Wordle: Visualization of qualitative data

Tool: Wordle

Time to Use: Less than 10 minutes

Cost: Free

Purpose: Produce word clouds from qualitative data

Description: This extremely easy-to-use tool creates word clouds, larger versions like the example at left, from qualitative data. It takes as input any qualitative text (may be cut and pasted directly from a word document) or RSS feed. It returns a word cloud that maps the words (omitting standard English words like ‘the’ ‘and’ and ‘to’) with word size based on frequency.

The resulting cloud may then be further customized with various color themes and formatting.


  • Takes less than five minutes to learn and creates clouds in seconds
  • Advanced version allows for creating clouds from custom lists without repeating words and using completely customizable colors
  • Draws on algorithms developed for IBM


  • Visualization of blog content based on word frequency
  • Visualization of other qualitative data, such as speeches, letters, interview transcripts
  • Wordle clouds make great report covers

Access Wordle here (use this version first and for analysis)

Access Advanced Wordle here

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