Wikipedia defines a tag cloud, also known as a word cloud or a weighted list in visual design, as “a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word content of a site, used typically to describe the content of web sites.” A tag is a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information, such as a digital image or computer file, that helps to describe the item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. Tags are usually single words that are listed alphabetically with the importance of a particular tag shown through font size or color. Therefore, a tag can be found both by the alphabet and by popularity. Tags are usually hyperlinks that lead to a collection of associated (aka “tagged”) items.

When used properly, a tag cloud can provide a visitor to a site with an instant illustration of the main topics, giving an immediate orientation to the site’s most prevalent content types or themes. A tag cloud has the ability to highlight the most important or/and popular subjects dynamically, enabling visitors to quickly parse the information collection.

Outlined below are some free, web-based tag cloud tools and some examples of use.


The word cloud generated by Wordle for the Tufts anthropology course “Media, The State, and The Senses”



Wordle is a web-based tool that enables you to create visually appealing tag clouds based on text you paste into a text box; links to any blog, web site, or RSS feed; or a username to see the user’s tags in visual cloud form. You can modify colors, font, layout, etc., to maximize visual impact and message.

Tufts Anthropology professor Amahl Bishara used Wordle this past semester for her course, “Media, The State, and The Senses.” Students in the class were required to keep blogs, and Professor Bishara used Wordle to aggregate the content of the blogs.



TagCrowd is a fun, free, web-based tool that enables you to automatically generate a tag cloud based on a web page or a document that you submit. You can submit documents to be “tag-clouded” by either uploading the file or pasting the text into a form on the site. Clicking the “Visualize!” button generates the tag cloud and associated HTML code, which you can paste into any web page. You can specify common words to exclude and modify settings in a variety of other ways to tailor your tag cloud.

Note: you can include this or any other HTML in your wiki pages by placing the desired HTML between {html} tags in the wiki markup edit window.


Tag Cloud Viewer

The Software Environment for the Advancement of Scholarly Research (SEASR) project has developed a tag cloud viewer. Based on the SEASR framework, this tag cloud viewer can be used to generate a tag cloud for a URL that points to an HTML, PDF, or text document. Displayed below are tag cloud examples of three books written by a famous author.

Can you guess what the books are by looking at the cloud?

Similar Text Cloud Generating Tools:

Article crowdsourced by the UIT Academic Technology team

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