How to Make a Word Cloud

How to Make a Word Cloud

Instructions explain how to make a word cloud. This is a fun activity for kids. There are many free online sites that allow students to create their own word cloud. One of my favorites is WordClouds. If you need ideas for integrating word clouds into curriculum refer to the blog post 5 Ways your Students can Use Word Clouds.

What is a Word Cloud?

A word cloud is a picture made from words about a topic. The more important a word, the larger it appears. Typically, the words are arranged randomly. Most word clouds can be formatted to set the font, color, and shape. This transforms the word cloud into art.

Tips for Generating a Word List

Help your students generate a list of words associated with the topic of their word cloud. The words can be:

  • topic name
  • descriptive terms
  • people connected to topic
  • objects or parts related to the topic
  • slang associated with the topic
  • popular sayings about the topic

Follow these tips when writing the word list:

  • Make it BIG: To have the word appear larger in the word cloud, repeat it many times in the word list.
  • Avoid using Spaces Between Words: If the item is a phrase or person’s name, you must write it as ONE WORD with NO SPACES. You can use capital letters or underscores to make the information clear. For example TonyHawk or Tony_Hawk.
  • Separate Each Word with a Comma: In the word list put a comma after each word. Do not press the ENTER key after each word. Instead the list should look something like this: word1, word2, word3

How to Make a Word Cloud

Generate a list of words using a word processing program:

    1. Open Microsoft Word, Notepad, or a similar word processing program.
    2. Type words related to your topic.
TopicName, UseOneWord, NoSpaces, RepeatWords, RepeatWords, DescriptiveTerms, FamousPeople, ObjectParts, Slang, Sayings
    1. Save the file as word cloud.
    2. If using Microsoft Word, change the file type to Plain Text or .txt.
Save as Plain Text
  1. When a File Conversion message is displayed, click OK.

Create a word cloud using

    1. Visit
    2. Click File. Select Open text file.
    3. Locate file and click Open.
    1. Explore the formatting options:
      • widen or tighten gaps
      • direction of words
      • invert
      • shape
      • mask
      • theme
      • colors
      • font
  1. When finished, click File. Select Save as PNG.
  2. Close all open programs.
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