Importing an already existing code book can be useful for a number of reasons:
- To prepare a stock of predefined codes in the framework of a given theory. This is especially useful in the context of team work when creating a base project.
- To code in a "top-down" (or deductive) way with all necessary concepts already at hand. This complements the "bottom-up" (or inductive) open coding stage in which concepts emerge from the data.
You can prepare a code book including code descriptions, code groups and colors in Excel and import the Excel file. This is how you need to prepare the Excel file:
You can enter headings like Code, Code Definition, Code Group 1, Code Group 2, but you do not have to. If you do not enter headings, the columns are interpreted in the following order:
- column 1: code name
- column 2: code description (comment)
- column 3: code group
- column 4: code group
- all subsequent columns: further code groups
If you color the code names, this color is used in ATLAS.ti as code color.
To import the Excel file, select Codes > Import > Codebook (XLSX).
Select a file. Depending on whether you have inserted headers in the Excel file, activate or deactivate the option "Ignore headers (first row) during import". You find this option at the bottom left in the file picker.
If your project already has codes, you need to decide what ATLAS.ti should do if the list of codes in the Excel table contains codes that are already in your project. You have the option to update or to keep the existing codes. You find this option at the bottom right-hand side of the file picker.
After you have set the options, click Import.
You need to use this option if you want to export a list of codes for re-use in another ATLAS.ti project.
To export all codes with comments and groups, select Codes > Export > Codebook (XLSX).
For purposes of creating a code book for a report or appendix, we recommend using the Export option offered in the Code Manager. This export also contains groundedness and density counts. See Report Examples.