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What is a Wordle?

Updated on July 28, 2013


Wordle Info
What is it?
How do I use it?
How do I make one?

What is a Wordle?

This is a relatively new concept and I don't think it has even made it into a dictionary yet. A wordle is a cross between a mathematical graph, a word sort, and a form of art.

These are also referred to as word clouds. It is more than just words thrown into a cloud though because it does involve a bit of math.

The more a word appears in the text the more prominent the word will be in the wordle. The word will appear bigger in the images the more times it appears.

This is a visualization of the data that is composed in a series of text or list of words. There are many things that we discover from the number of times a word apears in the text. The program also has a process to take out the non important words like the, a, an, etc. This mathematical process is a great piece of programming.

Wordle -Constitution

A wordle of the United State Constitution
A wordle of the United State Constitution | Source

Wordle - the new word

Have you ever seen or heard of a wordle before?

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How can I use Wordles?

Wordles can be used in a variety of ways.

It shows a representation of words that were entered.
My current manager took notes in our yearly meetings and put them into a wordle to reprensent the things that were going right and the things that needed improvement in our part of the company. Words like "communication" become big and highlighted because almost everyone mentioned them. Interesting to see how some words were repeated over and over again by different employees. It was a nice anonymous to represent what was going on in our office.

A Speech from the Past as a Wordle

I Have A Dream Speech - Dr Martin Luther King Jr 1963
I Have A Dream Speech - Dr Martin Luther King Jr 1963 | Source

How do I make a Wordle?

To make a Wordle you need a copy of your text. Either copy and paste or type the text into the Wordle maker. The Wordle maker will give you a random selection of colors and presentation, you then have the options to change the color, format, or a different representation and placement of the words.

Make sure that you have java enabled and that your firewall is not blocking the website. I had some initial difficulty using the site on my computer at home because I had to download an up to date version of java in order for it to work.

Get creative and have fun creating Wordles!

Who created this?

Jonathan Feinberg is the creator of He created it in 2008 after created some of the algorithms in 2005.He has worked for IBM and currently works for Google. He also wrote a chapter about Wordle for the book Beautiful Visualization.


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