Bubblelines visualizes the frequency and repetition of  a word’s use in a corpus. Each document in the corpus is represented as a horizontal line and divided into segments of equal length. Each selected word is represented as a bubble with the size of the bubble indicating the word’s frequency in the corresponding segment of text. The larger the bubble’s radius the more frequently the word occurs.

Getting Started

When you first arrive to the Bubblelines tool you will see one of two possible screens:

Bubblelines without a pre-loaded corpus. See loading texts into Voyeur for help on how to proceed.

Bubblelines with a pre-loaded corpus. You were probably given a URL that included the corpus, or you’re viewing a page that has an embedded Voyeur tool in it. If you prefer, you can also start without a corpus.


Interface Elements

Bubblelines includes the standard set of interface elements (see image below). For more help with these see the Voyeur Tools Standard Interface Elements page.

Standard UI Elements

Reading the tool

Bubblelines provides a line our a series of lines for each document in a corpus. Each of these lines is populated by a series of bubbles of varying sizes, these bubbles represent the frequency of a word in a segment of a document. Each distinct colour of bubble represents a unique word. Bubblelines provides several features for honing in on the frequency data being visualized for the selected terms.

bubblelines-bubble-hover bubblelines-line-hover
Hovering over a bubble, or set of bubbles, will cause a box to appear that displays the frequency counts for that segment of text. Similarly, hovering over the number at the end of the line will cause a box to appear that summarizes the frequency for the entire document.

Configuring the display

In addition to this Bubblelines provides several other options for configuring the main display for the tool. These display settings are found to the right in the upper tool bar.


These include:

  •   A drop-down menu where the user can select which documents within the corpus to present. This menu can be accessed by the “Document” button.


  • A “Granularity” slider that controls how many segments the documents will be separated into. To the left of the slider  the current number  of divisions is indicated.
  • Finally a check-box titled “Separate Lines for Terms” is provided which can toggle the tool to display a document as split into separate lines, each for an individual term. The image below shows an instance of this.


As well users can rearrange documents by dragging and dropping the document titles to organize them vertically.

Adding and removing terms

When a corpus is first loaded into Bubblelines the user will notice a series of selected words appearing in the top left hand corner of the tool. These words will have been pre-selected and loaded through their inclusion in the URL, or if no pre-selected words are designated, Bubblelines will automatically fetch the five most frequent words from the corpus and displays bubbles based on those.

At any point the set of words that are selected can be modified by adding new words or removing existing words. Clicking on the “Clear Terms” button will remove all of the existing terms. Single terms can be removed or hidden by a panel opened upon clicking on a word. When a word is hidden it will appear greyed out. To show the word again, click on it to reopen the panel. “Show Term” will have replaced “Hide Term” selecting it will unhide the word.


Additional terms can be added though the “Find Term” box. When you begin typing a word into the box, an auto-complete box will suggest possible choices. To select the word and add it to the set of selected terms, click the word in the drop down menu of auto-completed words or finish entering the word in the text box and press “Enter” on the keyboard. Not all words that are proposed by the auto-complete box occur within the corpus and selecting a term that does not then appear in the main display would indicate that this term is not present in any of the documents.

Clear Terms

Linking out of the tool

Clicking one of the bubbles will open the corpus within a new instance of the default Voyant Tools skin.


Like all Voyeur tools, Bubblelines can be reused in a variety of ways:

  • create a link that is specific to the corpus and options that are currently being used
  • embed the current corpus and options as a tool in an external page

For more information see exporting and reusing Voyeur Tools.

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