Monday, April 12, 2010

Dress Up Your Words with Tagxedo

I love Wordle, as you have no doubt picked up if you read me often. There's a new kid on the word cloud block and I am almost tempted to make it my favourite. The twitterverse is calling Tagxedo "wordle on steroids", and I can see why.

At Tagxedo, you can easily enter not only text, but the url of a website before you generate your cloud. You can hit respin to tweak your result, or use arrows to completely change theme, font, and direction. The cool thing for me was the opportunity to have my word cloud inside shapes like star, heart or even the letters JOY. And I read where Tagxedo inventor, Hardy Leung, says you can use your own custom shapes and fill them with words too. You'll find examples in the Tagxedo gallery.

So why isn't it my new favourite yet? Well, the major problem with Wordle was not being able to save my cloud to my computer. Tagxedo offers a save function (Yay!) but it kept giving me an error message : "LOC ERROR- Unable to locate localized string for resource ID 5011..png", no matter which dimensions or file type I chose. (And I'm positive there's some string in the kitchen drawer!) Seriously, that must be just a glitch with my browser/my computer/my brain, as I have seen glowing reports of Tagxedo from others. So I resorted to screen grabs to capture the examples here. Everything else at the site worked beautifully, and I loved the colour and font options. 

UPDATE: I tried multiple times with both png and jpeg yesterday, only to get the same error message. Once I read Hardy Leung's comment below, I thought I would try once more before I replied to him. You guessed it, today it works fine! Kudos to Hardy for the support!

Not sure how to use word clouds with your kids? You'll find more information on this slideshow, or in 10 Ways to Use Wordles in the Classroom. I can just see the JOY shape being perfect when it comes time to make cards for Christmas with your kids. Consider adding your word clouds to the Flickr group for word clouds too. For me, it was just good to see that Tagxedo picked up words from my blog that I like to stress: fun, literacy, resources, Art, books, kids, music, reading and love. What more could a chook want?

(Many thanks to Greg Pincus from Gottabook for removing my fears that Microsoft Silverlight, the plugin you need to make Tagxedo work, was going to conflict with my Mac. The download and installation of Silverlight was fast and easy. If you don't know Greg's 30 Poets in 30 Days series, check it out by starting on the April 1 post. You'll be glad you did!)


  1. Weekly Book Reviews12 April, 2010

    Awesome...I'll have to check those out. Anything with lots of words has to be lots of fun :)

  2. Hardy Leung12 April, 2010

    This is Hardy Leung, creator of Tagxedo. Sorry that you ran into Png export problems. I have not had that problem or heard anyone else with that problem, so I can only suggest that you try to save the images as Jpg for now. The Png export is supposedly very standard and I am very surprised by the error message (definitely not generated by the code within Tagxedo or the Png exporter).

    I hope you can get the problems resolved and be able to truly enjoy Tagxedo!

    -- Hardy Leung

  3. Book Chook12 April, 2010

    I'm with you, Weekly Book Reviews!

  4. Book Chook12 April, 2010

    Hardy, you must be a techy kind of person. Are you sure there is no gremlin living inside computers that deliberately sets out to drive us crazy? After I got your comment, I went to Tagxedo to double check I'd tried both png and jpeg before I replied. And guess what? Both work fine today and no message about string.

    I've updated my post. Thanks so much for your comment, and indeed for Tagxedo!

  5. I am already loving Tagxedo, the extra features are just fantastic!

  6. Book Chook12 April, 2010

    I look forward to seeing what you and your students do with Tagxedo, Kelly.

  7. Kelly Burstow13 April, 2010

    How cute is that! You get a 'feel' through words out of one shape.

  8. Book Chook13 April, 2010

    I like that aspect of it too, Kelly. Another way I use it is to forget the pretty shapes, fonts, colours. I enter some of my writing and check the words that come up biggest. Those are the ones I've used most, and if it's a word like "actually", I know I've overused it.

    The fact it makes frequent words biggest is something you can manipulate. So say I wanted to make a poster about literacy, and emphasize how much fun it is. I can just type/copy and paste the word fun 20 times and it will be really large sized font.

  9. Ian Newbold13 April, 2010

    Loving the star of words I've just created using our blog. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Book Chook14 April, 2010

    I agree, Ian. It really is wonderful to see your blog emphasis visually.

  11. Tagxedo is the advanced version of wordle. Tagxedo allows you to add acents, hide or emphasize words, and put the word cloud into the shape you desire.


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