In this question a solution using ConTeXt. I'm not familiar with this engine (i.e. ConTeXt), and thus I don't know how to "translate" Aditya's answer to LaTeX...

I downloaded IBM's tool, and now what...? Anyone tried it with LaTeX?

I want invoke IBM's tool on my LaTeX's text and obtain a .png. What should be the best way to achieve this?

  • 2
    This is similar too tex.stackexchange.com/questions/26538/…
    – N.N.
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 6:47
  • @N.N.: Related, but not the same... I DO want to use the IBM's tool, and I don't mind obtaining a .png as the result is much nicer in my mind.
    – Dror
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 6:54
  • Then please clarify your question with your requirements and also add how far you've gotten in testing.
    – N.N.
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 6:59
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    @N.N. I think the term "word cloud" in the question title and the link to the Wordle question should clearly distinguish this question from the one you linked to: Word clouds scale the words by their number of occurrences in a text and arrange the scaled words close to each other, which is very different from a purely random arrangement.
    – Jake
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 7:06

1 Answer 1


I cannot provide a detailed solution right now, but here are some hints.

My solution relies on my filter module, which provides a generic interface for running an external program on the content of an environment. To implement the same in LaTeX you need to

  • Write the contents on an environment to an external file. In LaTeX, the filecontents package does that. In the filter module I do some book-keeping to automatically et the name of the output file.

  • Run the external program on the file. This step uses \write18, which also works in LaTeX.

  • Read the result back, using a user supplied command.

Basically, the filter module provides the pluming to automate these steps. It also provides some goodies rerunning the external program only if the file has changed, storing all intermediate files in a subdirectory, and so on, but those are not essential.

For a one off solution, you should be able to use the filecontents package and \write18.

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