What is a Word Cloud?

A word cloud is a type of data visualisation, created from text data, where multiple words, phrases, or themes are arranged in different sizes and positions within a ‘cloud’ shape.

The size and (sometimes) the positioning of the words represent the frequency of how often those words appeared in a data file.

For example, the most frequently used word or term is usually larger than the other text, and usually in the middle of the word cloud, like in this example below.

Where does the data come from to make a word cloud in the first place?

A data source can be anything you can copy and paste text from: a website, a text document, a spreadsheet, etc.

Watch our video here where our cofounder, Ray Poynter, made a word cloud based on the popular book ‘A Christmas Carol’ – just by using the text file version of the book.

The data files can also be from market research data on, for example, what people think about a brand’s customer service, or how they might describe a product.

Data can also be extracted from academic papers, research conference talks, and presentations where you might want to find insight into what has been said. Simply put, a data file is anything and everything where there is text to be analyzed.

And now, with the rise of great transcript services, you can even transcribe videos into words, and put that through a word cloud generator, like Word Cloud Plus, to get the key themes or words from a video.

Top 5 ways word clouds are useful:

  1. They allow people to save time, by easily accessing the key terms in a data file, without having to read the entire file itself. For example, if there is a data file with 5,000 people’s reviews about a product, this can take many hours to read through compared to a few minutes looking at a word cloud.
  2. They allow people to easily understand if and where changes/actions should happen. For example, if people are reviewing customer service as ‘poor’ more frequently than ‘good’, this is an indicator to a business that improvements should be made.
  3. They allow people to make valuable comparisons where more than one-word cloud is produced. For example, if we had data about customer service reviews based on two shops in say, London and New York, two-word clouds could be produced that represent the most prevalent feedback, and who has the better customer service reviews (or if they are both getting similar reviews).
  4. Sticking to the theme of comparisons, Word Clouds can also help people easily understand changes in trends or patterns over time. For example, you could use a Word Cloud to easily compare customer service feedback from 2023, 2024 and 2025.
  5. Some people may find a large data table confusing or overwhelming. Word Clouds help people digest lots of information with clarity. In addition, visual learners may find it easier to understand a dataset with this type of pictographic chart.

Create your own word cloud today with a free account here, or try our Professional account with a free 30-day trial period here.

Want to learn more? Check out our YouTube channel to see how our Co-Founders have used Word Cloud Plus for market research, insight, and more”.