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Using Word Clouds

October 22, 2009

In a word cloud graphic, the relative occurrence of each word in a text is represented by size – words appearing most often in the text show up the largest in the picture. Tag clouds are a variation of this, using the descriptive words found on many social media sites. For this post I used to create a word cloud of the text in our blog at this moment [click illustration to enlarge].


Nik Peachey has a useful blog post with ideas for using word clouds in teaching and learning. One of his strategies is to create clouds of two different texts and compare them. He also suggests making a word cloud of a poem. is free and easy to use – just enter text or a web address and click “submit.” After the cloud is created you can customize it (color, shape, etc.), then save it on your computer or print it out.

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