“A tag cloud (word cloud, or weighted list in visual design) is a visual representation for text data, typically used to depict keyword metadata (tags) on websites, or to visualize free form text. ‘Tags’ are usually single words, and the importance of each tag is shown with font size or color. This format is useful for quickly perceiving the most prominent terms and for locating a term alphabetically to determine its relative prominence. When used as website navigation aids, the terms are hyperlinked to items associated with the tag.”
ABCya – Is a word cloud generator for kids but I would recommend ABCya for adults! You do not have the option of making a word cloud from a url but you can copy and paste text to create a word cloud and you have a ton of fun and easy to use graphic options (font, color, layout and randomize). You can adjust the numbers of words used and this is a handy option since sometimes less words generate a more pleasing graphic than more words! You can also easily save the graphic generated!
Tag Cloud Generator – This word cloud generator expects you to add the tags you will use one by one manually! So instead of copying and pasting a block of text, I need to spend far more time inputting the text one word at a time! You control graphic output using html code! You get html code as output with no option to save the word cloud generated as a graphic! You are supposed to be able to grab tags of a website by copying and pasting the url but on this site if you put the url of a particular page or post of my blog, you get tags for the whole site rather than that particular page or blog. However, all the sites reviewed shared this weakness except Tagxedo that has built in url options.
TagCrowd – TagCrowd is the weakest free online word cloud generator reviewed! There is a lack of visual options compared to Wordle. The graphic generated is not very attractive. I would never use the graphic generated in this blog! The “save as” options include an html embed, printable screen, or pdf but not a simple jpeg, png, etc. file which is what most users are going to really want.
Tagxedo – Tagxedo allows you to copy and paste a url and turn that url into a word cloud. Tagxedo allows you to load a selection of text although finding this option is a bit tricky. Most of all it’s so easy to make word clouds for a topic using Twitter, Del.icio.us, News, Search, and RSS (Look UP). Tagxedo allows you to “respin” your graphics color, theme, font, orientation, layout or all, in order to change the appearance of the graphic and this system is a little wild but fun and produces good results. Tagxedo excels in the “save as” options given to the user. You can save the word cloud as a jpeg or png and even have the option of how many bytes you want to allocate to the saved file. You can save the word cloud as an html. There are a wide variety of print options and there is even an advanced option.
ToCloud – To Cloud uses an html user interface! If you want to change the background color from the “#eeeeee” default then you need to use the html code for the color you want. I of course have all the html color codes memorized but most users probably do not! Also, ToCloud generates html code that you can copy and paste into your website rather than a graphic. ToCloud is obviously geared towards a very specialized audience of web programmers rather than casual users.
Wordle – Wordle has the most graphic options of all the free online word cloud generators. Wordle has 14 built in color schemes that are fantastic! You can also customize the colors you use. There are also six layout options. However, Wordle suffers from a fatal weakness! You cannot save the graphic generated as a jpeg, png, etc.! You can take a screen shot and save the screen shot. You can print the graphic and then scan the graphic but both these methods are awkward and time consuming. This weakness is not dealt with up front but instead you find out after you create the word cloud and find the weakness buried in the FAQ section of Wordle. Wordle probably has generated more publicity than all the other free online word cloud generators together and is at the top of most Google searches for a word cloud generator and, given this giant weakness, this is surprising.
Tagxedo is the best online word cloud generator reviewed because of the number of input options, graphic choices and “save as” options. ABCya is a surprising second given the fact the site is sold as being for “kids” and has the unique option of controlling the number of words used and that can make a big aesthetic difference. Wordle is a disappointing entrant given that Wordle shows up first in any Google search and does not deserve this place due to its lack of “save as” options which severely limit the utility of Wordle.
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