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Make a word cloud in a single line of Python

Moby-Dick, visualized

This is a concise way to make a word cloud using Python. It can teach you basics of coding while creating a nice graphic.

It’s actually four lines of code, but making the word cloud only takes one line, the final one.

import nltk
from wordcloud import WordCloud
nltk.download("stopwords")
WordCloud(background_color="white", max_words=5000, contour_width=3, contour_color="steelblue").generate_from_text(" ".join([r for r in open("mobydick.txt", "r").read().split() if r not in set(nltk.corpus.stopwords.words("english"))])).to_file("wordcloud.png")

Just tell me what to do now!

The first two lines lines specify the required packages you must download with these links: nltk and wordcloud. You may also try these links: nltk and wordcloud to download them. The third line downloads the stop words (common words like “the”, “a” and “in”) that you don’t want in your word cloud.

The fourth line is complicated. Calling the WordCloud() method, you can specify the background color, contour color and other options (found here). generate_from_text() takes a string of words to put in the word cloud.

The " ".join() creates this string of words separated by spaces from a list of words. The for loop in the square brackets[] creates this list of each word from the input file (in this case, mobydick.txt) with the r variable letting you use each word one at a time in the list.

The input file is open(), read() and split() into its words under the condition (using if) they aren’t in nltk.corpus.stopwords.words("english"). Finally, to_file() saves the image as wordcloud.png.

How to use this code

In the code, change "mobydick.txt" to the name of your text file (keep the quotation marks). Save the code in a file makewordcloud.py in the text file’s directory, and use a command line interface (such as Terminal) to navigate to the directory.

Run your script using python makewordcloud.py, and check out your wordcloud.png!

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