Compare the best word cloud generators

What follows is my humble account of tooling around with some of today’s best word cloud generators.

You should know that I’m not a word cloud expert. I’ve never heard anyone describe themselves that way. But I do appreciate a colorful, aesthetically sound explosion of words. Let’s find out which tool will give you the best bang for the least effort.

A quick note on pricing: some entries on this list let you pay for special features, such as high-quality image downloads of your word cloud. I didn’t drop a penny on any of these generators. Everything discussed here comes at no additional cost to you.

Before we dive into which is the best word cloud generator, here’s a summary of what each one offers:

 Multiple fontsEmoji supportCompound wordsCustom shapesCustom colorsWord filtering
WordArt
WordClouds--
Wordle------
J. Davies------
ABCya!----
TagCrowd--------
WordItOut--
Tagxedo--

 

WordArt.com


wordart.com word cloud example

WordArt.com (formerly Tagul) creates stunning images, and is easily one of the best word cloud generators listed. You can upload an image and use it to set the shape of your word cloud. In the example above, I choose a coffee cup image I found online, entered my words, and hit Visualize. That’s it. The generator automatically selected colors based on my original image. If I wanted to, I could tweak it a bit with a different font, or change the orientation of my words. But this first draft already looks impressive.

 

WordClouds.com


wordclouds.com word cloud example

WordClouds.com has a little text balloon that pops up asking if you need help creating your first word cloud. It’s a nice touch, and helps make this generator one of the most user-friendly on the list. The interface feels modern and is easy to navigate while still offering a lot of customization options. However, I did run into a minor hiccup after uploading my coffee cup image as a custom shape. Unlike WordArt.com, WordClouds.com does not automatically duplicate words that you submit to fill out an image. I had to do that manually. It wasn’t difficult, but as you can see the results are a little less… refined.

 

Wordle


wordle word cloud example

Wordle strikes a nice balance of simplicity and customization. It doesn’t have all the frills of other generators listed (no custom shapes, for example), but what it does have is very simple to use. My favorite feature — one I wish all the generators had — is a ‘randomize’ button that scrambles the entire cloud with a single click. Tap it a few times, and you quickly get a sense of what you can create with this tool. Wordle’s main drawback is Java. Since Wordle requires Java to function, getting it running on certain web browsers can be difficult.

 

Jason Davies’ word cloud generator


Jason Davies' word cloud example 2

Jason Davies’ word cloud generator is an odd one. It feels more like an interactive science fair project than a data visualization tool. While every other entry on this list is chiefly concerned with making your words look pretty, Davies’ lets you dig into the math that controls the placement of words. Would you rather have an ‘Archimedean’ or ‘Rectangular’ spiral to your cloud? If you already know the answer to that question, then you’re sure to enjoy Davies’ detailed breakdown of how his generator works (complete with further reading for the word cloud aficionado).

 

Abcya.com


ABCya’s word cloud generator is more toy than tool. It feels like a simplified version of WordCloud.com, sacrificing all but the most basic customization options for a kid-friendly interface that’s easy to use. You can whip up a basic word cloud in moments using a handful of preset color schemes, shapes, and fonts. If WordCloud.com is a blank canvas, then ABCya is a coloring book. The only hiccup I found occurred when saving an image of my word cloud. The bottom of the image was cut off, but fiddling with the options fixed the issue.

 

TagCrowd


TagCrowd has some unique features – and limitations – compared to the other entries on this list. For example, you can paste in a website’s URL and create a word cloud using the text from that page. A number can be added alongside each word in the cloud indicating how often it appears on that page (or in whatever text you used). These features and others make TagCrowd feel more like an analysis tool than an artwork creator. On that note, visualizations are basically nonexistent here. What you see is what you get.

 

WordItOut


WordItOut lets you create word clouds unlike any other on this list. First, it has emoji support, which greatly expands your creative possibilities. Second, you can input phrases using the ~ symbol. This generator automatically changes “Pizza~Hut” to “Pizza Hut” in the finished cloud. Third, you can tweak the colors of individual words frequency, rank, and more. Other generators listed here support one or two of these options, but (so far) WordItOut is the only one with all three.

 

Tagxedo


Tagxedo is a great generator riding around on square wheels. It requires Microsoft Silverlight to function, and once that’s installed the interface is a bit awkward to navigate. But if you surmount those hurdles, what remains is a feature-rich generator that can accommodate whatever custom shapes, colors, and fonts you want. And it has a History section – my new favorite feature. Need to rollback to a previous version of your word cloud? Find a snapshot of it in the History section and give it a click.

 

Reimagine word clouds as shared experiences


Hopefully you found a word cloud generator here that’ll help with your next project or presentation.

Now let’s flip word clouds on their head. Instead of making static images, create a living word cloud that moves (and dances) and real time. Poll Everywhere lets you create an empty word cloud and embed it into your presentation. The audience adds words to your word cloud live using their phones, and together you see opinions become artwork.

Words move and grow with each new response. This is a great way to summarize complicated topics or visualize popular opinion within the crowd. Discover what you can create together.

poll everywhere word cloud example

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