July 18, 2011

Add Wicked Word Clouds to your Adobe Captivate Projects [Cool, Free, Super-Fast]

I love word clouds. You know, those cool clusters of words that give instant summary of concepts by making words bigger and bolder the more times they are used somewhere. Today I thought it would be fun to show you how you can make wicked cool word clouds based on your Adobe Captivate (and even Microsoft PowerPoint) projects in just a few minutes. The coolest part? It’s totally free, totally simple and you’ll impress your friends with your ability to spin a context appropriate graphic out of thin air.

To begin, open a typical Adobe Captivate Project (you’ll want one you’ve finished and that contains captions and or closed captions.) For this exercise I’ve opened a compliance training that focuses on information security. I want to make sure that the biggest words in the image are ‘inside’ and ‘information’. So I’ll make note of that, and move right along.

Choose the File Menu: Export: Project Captions and Closed Captions, then save the document. When Captivate prompts you to see if you want to see the resulting Word document, say yes. You’ll see a document that looks like the image below (only it will have your text instead of mine.) Select the first column of text / captions.

Once selected, press CTRL & C to copy the text in that first column to your clipboard. (Note that this is the first column of text, not the numbers & symbols to the left.)

Now navigate your web browser to http://www.wordle.net/ and select Create from the home page to move to the Word Cloud creation form. In the field that says: “Paste in a bunch of text,” paste the text you copied from the exported Word document. Finally, go to the top of the text field and type the key words, the ones you want to become titles, five or six times. (You may need more or less repeats depending on how much text is in your document.)

You’ll see your word cloud on the next page. Use the Randomize button at the bottom to try any number of variations. You can also tweak it using the color and font menus at the top. When you’re satisfied just press the Print Screen button or your favorite screen grabbing tool to get the image. (You may need to crop it if you capture the full screen.)

You can do the same thing with Microsoft PowerPoint. Instead of choosing save in PowerPoint, choose “Save As.” When the Save As dialog appears, use the Save As Type: drop down menu to select “Outline/RTF.” This will save a similar document with all of the text from your PowerPoint document. You can then copy and paste text from the file you’ve saved into the Wordle field.

There are actually a lot of these word cloud generators online. I chose Wordle because it’s free to use the word clouds, but you will find others with even more extensive tools – why not check them out too.

If you use this, why not post links to your word clouds in the comments, or post them on Twitter or our AdobeCaptivate Facebook page. Share the wealth.

Posted by Allen Partridge6:19 PM
  • http://www.facebook.com/allen.partridge Allen Partridge

    A note for my kind international readers. I noted that the title of this article contains colloquialisms which will likely defy translators. A more translatable title might be: How to create engaging word clouds quickly based on your Adobe Captivate and/or Microsoft PowerPoint projects. Hopefully this clarifies the title; as a strict translation probably suggests that the word clouds are evil or some other nonsense. ;)

  • Cassie

    This is great, Allen! I can’t wait to try it out.

    • http://blogs.adobe.com/captivate/ Allen Partridge

      Thanks Cassie, let me know how it goes. -Allen

  • Pingback: Add Wicked Word Clouds to your Adobe Captivate Projects [Cool … | MyMegalinks

  • Vish

    Pretty interesting Allen, thanks for sharing this.

  • Sden

    Rien compris !

  • erkant

    This is great, Allen! I can’t wait to try it out.

  • erkant
  • Larry

    I used this technique for a project last semester. I got good feedback on it.
    Here’s the example-
    http://6200.chiensolutions.com/tutorials.htm

  • Fremder

    A fantastic tip – thanks heaps! Do you have anymore great tips for free tools for creating graphics?

  • Krichmond56

    OK Allen, I’ve already made my word cloud via Wordle but I can’t see how to get it posted to my Twitter or facebook or linkedin accounts. They had me copy this:

    But how do i get it to my pages?

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