Praise for the Visual Thesaurus

Reference tools are evolving from clunky old books with little appeal to fascinating online and interactive tools that encourage students to question and explore. Visual Thesaurus goes even further, creating a unique, captivating visual representation of the English language that could never be bound in a book.

When users type in a word, the thesaurus generates a solar system, from nearly 140,000 words, meanings, and relationships, and sends them orbiting around the search term in the center. Clicking on any one of these words cause the system to reorganize, making the new word the center, and bringing in more related words. Colored dots identify parts of speech of each of the words, and each sense of the words is categorized and defined in the "Meanings" sidebar on the right side of the screen. The program installs effortlessly, and is easily customized. Users can define the types of relationships they want to search for in the "Relationships" menu at the top of the screen, can view results in 2D or 3D, utilize the help interface, or change the font size and style.

While the Microsoft Word thesaurus may generate more synonyms, the Visual Thesaurus encourages students to explore the English language, with the ability search for unconventional world relationships. The first Visual Thesaurus was launched in February 1998 as a demonstration of the Thinkmap visualization technology, and is currently available as an online subscription, CD-ROM or download.

Purchasing information, annual membership and institutional rates can be found at, along with a chance to try this mesmerizing, entrancing, inventive, enthralling, imaginative enchanting and fanciful reference tool for free!

MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann Elementary School, Binghamton, NY
School Library Journal. August 2004. p.79

Thinkmap. Visualize Complex Information.