Cloud Final Thoughts

So, there you have some examples and an idea of "how to" get started. You are only limited by your imagination and the ideas you create as you link words together. In our multimedia world, words are taking a back seat to images, but this is one way to reclaim the visual power of words to speak directly to us in an immediate and compelling way.

Try it. You may be surprised at the results.

Comments

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    • Anjo Bacarisas II profile image

      Anjo Bacarisas II 

      6 years ago from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

      LIKE it so much, I should also try this.. So interesting, voted up!

    • ciprica profile image

      ciprica 

      6 years ago

      Haha, Thank you, is awesome!

      Before reading this post I used to arrange words with Photoshop. It takes 10 times more time.

    • DakshaDesign profile image

      DakshaDesign 

      6 years ago from Chandigarh, India

      I've read this nice blog. the articles at this blog is very beautiful. The information are also so interested

      Thanks for sharing

    • MarketBOB profile imageAUTHOR

      Craig Forgrave 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the comment and yes, give it a try, you'll be surprised how great it makes your words look.

    • profile image

      masmasika 

      6 years ago

      Amazing hub. I heard about wordle before but I never tried to try it so may be i should try it now and see how it works. Thank you.

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