Voyant Tools

Voyant Tools, is a free, open source, web-based reading and analysis interface for digital texts. The DH@CC Team has produced a Quick Guide to help you start analyzing texts with Voyant.

For more information about Voyant, or to set up a consultation, contact the DH@CC Team.


Quick Links

DH@CC Quick Guide to Voyant: A Google Docs copy of the Quick Guide provided on this page.


Last Updated: 30 March 2020

Quick Guide to Voyant Tools

What is Voyant Tools?

Voyant Tools, is a free, open source, web-based reading and analysis interface for digital texts. 

Minimal technical expertise is required to use Voyant. More advanced users will want to use Voyant as a stepping stone to more robust text analysis tools. 

Getting Started

Voyant Tools allows you to analyze an individual Document or collection of documents, called a Corpus. The formats supported by Voyant include plain text, HTML, XML, PDF (searchable), RTF, and MS Word. While you can always Open one of the default Corpora offered by Voyant (Shakespeare’s plays or Austen’s novels), there are three ways to Upload an individual Document or Corpus from the Corpus Creation Screen:

Voyant - Corpus Creation Screen Screenshot

Voyant Tools Corpus Creation Screen.

  • Copy your plain text into the box under Add Texts. Once you have added your text, Click Reveal.
  • Copy the appropriate URLs on separate lines into the box under Add Texts. Once you have added your URLs, click Reveal.
  • Upload a single text file or zip file containing multiple text files from your computer.

After you have uploaded your individual Document or Corpus, you can Modify it by adding texts to or removing texts from from the Documents Tool (in the default Skin, located in the bottom right corner).

Voyant - Documents Tool Screenshot

Voyant Tools Documents Tool.

Navigating Voyant Tools

It’s important before you start diving into Voyant to understand some of the features of your Voyant browser. After uploading an individual Document or Corpus, the resulting default Skin will feature default tools in five Panels. The Skin Header Bar will be visible when you scroll over the top right corner of your browser. The buttons in the Skin Header Bar allow you to:

Voyant - Skin Header Bar Screenshot

Voyant Tools Skin Header Bar.

  • Set the Language for your Corpus.
  • Return Home to the Corpus Creation Screen.
  • Export a URL, an embedded tool, data, or a bibliographic reference.
  • Select Tool for the whole Skin.
  • Learn More about Voyant Tools.

A Panel Header Bar will be visible when you scroll over the top right corner of each Panel. The buttons in the Panel Header Bar allow you to:

Voyant - Panel Header Bar Screenshot

Voyant Tools Panel Header Bar.

  • Export a URL, an embedded tool, data, or a bibliographic reference.
  • Select Tool for a given Panel.
  • Define Options for a given tool.
  • Learn More about a given tool.

Analysis Tools

Voyant offers a variety of different tools you can use to analyze a Document or Corpus. Some of the tools featured in your Voyant Skin are designed to interact with one another. We recommend customizing the Panels visible in your Voyant Skin by clicking the Select Tool button above each panel. We also encourage you to discover which tools are intended to interact with one another and to experiment with tools that may be less familiar to you. You never know what kind of patterns Voyant might help you see!

Note that when experimenting with tools, you can often apply a given tool to an individual Document or to the entire Corpus.

Some of the tools that the members of the DH@CC Team have found most useful include:

  • Cirrus – A default tool. Creates a word cloud that visualizes the top frequency words.
  • Contexts (or Keywords in Context) – A default tool. Shows each occurrence of a keyword with a bit of surrounding text (ie: the context). This tool can be useful for studying more closely how terms are used in different instances.
  • Microsearch –  Visualizes the frequency and distribution of terms.
  • Phrases – Shows repeating sequences of words organized by frequency of repetition or number of words in each repeated phrase.
  • Topics – A basic way of generating term clusters and then seeing how each topic (term cluster) is distributed.
  • Trends – A default tool. Shows a line graph depicting the distribution of a word’s occurrence.

Sharing Your Results

The Export button in the Skin Header Bar allows you to share your entire Corpus. Because Voyant Tools doesn’t allow you to save your work, bookmarking the url that is generated when you Export your entire corpus will allow you to easily return to your Corpus and your work. Likewise, the Export button in a particular Panel Header Bar will allow you to share a particular aspect of your work. Exporting specific visualizations, for instance, and including them as figures in papers and publications may help you illustrate patterns that Voyant Tools helped you come to realize. 

Additional Resources

Voyant Tools Help – A searchable guide created and maintained by the creators of Voyant Tools.

DH@CC Quick Guide to Voyant Tools: A Google Docs copy of this Quick Guide.

LICENSING
© 2020 Digital Humanities at The Claremont Colleges.
Unless otherwise indicated, all materials licensed by the CC 4.0 BY-NC License.

DH@CC has been made possible through a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.