PDF - functions

02.05.2018, 08:42

Dear Andreas, dear all,
I would like to know if there is any difference between PDFs files and word files when it comes to the coding and analysis functions.
I am currently working on .doc texts (interviews transcriptions): what should I take into account if I convert these files to PDFs? Are there features that do not work with PDF files in Maxqda (eg edit, coding, memos, merging.. etc)?
Thank you very much

Version: MAXQDA 2018
System: Windows 10
daniela cherubini
Posts: 13
Joined: 03.01.2018, 11:45

Re: PDF - functions

02.05.2018, 12:55

Dear daniela,

yes, there are indeed some things to know about PDFs! First of all, you can't edit them, because PDFs have a static layout. So to edit PDFs after they have been created, you'll need special software, and even with this special software, it's not comparable to editing word documents. As a general rule, you don't want to change a PDF after it has been created.

Secondly, all the features that (can) work with paragraphs don't work with PDFs, because paragraphs in PDFs can't be recognized.

Coding PDFs is also different, since there can be a text layer behind the visible PDF surface (like when you use OCR). If there isn't, you'll end up coding the PDF as an image. If you do so, you won't be able to use any analysis tools that rely on characters (like the whole MAXDictio module for example)

Last but not least, processing and working with PDFs always takes more time then working with plain text.

You can read more about this topic here:


So if you can, I would always recommend to _not_ go with PDF-transcripts of interviews. If this is only about the page numbers that you can find in the foot notes, I would simply delete the foot note. If you need to refer to a segment in your interviews, you could always go with the paragraph number instead.
MAXQDA Support Team
Andreas V.
Posts: 274
Joined: 13.04.2017, 16:23

Re: PDF - functions

07.05.2018, 13:25

thank you very much
daniela cherubini
Posts: 13
Joined: 03.01.2018, 11:45

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