Create a word cloud in PowerPoint

Table of Contents

Word clouds are a great way to visually represent the frequency of words in a text. They can be used to communicate complex ideas in a simple and engaging way, and they can be a great way to break up text-heavy slides.

In this blog post, we will walk you through the steps of creating a word cloud in PowerPoint. We will also discuss some tips for customizing your word cloud to make it look great.


What is a Word Cloud?

A word cloud is a graphical representation of text data, where the size of each word is proportional to its frequency in the text. The most frequent words appear larger, while less frequent words appear smaller.

Word clouds can be used to:

  • Identify the most important keywords in a text
  • Show the relative importance of different topics
  • Visualize trends and patterns in text data
  • Create visually appealing presentations


How to Create a Word Cloud in PowerPoint

Word clouds offer a visually engaging way to summarize text, highlight key themes, and break up the monotony of text-heavy slides. Let’s walk through the two main methods for creating them within PowerPoint:

Method 1: Using PowerPoint’s Built-in WordArt

While limited in customizability, PowerPoint’s WordArt feature suffices for basic word clouds:

  1. New Slide: Start with a fresh slide in your PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Insert WordArt:
    • Go to the “Insert” tab.
    • Within the “Text” group, click the “WordArt” button.
    • Choose your desired WordArt style.
  3. Enter Text: Type your words or paste a chunk of text into the “Edit WordArt Text” box.
  4. Gradient Fill:
    • Go to the “Format” tab.
    • In the “Shape Styles” group, select “Text Fill.”
    • Click “Gradient” and choose your colors. 
  5. Tweak and Polish: Adjust the font, size, and position of your word cloud as needed.

Method 2: Using a PowerPoint Add-In

For greater control and customization, third-party add-ins are the way to go. Popular choices include:

  • Pro Word Cloud
  • Word Cloud Generator for PowerPoint
  • Tag Cloud Maker for PowerPoint

Here’s the general process, though specifics vary by add-in:

  1. Install the Add-in: Find your chosen add-in in the Microsoft AppSource store (often accessible within PowerPoint itself) and follow the installation instructions.
  2. Find the Tool: Once installed, the add-in will appear as a new tab or ribbon within PowerPoint. 
  3. Input Text: Paste your text, select a file, or in some cases, link the add-in directly to a website for live analysis.
  4. Customization: Explore the range of settings offered:
    • Shapes
    • Color schemes 
    • Font choices
    • Word exclusion (“Stop Words”)
    • Layout controls
  5. Generate: Click the “Create” (or similar) button, and your word cloud will be inserted into your slide.

Important Considerations:

  • Text Source: Both methods let you use pasted text, text files, or even pull data directly from websites.
  • Cost: Some add-ins offer free basic versions, while others require a subscription or one-time purchase for full features. 

Using the Built-in WordArt Feature

  1. Open PowerPoint and create a new presentation.
  2. Click on the “Insert” tab.
  3. In the “Text” group, click on the “WordArt” button.
  4. Select a WordArt style from the gallery.
  5. In the “Edit WordArt Text” pane, type your text.
  6. Click on the “Format” tab.
  7. In the “Text Fill” group, click on the “Fill Effects” button.
  8. In the “Fill Effects” pane, select the “Gradient” fill type.
  9. Choose two colors for your gradient.
  10. Click on the “Close” button.
  11. Click on the “Close” button again.

Using a Third-Party Add-in

There are a number of third-party add-ins that can be used to create word clouds in PowerPoint. Some popular options include:

  • Word Cloud Generator for PowerPoint
  • Tag Cloud Maker for PowerPoint
  • Power Word Cloud

These add-ins typically offer more features and customization options than the built-in WordArt feature.


Tips for Customizing Your Word Cloud

The beauty of word clouds lies in their ability to be tailored. A few thoughtful tweaks can make the difference between a basic visualization and a truly eye-catching graphic. Let’s explore some key customization areas:

  1. Color Schemes: Setting the Mood

Color has a psychological impact. Your word cloud’s color scheme influences how the information is perceived.

