Morphable Word Clouds for Time-Varying Text Data Visualization

Ming Te Chi, Shih Syun Lin, Shiang Yi Chen, Chao Hung Lin, Tong Yee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


A word cloud is a visual representation of a collection of text documents that uses various font sizes, colors, and spaces to arrange and depict significant words. The majority of previous studies on time-varying word clouds focuses on layout optimization and temporal trend visualization. However, they do not fully consider the spatial shapes and temporal motions of word clouds, which are important factors for attracting people's attention and are also important cues for human visual systems in capturing information from time-varying text data. This paper presents a novel method that uses rigid body dynamics to arrange multi-temporal word-tags in a specific shape sequence under various constraints. Each word-tag is regarded as a rigid body in dynamics. With the aid of geometric, aesthetic, and temporal coherence constraints, the proposed method can generate a temporally morphable word cloud that not only arranges word-tags in their corresponding shapes but also smoothly transforms the shapes of word clouds over time, thus yielding a pleasing time-varying visualization. Using the proposed frame-by-frame and morphable word clouds, people can observe the overall story of a time-varying text data from the shape transition, and people can also observe the details from the word clouds in frames. Experimental results on various data demonstrate the feasibility and flexibility of the proposed method in morphable word cloud generation. In addition, an application that uses the proposed word clouds in a simulated exhibition demonstrates the usefulness of the proposed method.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7118241
Pages (from-to)1415-1426
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'Morphable Word Clouds for Time-Varying Text Data Visualization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this