Monday, February 15, 2016

The Wonderful World of Word Clouds

Word clouds are a wonderful thing.  They take paragraphs of text and turn them into analytical artwork.  Many of you are familiar with common word cloud creators like Wordle and Tagxedo, but unfortunately for those of us living in the chromebook world, these sites won't work.  This snag led our amazing building tech, Joshua, on a quest to find some word cloud creators that will work well on the chromebooks so our teachers and students can continue to build their beautiful work art.  Below you will find the results of his quest...

Tagxedo doesn’t work in Chrome, and Wordle is finicky. What to do? Try another word cloud creator, like www.wordclouds.com. You’ll be greeted with a generic word cloud. No sign-in necessary.



Your first step is to add some text to the word cloud. Click File>Paste/Type text:



This opens a window for entering your words. This takes text from anywhere, and the more times a word occurs in the text, the larger it will appear in the finished cloud. You can just type some words, or copy and paste text from another source. In this example, I have copied a page of information from another Tech Tip. Select your text and right-click>copy:



It works best to right-click in the text area and select Paste as plain-text:



Click Apply and your cloud words will fill in. From here you can get creative with colors, shapes, backgrounds, masks, etc. All of these options are in a toolbar near the top of the window:



The big slider changes the overall text size. Here I have chosen a color theme, a font, a shape, and to have the mask “on”. When I adjust the slider position it goes from an unfilled shape:



To a fully filled shape:



To save the image or print it out, go back to the File menu. there are several choices, but Print or Save as PNG would be the two most recommended. Once you click one of those options it will either download the image, or open the print dialog.

Here is an example of the same text in another shape, mask, and text orientation:



You can also try tagul.com It has a larger selection of fonts, and can save your creations for later re-use if you log in with a Google account. The downside is, high resolution downloads cost $, and the editor isn’t as easy to use. Here’s a Tagul:


For all our elementary teachers out there who want something quick and simple for their students, ABCya.com offers a word cloud creator that is quick and easy to use.

First add your text (either copy and paste, or type in)
  

Click the play button at the bottom.  Your word cloud will be automatically created.  You can now use the tool bar to change things up.  This is definitely not as full featured as the above tools, but it is quick and easy.


Thank you Joshua Enos for putting together this great tip!  We are lucky to have you here at PPS.

Now I know you are all going to dash off to your computers and start building beautiful word clouds to express your individual interests and spice up the spaces of your classrooms.  Enjoy!