Cirrus is a word cloud displaying the frequency of words appearing in a corpus. Words occurring more frequently appear larger.

Getting Started

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

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

Cirrus 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

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

Standard UI Elements

Reading the tool

The word cloud positions the words such that the terms that occur the most frequently are positioned centrally and are the sized the largest. As the algorithm goes through the list and continues to attempt to draw words as close as possible to the center of the visualization it will also include small words within spaces left by larger words that do not fit together snugly.

Hovering over a word will cause a box to appear that displays the frequency count for that term.

Hovering over a word.

Important Options

An important feature to Cirrus and across the Voyant Tools suite is the stop words lists. Comparing the two following images will demonstrate the effect designating a stop words list can have on the quality of the visualization.

Cirrus-wo-stopwordlist Cirrus-w-stopwordlist
Cirrus without a stop words list applied. Cirrus with the english stop words list applied.

To apply the stop words list click the “Options” icon in the top right hand corner of the tool. This icon is circled in the image above on the left of the tool without a stop words list applied. This icon is also indicated in the image of the standard user interface elements at the top of the section. Once the icon is clicked a window will be displayed. In this window choose a stop words list from the drop-down menu “Stop Words List” and click “OK”. To the left of the drop-down menu are two other options. One will open a stop words list editor, and the other will apply the stop words list globally, that is if the tool is in a skin alongside other tools, the list will be applied to all of them.

Linking out of the tool

Clicking on a word will open a new instance of the default Voyant Tools skin with the selected word as focus of the tools.


Like all Voyeur tools, Cirrus 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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