  • Company Colors: If your word cloud is part of a branded presentation, align colors with your company’s palette. This reinforces brand identity.
  • Thematic Match: Choose colors that resonate with your topic. A nature-focused word cloud might use greens and blues, while a word cloud about innovation could incorporate brighter, energetic hues. 
  • Contrast is Key: Ensure your chosen colors have sufficient contrast against the background for every word to be legible. A great tool for this is the WebAIM contrast checker (

  1. Font Choices: Balancing Readability and Style

Fonts are not just about words; they convey a feeling. Experiment to find the right balance of clarity and personality:

  • Serif vs. Sans-Serif: Serif fonts (like Times New Roman) have small decorative strokes, offering a classic look. Sans-serif fonts (like Arial) are clean and modern.
  • Boldness: Bold fonts make important words pop, but too much bold can look cluttered. Use a mix of weights strategically.
  • Mixing Fonts: Consider pairing a bolder font for top keywords with a lighter font for the rest, creating visual hierarchy. 

  1. Shape Matters: Beyond the Oval

Standard word clouds are fine, but custom shapes add flair and can reinforce your theme.

  • Pre-set Shapes: Add-ins often offer hearts, stars, and more. Match the shape to your presentation’s content.
  • Upload Your Own: Get creative! Use a company logo, product outline, or a relevant symbol as the shape for your word cloud
  1. Word Control: Stop Words and Manual Edits
  • Stop Words: Prevent common articles (“a,” “the”) and prepositions (“of,” “in”) from cluttering your visualization by adding them to a “Stop Words” list.
  • Fine-Tuning: Some word cloud tools allow you to individually delete words, resize specific terms, or even force certain words to specific locations within the cloud. Use this judiciously, as over-manipulation sacrifices the organic feel.


Real-World Examples: Using Word Clouds for Impact

Word clouds are more than just visually pleasing graphics; they can be a powerful tool for communication and analysis across various fields. Let’s explore some compelling real-world examples of how word clouds are being used to make an impact:

  1. Marketing and Branding

  • Customer Feedback: Visualize customer testimonials or survey responses in a word cloud. Quickly identify recurring themes, positive sentiment, or areas for improvement.
  • Company Values: Turn your company’s core values or mission statement into a word cloud. This reinforces your brand identity for both internal teams and external audiences.
  • Product Launches: Generate a word cloud based on product descriptions, features, or customer reviews. This highlights key selling points at a glance.

  1. Education and Learning

  • Analyzing Literature: Feed a speech, poem, or excerpt into a word cloud generator. This enables students to quickly see key themes, repeated motifs, and the author’s emphasis.
  • Summarizing Research: Word clouds can help condense complex research topics or study findings into easily digestible visuals, especially for presentations.
  • Brainstorming: During group brainstorming sessions, a live, evolving word cloud captures ideas and allows participants to spot connections they might otherwise miss.

  1. Creative and Personal Projects

  • Visual Poetry: Turn your favorite poem into a word cloud shaped to match its subject matter (a heart shape for a love poem, a cloud shape for a poem about nature, etc.).
  • Gift Ideas: Gather words that describe a friend or loved one. Create a word cloud in their favorite colors and print it as a thoughtful, personalized gift.
  • Social Media Analysis: Track hashtags or analyze trends from social media feeds with a word cloud, providing visual insight into popular topics and sentiment.

Note: When using word clouds for professional or academic purposes, it’s important to cite your source text and clearly label the context of your word cloud.


Inspiration is Everywhere

The beauty of word clouds is their adaptability. Keep an eye out in your daily life – you might be surprised where you spot word clouds being used effectively in everything from advertising campaigns to museum exhibits. 


Advanced Word Cloud Techniques

You’ve mastered creating simple word clouds – now let’s unlock the true potential of this visual tool. These advanced techniques are especially useful for in-depth analysis, creative presentations, and projects where you want maximum impact.

