How to Create Tag Clouds in Illustrator

by Nicole Schmoll ; Updated September 28, 2017

A tag cloud, or word cloud, is a graphical representation of bits of text. Tag clouds are commonly used to depict keyword meta-data tags on websites so that they quickly show in a visual manner which keywords are most prominent, as well as other, related and also-searched-for keywords. The largest word in the center of the cloud is the word or phrase that all other words in the cloud relate to and emanate from. Adobe Illustrator is just one of the programs you can use to create a tag cloud that represents free word associations, synonyms of a term or meta-data keyword searches. After constructing, you can place the cloud on your website as an appealing, helpful feature for visitors.

Launch Adobe Illustrator and create a new document. Click on “File” then “New.” Click on “File” and then “Save as” to save your file and give it a name such as “tagcloud.” Use two tools to create text boxes, fill them with words and orient them into a tag cloud.

Click on the “Draw shapes” tool which appears as a box near the top right column on the left menu. Choose the shape you want your word to appear in such as an oval or rectangle. Place the cursor on the screen, press down the left button and drag the mouse to enlarge the shape on the screen. Use your mouse to re-size the sides of the shape until it appears as you desire.

Click on the “Text” tool which appears as a letter “T” icon just above the “Draw shapes” tool. Place your cursor inside of the shape you just created and click the left button on your mouse. Type the word or phrase you want within the shape. Alter the format and size at the top menu, if desired.

Right-click on the outline of the shape and select “Borders” from the drop down menu that appears. Check the box marked “No line” from the window that appears to remove all lines from your shape, leaving just the word inside visible on the screen.

Left-click inside of the shape on the word you typed and click the “Color” icon which appears as a paint bucket. Click the outlined box inside of the pop up window to add color to the text, if desired.

Perform steps 2 through 5 again to create a smaller text-filled shape. Click on the black arrow from your toolbar and click it on the outline of the shape and press “Control” + “C” on your keyboard to copy the shape. Click somewhere on the screen and press “Control” + “V” to paste that shape in that spot. Repeat this step for as many words as you want to include in the tag cloud. Click inside of each shape and change the word, as well as the color, if desired. Create new, different shapes, as desired. Orient these additional words around the first, larger word which you started the tag cloud with.

Click on the “Rotate an object” tool which appears as an arrow turning in a circle. Click on a shape and move it in the direction you desire to make your words appear to be heading different directions within the tag cloud.

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