Combine a little creativity and your own words to create word and tag clouds and the possibilities are endless

Rob Melton, Contributing Editor

By Rob Melton
Word clouds have been around for a while now, but recent improvements how to make them are reviving interest in using them more creatively across all media platforms.

Originally, word clouds directed blog readers to the most used words or most read blog entries. Recent advancements in the software that creates word clouds is giving content creators more choices in how to enter or grab text, and more choices in how to display them. Combining word clouds with photos? No problem. Yearbook divider pages with custom colors to match your theme? Done.

Journalism adviser Dan Nelson of Ventura, Calif., was blown away when — for the senior edition — his Editor-In-Chief pulled all the quotes from the senior surveys, ran them through a word cloud generator, and made a page of it.

After checking out word cloud generators for himself, he liked these three:

Wordle has been around since 2008.

Tagxedo lets you make a word cloud that looks like an image you uploa — created out of your words.

Worditout seems pretty simple to use and you can choose your own colors and fonts and range of sizes as well as control which words appear.

So the next time you need some art for a story or spread, consider the new possibilities with the new generation of word cloud tools.