I created a program in python that reads a file and outputs a frequency graph of the words it contains. Any feedback or tips would be appreciated.

from re import split
from collections import Counter

size = int(input("Output window size(in chars): "))
with open("text.txt", "r") as f:
  words = [w for w in split(r"[\W_\d]+", f.read().strip()) if w]
if not words:
  print("Put some text in `text.txt`!")
word_count = Counter(words)
top_words = sorted(word_count.keys(), key = lambda w : word_count[w], reverse = True)
scale = (size - len(max(top_words, key = len))) / word_count[top_words[0]]
for word in top_words[:10]:
  print("-" * (int(word_count[word] * scale) - 2) + "| " + word)

1 Answer 1



  • The Python style guide [PEP8] advises to use 4 space indentation

  • You don't have to sort the words

    Counter has some features that allow you to get the most common occurrences, aptly named most_common()

  • String formatting is cleaner vs manual string appending

    Instead of manually concatenating use str.format() or even f"{string}" with Python3.6+


Using these additions we can rewrite your last code block into:

word_count = Counter(words)
scale = (size - max(map(len, word_count))) / word_count.most_common(1)[0][1]
for word, occurence in word_count.most_common(10):
    print("{}| {}".format("-" * int(occurence * scale - 2), word))
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't max(len(word) for word in word_count) or max(map(len, word_count)) be a lot easier than calling max with len as the key and then calling len on it again? \$\endgroup\$
    – Graipher
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 10:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ohh I like max(map(len, word_count)) didn't cross my mind to write it this way! \$\endgroup\$
    – Ludisposed
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 10:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You want to scale to the longest word in top ten, not the longest word in the whole corpus. Also .most_common is presumably \$O(n)\$ in the number of unique words; it would be better to retrieve the top ten once and take the top one from there. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OhMyGoodness "You want to scale to the longest word in top ten, not the longest word in the whole corpus" I agree, but this is not done by OP. It leaves me guessing at their intentions, and I didn't want to deviate from OP's code behavior. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ludisposed
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ludisposed OP's code is len(max(top_words, key = len))) and it selects longest length from within top_words. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 18:07

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