A "word cloud" is a graphic rendering or visualization of word usage in a document, web page, or discussion. They can give outsiders an at-a-glance overview of a concept or a summary of the most important topics.

These word clouds are more visible than ever before in today's offices and classrooms. For example, this 2020 study from Oklahoma Watch illuminates key differences between Governor Kevin Stitt's 2019 and 2020 State addresses. While such nuanced differences are hard to catch by simply listening to the two speeches, word clouds generated from them make the distinctions clear.

As education and work shift from inside the classroom and office to outside of them, visual representations like word clouds are becoming more relevant. Using the word cloud to present your most frequently typed words in your article, book, or essay can give your work more impact at a glance.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make a word cloud using Kapwing, an online Studio for designing custom graphics. Kapwing is free to use and works on any device.

  1. Open Studio in Kapwing.
  2. Start with a blank canvas
  3. Add and arrange text layers
  4. Export and share

Step 1: Open Studio in Kapwing

Need a word cloud graphic to summarize your hefty project or lengthy text? Get started by opening a project in Kapwing. Kapwing is a digital tool where creators can make images, videos, and GIFs. Add text, GIF, and image layers to your digital canvas and arrange them into a custom word cloud collage.

Step 2: Start with a blank canvas

The first step is to set up your digital space. Click the "Start with a blank canvas" option. A blank white page will open within the Kapwing Studio.

You can drag the corners of the canvas to make the space larger or smaller, or use the preset aspect ratio buttons to adjust the dimensions of the output. If you're planning to print your word cloud, use the "Custom Resize" button to make it 8x11 for a printable piece of paper (I recommend 1600 x 2200 pixels).

You can also change the color of your background to any custom hex code. Consider making the word cloud transparent so that it fits into a presentation or website seamlessly.

Example word cloud with transparent background

Step 3:  Add and Arrange Text Layers

Click the "Text" button to add your first text layer. Sample text will automatically appear on your canvas. Double click to edit the contents.

The hallmark quality of a word cloud is that more prominent words are larger than less prominent words. This helps the viewer visually understand the most important topics.

To create this effect, add a few keywords, then use the transformer circles to drag and resize the keywords relative to their importance in the text. Make the most frequent word large and less frequent words smaller. If you want to rotate some of the words to make the collage appear more like a "cloud", use the rotation handle below the text box to tilt the layer in 360 degrees.

text layers collage rotated

You can also use the tools in the right-hand panel to style the text. Change the color, outline, font, and drop shadow options. In my example of a word cloud for a survey on office culture, I made the words with positive sentiment green, negative sentiment red, and neutral sentiment yellow.

example word cloud with colors

To ensure the text is highly readable, ensure that there's a balance of horizontal and vertical elements. Use a sans serif font that is easy to recognize, and consider typing in all caps.

Step 4: Export and Share

After your word cloud is complete, consider adding a title to the top of the graphic to show viewers what the cloud is about.

Word cloud with title

Then click "Export Image" to save the final JPEG or PNG version of your word cloud. Download the file or share it with others! If you're signed in to Kapwing, the word cloud image will have no watermark.

Thanks for reading! We hope that this article helps you create custom word clouds and other infographics to share online. Follow us on social media @KapwingApp to stay up-to-date with product announcements, new resources, and content tips for creators.


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