Importing a List of Existing Codes

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. The headers can be in any language. The columns are interpreted in the following order, whether you add headings or not:

  • column 1: code name
  • column 2: code description (comment)
  • column 3: code group 1
  • column 4: code group 2
  • all subsequent columns: further code groups

Code list for Import

If you color the code names, this color is used in ATLAS.ti as code color.

To import the Excel file, select the Import & Export tab and next Codebook. From the drop down menu, select Import from Excel

Select a file. Depending on whether you have inserted headers in the Excel file, activate or deactivate the option "My data contains headers".

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 can overwrite the existing codes, or ignore the duplicate codes, so that they are not imported again.

You also find the Import / Export Codebook options in the Tools tab of the Code Manager.

Exporting the List of Codes

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 the Import & Export tab and from there Export Codebook / Export to Excel.

Decide whether the Excel file should contain headers for codes, comments and groups, and whether to open the list in Excel immediately.

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 is already formatted. See Report Examples.