Knots represents a corpus as a series of twisted lines. Each line depicts a selected term over the length of the corpus. The extent to which lines overlap indicates the level of correspondence or linkage between the terms.

Getting Started

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

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

Knots 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

Knots 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 main visualization, the knots or tangles take up the main body of the tool. Above to the left are the set of selected words, and above the entire tool body is the upper toolbar.

Configuring the display

Some options included in Knots are ‘Build Speed’, ‘Starting Angle’, and ‘Tangles’. Build speed affects how quickly the visualization is performed. Starting angle adjusts the angle at which the lines expand and develop. Tangles affects how many twists there are within the visualization.

Knots options

Adding and removing terms

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

At any point the set of terms that are selected can be modified by adding new terms or removing existing terms. Clicking on the “Clear Terms” button will remove all of the existing terms. Single terms can be removed by a panel opened upon right clicking on a word. Single terms can be toggled as hidden or shown be simply clicking on the word. When a word is hidden it will appear without and underline.  When a word is shown it will appear underlined.


Additional terms can be added though the “Find Term” box. When you begin typing a word into the box, it will make suggestions to auto-complete the search term. 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 text and selecting a term that does not then appear in the main display would indicate that this term is not present.

Find term box

Linking out of the tool

Clicking on the tangle (clicking on the words themselves only toggles the word as hidden or shown) will open a new instance of Voyant Tools default skin.


Like all Voyeur tools, Knots 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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