Phrase net


Phrasenets are useful for exploring how words are linked in a text and, like word clouds and word trees, can be informative for early data analysis.

The connections between words are usually displayed as arrows where their directionality and width communicate the flow and strength of connected words, while the size of the text represents word frequency within the text.

Words can be linked with various connectors such as “and,” “the,” “at,” space, or a custom connection term.


Here are two examples of phrase nets created using Many Eyes. The text is from interview transcripts of individuals discussing their experience with homelessness. (Sisters Of The Road, 2002).

Words separated by the keyword "and"

Words of differing font sizes connected arrows showing they can be connected by the word "and", e.g. family and friends, clean and sober

Source: Sisters Of The Road, 2002

Words that directly follow one another

Words of differing font sizes connected by arrows showing they follow one another; learning is in the centre and is connected to make phrases such as 'social learning' and 'online learning'

Source: Sisters of the Road, 2002



van Ham, F., Wattenberg, M., & Viégas, F. (2009). Mapping text with phrase nets. IEEE Transactions on Visualizations and Computer Graphics, 15(6):1169-1176.

Sisters Of The Road. (2002). Voices of Homelessness: a qualitative database from sisters of the road. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from (archived link)

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