Wednesday, September 4, 2013

iPad Word Clouds: Four options

Everyone loves word clouds. And why not? They are great tools for students to show information about themselves, their interests, and learning. For many years, students across our district have used quality tools like Wordle and Tagxedo to create word clouds on school computers. But what about the iPad? Here are a couple of options that you should consider.


WordSalad - Free
Here's a simple free app for word clouds. With WordSalad, you will have to write the text of the cloud in another app. I used Notes to quickly type my text. Then I copied and pasted the text into the WordSalad app. There are several options for fonts, colors, and simple arrangements. It then can be exported to the camera roll. Sounds perfect. It's not. There is a watermark on the app that you can't remove. It's very noticeable, and personally, drives me crazy. It's a shame because otherwise, WordSalad is a good app. 


Textagon - Free
A more simplistic app that lacks any bells and whistles. Tap on the screen and you can enter text or copy/paste it in. Now if you like design elements, stop reading. Because it only arranges the text in block form. You can change the text and background color and the weight of the text. You can add a background image. And that's about it. Export your finished work to the camera roll. 

So those were free. Here are some paid options. I know, nobody wants to pay for apps. I've had teachers nearly throw their iPads at me when I mention an app that you have to pay for. But these are worth it. Really. 

Cloudart - $.99
Now we're getting some options. With Cloudart, you can create your clouds from a webpage or enter your own text. There are options for changing the density, emphasis, roundness, font, layout, and color scheme. You can
press one of two buttons to quickly see different random layouts or just tweak the one you have. Word clouds can be saved inside the app to use later. Or you can export to the camera roll or email your finished product. It's very easy to use and the product is excellent. A great buy at just $.99. 

Visual Poetry
Visual Poetry - $1.99
So I left the best for last. And the priciest. But I think the name of the app is right on. It reminds me of Tagxedo. Visual Poetry lets you have complete control. There are lots of templates you can use to change the shape of your cloud. Use one of their templates and then customize the text colors, fonts, size, background color, brightness, or add your own background image. A crazy amount of customization. Save your creation to the camera roll, email, Tweet, or Instagram (all the kids are doing it these days). It's really a cool app. 

There you go. I don't like to steer people towards spending money, but when it comes to current word cloud apps, you definitely get what you pay for. Doesn't it sound strange when you describe a two dollar app as being pricey?

1 comment:

  1. You could also have a look at Phoetic. This app allows you to create beautiful, detailed photo word clouds. You can choose any image to create your own template, select one of the cool embedded fonts, choose background and foreground colors. You can even store the result as a .pdf file to print at extremely high resolutions. DISCLAIMER: I am the developer of Phoetic :-) Cheers!