Word Clouds

Word Clouds are images that show word association and frequency. They are good for Family History illustration if you use, for example, surnames. There are many on-line free programs that will do this for you to various degrees of satisfaction. They take the words you put in and make the word that is most often repeated the largest and the least repeated the smallest with the others somewhere in between. Even if of little technical value they are interesting and some are just good fun.

This 'Word Cloud' show the frequency of surnames in this study with the most frequent names showing largest.

How I made the Word Cloud

  1. I made a report using my family tree program (it happens to be Family Tree Maker but could be most programs of this type). The report was created with Publish/List of Individuals Report selecting all individuals. Once the report is generated I clicked 'Share' and selected Export to CSV. Save the file however you want but I saved it as wordcloud.csv and then I opened that file in Excel (or any spreadsheet utility will do).

  2. On the spreadsheet, I deleted the columns that were not surnames (just for simplicity).

  3. I then selected the entire remaining list and copied it.

  4. In the remaining surname column which, for me, contained over 41,000 entries. I deleted all the (Unknown), (Unnamed) and a tiny number of (Test) entries that I use to expose failures in publishing 'private' data. This left me with just thousands of surnames and, of course, many duplicates.
My Top of the Pops!

Now I tried a few online programs and some were good and some poor (ie. no capital letters, unreadable arrangements, etc.). This one worked for me at https://wordart.com. Enjoy playing with its options, the result could be a rather better resolution but this is really just decoration!

5. So, in Word Art, in the Edit page under 'Words' click 'Import' and in the 'Input your text here' box paste the text list you copied from your spreadsheet.

6. Your entire list appears in the window and you can close your spreadsheet if you want. Now unclick 'Stemming' - I don't know what it is for but if its 'on' the numbers are wrong! Click the 'Import words' button. Your list now appears in the Word Art Edit 'Words' box and the program has cleverly counted and sorted them for you as in the image above. Which shows my Top Ten - no real surprises to me except for just how high Smith was!

This is the Word Cloud in a square shape and with dark text.

7. Click the red Visualize button and you will get the programs randomised parameter image - that's nice. Now play with the left hand side parameters.

8. The Shapes list is fun and even allows you to add a .jpeg or .png of your own.

9.Tweak the fonts if you wish. Change the layouts... 'Random' is interesting. Under the 'Style' tab you can alter the colours... maybe to your websites colour scheme!

10. When you are done click 'Visualize' and, if happy, on 'Download' and it will save the design to your computer. How cool is that!

A different cloud shape.
Here is one on my complicated logo, saved with transparency and no background in Word Art... Interesting...
Here is the last one but with 44% of the background 'Copper-It' image showing through. This looks quite refined.
You can get carried away!