Voyant Tutorial

Voyant is a web-based text analysis environment. The tool allows you to read and explore a corpus of texts using a multi-panel interface. The interactive visualizations that result from these explorations can be embedded in web pages.

Upload a corpus:

  1. Navigate to http://voyant-tools.org/
  2. Feel free to use a body of texts relevant to your own work. Or, if you need a sample set, copy the following link and paste it into the field labelled “Add Texts: http://archive.lib.msu.edu/dinfo/sundayschoolbooks/ssb_txt.zip
  3. Click Reveal.


Once opened, in what they call the “default skin”- you will see five panels. Each of these is a tool, Cirrus, Reader, Trends, Summary, and Contexts. These tools interact with one another – if you modify one pane, you’ll see another update.

  • The appearance of each of these windows can be modified. Place the cursor on the ? symbol and a menu of options will appear. (Note: hover over the titles of these navigation buttons for descriptions.)
    • Export – opens a window in a tab of its own with export options.
    • Choose another tool – opens a dropdown menu with options.
    • Options – to further refine your results (available for some tools)


  • Cirrus
    • A word cloud that visualizes the top frequency words of a corpus or document.
      • Central location and large size indicate greater frequency.
  • Reader
    • Text Reader- displays text for reading.
    • Prospect Viewer- displays an overview of the entire corpus.
  • Summary
    • Provides information about the corpus.
  • Contexts
    • shows each occurrence of a keyword with surrounding text.
  • Trends
    • A line graph that depicts the distribution of a word or words (occurrence across a corpus or document).
  • Additional tools can be added using the Choose Another Tool button described above.

Tool Options: Stopwords:

Once you have reviewed Voyant’s analysis of the corpus, through its different tools, you may find you need to edit the “Stopwords” list. Stopwords are commonly used words within a corpus that shouldn’t be included in the analysis for frequency or context. You have the ability to add, delete words from this list from each tool option. And you can apply it to only the Cirrus, Reader, et al, or apply it globally.


  • Bookmark a corpus to return to it later:
    • Click Export at the top of the page, select URL for this view. (Note, the team at Voyant indicates that the corpus will “accessible as long as it accessed at least once a month.”
  • Embed a corpus:
    • Click Export at the top of the page, select “an HTML snippet” and click export for the snippet to appear. Copy and paste the snippet in your page.