How to code

Assigning codes to segments of texts, images or video footage in MAXQDA is known as “coding”.

You can code a document or document segment with as many codes as you want. The technical limit for the number of coded segments per document is so high that it usually has no practical significance. Moreover, coded segments can overlap, intersect, or be completely contained within other coded segments.

Selecting the segment you want to code

The process of coding can be done in many different ways, but you always start by selecting part of a text or an image in the “Document Browser” with your mouse. You can see an example of a selected text passage in the “Document Browser” below:

A highlighted segment of text
Please note: The smallest part of a text that can be coded is a single character. In most cases, you would want to code at least an entire word.

Coding texts and image segments in a PDF

You can select a text in a PDF as you would in a text document.

If you want to select an image in a PDF, e.g. because you want to analyze a scanned PDF whose text cannot be converted into a “selectable” text using OCR, you can use the mouse to draw a frame. To do this, you only have to start the welection process in an area that does not contain any selectable characters. You can adjust the selected area later by clicking the corners and dragging them to a suitable size.

Highlighted text (above) and highlighted image segment (below) in a PDF Highlighted text (above) and highlighted image segment (below) in a PDF

Selecting segments of images

In image files, you can drag a frame with the pressed mouse button in the same way as in PDF documents. The edges of the frame can be adjusted later by clicking and dragging the corners.

Selecting texts in tables

To select a text in a table, double-click the cell. As soon as the cell shows an orange frame, you can select text in this cell with the mouse. You can’t make a selection of several cells.

Selecting segments of videos

Videos are analyzed and coded in a separate window, the “Multimedia Browser”. In the Coding Videos section, you’ll find detailed explanations for how to code videos.

Code the selected text with your mouse

The simplest way to code in MAXQDA is to drag and drop a selected text or image segment onto a code with your mouse.

Move the mouse to the area of the selected segment, press the left mouse button, and move the mouse to the desired code in the “Code System”. Here, release the mouse button and “drop” the selected segment onto the code.

Coding by dragging and dropping
Tip: The same segment can also be assigned consecutively to several codes.

Alternatively, you can also do the reverse, that is, drag your desired code to the selected segment and then release the mouse button.

Please note: MAXQDA makes sure that the same code is not assigned to the same segment multiple times. Segments assigned with the same code will therefore never overlap; they will turn into a single, larger coded segment.