Word clouds can be created with software applications that analyze text and create visual representations from them. Some of the available software programs include Word It Out, TagCrowd and Wordle, all of which are free to use and create word clouds that can be saved to a personal computer.
Most word cloud applications work in an Internet browser and do not require the user to download a separate software application. Exact instructions may vary depending on the application being used, but most applications work in a similar way. Users visit the site that houses the application, then select the option to create a new word cloud. When shown a blank text box, users type or paste the text out of which they want to create a word cloud. Upon clicking the option to create a cloud, the application automatically arranges the text into a word cloud. Many applications offer additional customization options that allow users to change the size, font or shape of the word cloud before saving.
Word clouds are useful for visualizing a set of data in a new way. Since the cloud design gives preference to words that are used more frequently in the text, viewers can use them to determine which ideas or themes are most important.