A word cloud is a wonderful way to visualise the content and context of a piece of text. As you can see from the screen grab below, which is a word cloud from a recent posting on this web site, it's an attractive and visually appealing way to highlight an essay, web page, presentation, and so on.
Creating a word cloud from a text file or a web page URL is simple, as there are loads of free web-based applications that will do all the hard work for you. Just paste some text or a web address into the box and the program does the rest. I've been trying out around 20 of the best systems over the last couple of days, and my favourite is by Jason Davies. You'll find his word cloud creator, which is free to use, at http://www.jasondavies.com/wordcloud . Jason is actually a professional in the field of data visualisation, and you'll find lots more fascinating methods described and illustrated at http://www.jasondavies.com/ if you're interested.
Meanwhile, with Valentine's Day approaching in a couple of weeks, why not write a list of all the best things about your partner and use the resulting word cloud as the illustration on their card!
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