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Atlas logoAtlas.ti v.5 - Start project and import documents

Authors of this page: Graham R. Gibbs and Celia Taylor

Affiliation: University of Huddersfield

Date written: 30th June 2005





Symbols and Conventions

Preparing the Data for Introduction into the Project

There are some guidelines to bear in mind when using Atlas.ti. The program will accept files in plain text format, it will accept rich text format and work better with such files. RTF and plain text.

In addition, in Atlas.ti, paragraphs can be grouped. The end of a group of paragraphs is indicated by two consecutive carriage returns. This is important if you want to use the autocode features where it is possible to select a paragraph group as the quotation to be linked to the code. For example, in an interview with a respondent you might put two carriage returns at the end of each respondent response and use single returns elsewhere.

New Project/Hermeneutic Unit

When you start your program for the first time, you will be asked if you want to use an existing project (called a hermeneutic unit in Atlas.ti) or create a new one. (You may also have the option to open a tutorial file at this point.)

To create a new hermeneutic unit

  1. click the program to start it, then: The Welcome dialog appears.
  2. click Create a new Hermeneutic Unit.
  3. In the dialog, give your HU a name.
  4. click OK. The main Atlas.ti workbench window opens. This stays open and gives access through buttons and menus to the functions of Atlas.ti. See Figure 1.



Atlas.ti workbench window

Figure 1. Atlas.ti desktop window

Contextual right mouse button

To open an existing project

  1. In the Welcome dialog click Open Hermeneutic Unit from Picklist.
  2. click OK and from the pop-up menu select your Hermeneutic Unit.



To introduce new, transcribed documents into the programs

When you start a new project there are two things you can do, introduce your transcribed documents (including any memos you've already written) or set up your coding system.

To introduce documents:

  1. click Documents:Assign.
  2. In the file selector dialog find and select the file you want to assign (introduce) to your HU.
  3. click OK.


The file name appears in the pop-down menu of documents. Selecting it from this menu will display its contents.

Examining documents

Once you have introduced files they stay as part of the project. You can examine them at any time.

To examine a document

  1. click the Primary document pop-down menu. See Figure 2.
  2. click document you want to display. See Figure 3.
  3. The document appears in the primary document area.


opening Atlas primary document pop-down menu

Figure 2. Atlas.ti Primary Document

Atlas.ti Primary Document Pop-down menu

Figure 3. The Atlas.ti Primary document pop-down menu


Inspect and edit a document

Usually you should make sure your primary documents are as accurate as possible before you introduce them into your project. However, there may be some small changes you want to make:

The program does not encourage you to edit primary documents as this may disrupt any coding you have done.

To edit a document:

  1. click the document displayed in the primary document area.
  2. click the Text Edit button (Atlas.ti Text Edit button in off mode) or click Edit:Document Access:Enter Edit Mode.
  3. The text editor tools become available in the top menu. See Figure 4.
  4. Make the changes you want.
  5. When you have finished, click the Text Edit button (Atlas.ti Text Edit button in on mode) or click Edit:Document Access:Leave Edit Mode.


Atlas.ti Text Edit tools

Figure 4. Atlas.ti Text Edit tools

Make a report on a document

If you want to have a backup copy on your hard disk of a document in the project (e.g. if you have edited it in the program) or want to do some coding away from the computer and need a hard copy, then you will need to produce a report of the document which can be printed.

To display a document in the Primary document area.

  1. click Document:Output and select Print with margin. click Print.
  2. Other options that can be selected are List, Hierarchy and Quotations.
  3. Select an output option. See Figure 5.
  4. Select where you want the report in the Send Output to: dialog, click OK. See Figure 6.


Atlas.ti Document Output menu

Figure 5. Atlas.ti Document Output menu

Atlas.ti Send Output To dialog

Figure 6. Atlas.ti Send Output To dialog