Using word clouds

As an engaging way to display how often a word is used in relation to other words in a dataset, use word clouds. The best use for this type of visual is to show word or phrase frequency. It can also make a fun addition to show trending items or actions. You can use a fixed dataset for creative purposes. For example, you might make one of team goals, motivational phrases, various translations of a specific word, or anything else that you want to draw attention to.

Each word in a word cloud represents one or more values in a dimension. The size of the word represents the frequency of a value's occurrence in a selected dimension, in proportion to the occurrences of other values in the same dimension. Word clouds are best when precision isn't important and there aren't a large number of distinct values.

The following screenshot shows an example of a word cloud.

To create a word cloud, use one dimension in the Group by field well. Optionally, you can add a metric to the Size field well.

Word clouds usually look better with 20–100 words or phrases, but the format settings offer a wide range of flexibility. If you choose too many words, they can become too small to be legible, depending on the size of your display. By default, word clouds display 100 distinct words. To show more, change the format setting for Number of words.

Word clouds are limited to 500 unique values for Group by. To avoid displaying the word Other, format the visual to hide the Other category. For more information about how Insights handles data that falls outside display limits, see Display limits.

The icon for a word cloud is as follows.

Word cloud features

To understand the features supported by word clouds, see the following table.

Feature Supported? Comments For more information
Changing the legend display No   Legends on visual types in Insights
Changing the title display Yes   Titles and subtitles on visual types in Insights
Changing the axis range Not applicable   Range and scale on visual types in Insights
Changing the visual colors Yes To change the color, choose a word and then choose a color. Colors in visual types in Insights
Focusing on or excluding elements Yes  

Focusing on visual element

Excluding visual elements

Sorting Yes   Sorting visual data in Insights
Performing field aggregation Yes You can't apply aggregation to the field that you choose for Group by. You must apply an aggregation to the field that you choose for Size. Changing field aggregation
Adding drill-downs Yes You can add drill-down levels to the Group by field well. Adding drill-downs to visual data in Insights
Using format options Yes You can choose to allow vertical words, emphasize scale, use a fluid layout, use lowercase, and set the amount of padding between words. You can set the maximum string length for the word cloud (default is 40). You can also choose the number of words for the Group by field (default is 100; maximum is 500). Formatting in Insights
Showing totals No   Formatting in Insights

Creating a word cloud

Use the following procedure to create a word cloud.

To create a word cloud

  1. On the analysis page, choose Visualize on the tool bar.

  2. Choose Add on the application bar, and then choose Add visual.

  3. On the Visual types pane, choose the word cloud icon.

  4. From the Fields list pane, drag the fields that you want to use to the appropriate field wells. Typically, you want to use dimension or measure fields as indicated by the target field well. If you choose to use a dimension field as a measure, the Count aggregate function is applied by default.

    To create a word cloud, add a dimension to the Group by field well. Optionally, add a measure to the Size field well.

  5. (Optional) Add drill-down layers by dragging one or more additional fields to the Group by field well. For more information about adding drill-downs, see Adding drill-downs to visual data in Insights.