  1. Comparative Word Clouds

Visualize how different texts or data sets relate to each other. This can be powerful for:

  • Market research: Comparing word clouds of competitor websites or product reviews
  • Literary analysis: Contrasting two author’s styles or word choice within a specific genre
  • Tracking change over time: Creating word clouds from the same event/topic for different years and spotting shifts in vocabulary


  • Most advanced add-ins allow you to input multiple text sources.
  • The output could be separate word clouds side-by-side for easy visual comparison…
  • …Or even overlapping word clouds, where unique words are in separate colors, and shared words blend together.

  1. Animating Your Word Clouds

Inject dynamism into your presentations with animated word clouds. Here are a few ideas:

  • Word Cloud Build-up: Show the individual words appearing one by one, emphasizing their gradual accumulation. This adds suspense and drama. 
  • Cycling Word Focus: Create an animation where the most prominent word briefly increases in size, then shrinks back, with the focus moving to another top word. This draws the eye and maintains visual interest.
  • “Morphing” Clouds: Transition between two word clouds based on different texts. This is visually striking when showcasing a before/after situation.


  • PowerPoint’s animation tools are your friend.
  • Apply entrance/exit effects to individual words (likely grouped by size for the best effect)
  • Experiment with timing and triggers (on-click vs. automatic progression)

  1. Data Beyond the Visual

While visually appealing, word clouds hold raw data. Tap into this for deeper insights:

  • Frequency Lists: Most add-ins generate lists of the words used and how often they appear. Analyze this carefully alongside the visual cloud.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Advanced tools can color code words based on positive/negative sentiment. This adds another layer of understanding.
  • External Integration: Some add-ins might integrate with spreadsheet data, allowing you to update a word cloud dynamically when linked values change.

Important Notes

  • Complexity vs. Clarity: Don’t overuse advanced techniques just because you can. Ensure they serve the purpose of communicating information effectively.
  • Add-in Features: The ability to do the techniques above depends heavily on your chosen PowerPoint add-in. Research carefully before committing.


Word Clouds Beyond PowerPoint: Online Tools

While creating word clouds within PowerPoint is convenient, the world of word cloud generators doesn’t stop there. Several excellent online tools offer a wide range of features and may be suitable for certain projects or those who don’t primarily use PowerPoint.

Popular Online Word Cloud Tools

  • A free, versatile option with loads of customization for shapes, colors, and fonts. It even offers unique features like image-based word clouds (where the words fill the shape of an uploaded picture).
  • Wordle: One of the original word cloud generators. It’s known for its simplicity and distinctive, slightly jumbled aesthetic.
  • Tagxedo: Specializes in custom-shaped word clouds. You can upload your own images or choose from their extensive gallery.
  • Offers a balance of customizability and ease of use, plus advanced features like word weighting (emphasizing certain words through size).

When to Consider Online Word Cloud Tools

  • No PowerPoint: If you don’t have PowerPoint or prefer not to use add-ins, online tools provide a standalone solution.
  • Unique Features: Some online generators have highly specialized features that PowerPoint add-ins may not replicate, like intricate image-based word clouds or extensive analysis tools.
  • Quick Experimentation: If you’re simply curious about how word clouds look with different text sets, online tools often allow for fast experimentation without the need to open PowerPoint.

Important Considerations

  • Internet connection: Online tools obviously require a stable internet connection to function. 
  • Data sensitivity: For projects involving confidential or sensitive text, you’ll want to research the privacy policies of the online tool carefully before use. Opting for internal PowerPoint add-ins might be safer.

A Note on Versatility: Many online word cloud generators allow you to download your creation as an image file (usually .jpg or .png). This image can then easily be inserted into your PowerPoint presentation, even if the initial creation happened outside of the program.


Word clouds are a great way to add visual interest to your presentations. They can help you communicate complex ideas in a simple and engaging way, and they can be a great way to break up text-heavy slides.

