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NVivo: Introduction and Basics

An introduction and overview of NVivo to help researchers organize and analyze qualitative data.

Helpful Links

Helpful Links for further learning

Tips and Troubleshooting

Other Common Questions

Tiny screen? Undock open source and node panes for ease of reading

  • You can undock the views of open sources, nodes, queries, or other project items by right-clicking on the item's tab and selecting "Undock." This will open the item in its own viewer window. This is particularly useful if you have dual monitors: you can have a source document on one monitor, and have the node view on the other.

Choosing between Word or PDF formats? Word and plain text files are easier to code in NVivo than PDFs.

  • In general, it is easier to code plain text and Word documents than it is to code PDFs. Automated word detection (such as word frequency and text search queries) also work better on plain text and Word documents than they do on PDFs. If you have a choice between the two formats and your analysis only requires the text, choose plain text.

Headers, footers, and page numbers in Word docs are hidden when viewing the file in NVivo.

  • If your Word source document has headers, footers, and page numbers, they will be hidden when the document is imported into NVivo. This makes it easier to code long passages of text. This is NOT true of PDFs: headers, footers, and page numbers can not be ignored, and can interfere with coding sentences or paragraphs that carry over a page.

Need line numbers? Save your source as a PDF

  • If you have a Microsoft Word document with line numbers that you want to import into NVivo, those line numbers will not be visible in NVivo. If you wish to be able to see the line numbers, save the Word document as a PDF, and import that PDF into NVivo. Note that you will be able to see the line numbers when viewing the source, but not when viewing coded content in a node.