By following the tips in this blog post, you can create word clouds that look great and help you communicate your message effectively.

Bonus Tips for Creating Awesome Word Clouds in PowerPoint

Now that you understand the basics of creating word clouds in PowerPoint, it’s time to take your skills to the next level. Here are additional tips and techniques to help you craft word clouds that are both informative and visually captivating:

  1. Experiment with Shapes

While the default shape for a word cloud is usually a loose oval or rectangle, PowerPoint allows you to customize the shape of your word cloud. 

  • How-to: In your Pro Word Cloud settings (if using an add-in), look for a section on ‘Shape’. Choose from pre-defined shapes like circles, hearts, stars, or even get creative and upload a custom image to give your word cloud a unique outline.
  • Benefits: Custom shapes add personality and can tie the theme of your word cloud directly to your presentation’s content. For example, a word cloud about technology could be shaped like a computer, or a word cloud about travel could take the shape of an airplane.

  1. Fine-Tune Word Placement for Optimal Effect

Word clouds work by automatically arranging words, but you have some control over their placement. 

  • How-to: Most word cloud add-ins allow you to adjust the layout and orientation. Play with settings such as:
    • Orientation: Mix horizontal and vertical word placement for a denser cloud.
    • Gap Size: Control spacing between words for readability.
    • Rotation: Add a touch of randomness with varied word angles.
  • Benefits: By fine-tuning these settings, you can guide the viewer’s eye and emphasize certain words or phrases. Be careful though, too much manipulation can make the word cloud feel engineered rather than organic.

  1. Play with Fonts to Enhance Readability and Impact

The choice of font can significantly impact the overall look and feel of your word cloud.

  • How-to: Explore a variety of fonts from your standard options within PowerPoint and any additional fonts you might have. Consider:
    • Bold vs. Light Fonts: Bold fonts stand out, while thinner fonts can help pack more words in.
    • Serif vs. Sans-serif: Serif fonts (with little flourishes) can have a classic feel, while sans-serif fonts are cleaner and more modern.
  • Benefits: Choose a font that aligns with your presentation’s tone. Experiment with a mix of fonts to create hierarchy, highlighting the most important words.

  1. Create a Compelling Color Palette

Color is a powerful tool in visual communication, and your word cloud is no exception.

  • How-to: Go beyond the default color schemes. Use PowerPoint’s color picker or online color palette generators to:
    • Embrace Brand Colors: Incorporate your company colors for continuity.
    • Match Your Theme: Choose colors that support your presentation’s overall topic.
    • Use Contrast: Ensure sufficient contrast so that all words are easily visible.
  • Benefits: A well-chosen color scheme can make your word cloud more eye-catching and memorable. It can also steer the emotional impact, with cool blues being calmer and oranges/reds being more energetic.

  1. Leverage Stop Words for Greater Control

Stop words are common words like “the”, “and”, and “a” that search engines often ignore due to their frequency. You can utilize a similar concept to control your word cloud.

  • How-to: Most word cloud tools have an option for a “Stop Words” list. Add the words you want to exclude from your word cloud.
  • Benefits: Removing stop words can help emphasize the key terms in your text and prevent less meaningful words from dominating the visual.

  1. Use Word Clouds to Highlight Survey or Poll Results

Word clouds go beyond analyzing large pieces of text. Use them to visualize audience feedback.

  • How-to:
    • Run a quick survey or poll during your presentation.
    • Gather the text responses.
    • Create a word cloud to instantly visualize common themes and sentiment.
  • Benefits: This is a highly engaging way to involve your audience and illustrate their collective opinions in real-time.

Get 7+ Mio. PowerPoint Assets - FREE SIGN-UP

Sign up for free to our PowerPoint extension, ExpertSlides. Everything you need, directly in PowerPoint. No credit card required.

You have been successfully signed up. You will receive an email with your password in a few moments.