Import documents and PDFs

What do you want to do?


Understand document and PDF import

You might have interview transcripts or field notes in Word files, rich text files or plain text files. You can import these materials into NVivo. When you import  Word documents, rich text or text  files into NVivo, the content of the file is imported into NVivo as a 'document' source. You can edit the content of the document within NVivo.

You may have source materials such as government reports in PDF format, or a collection of archival material that has been scanned and saved as PDF files. You can import these materials directly into NVivo. When you import PDF files into NVivo, the PDF is imported into your project as a 'PDF' source. You cannot edit the content of the PDF within NVivo.

If you want to import documents or PDFs that are stored in a reference management tool (for example, EndNote), you can import the files together with their reference information—refer to Exchange data between NVivo and reference management tools for more information.

PDFs that are created by scanning paper documents may contain only images—each page is a single image. if you import the PDF into NVivo, you will find that there is no text in the page to select, code or query. You can select and code regions of the page, however you are coding a image selection and you cannot use Text Search or Word Frequency queries to explore the text. If you prefer to work with text (rather than images of text), then you should consider using optical character recognition (OCR) to convert the scanned images to text (before you import the PDF files into NVivo).

NOTE  If you are using NVivo 9.0 (rather than NVivo 9.1 or later), PDF files are imported as document sources. NVivo 9.1 changes the way you work with PDF files—refer to What's new in NVivo 9  for more information. If you are still using NVivo 9.0, we recommend you update your software—refer to Software updates .for more information.

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Import a document or PDF file

To import a document or PDF file:

  1. In Navigation View, click the name of the sources folder that you want to import the document into.

  2. On the External Data tab, in the Import group, click Documents or PDFs.


The Import Internals dialog box opens.

  1. Under Import from, click the Browse button and then select the file you want to import.  Refer to About Sources to see the supported document formats.

  2. Click the Open button.

  3. Click OK. The Document or PDF Properties dialog box opens.

  4. (Optional) Change the name or description of the new document source.

  5. Click OK.


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Import web pages, PowerPoint presentations and other material as PDF sources

Much of the content that you can create or view on a computer can be printed, saved or exported to a PDF file.

Anything you can print (for example, web pages and PowerPoint presentations) can be printed to a PDF file, if you have installed a PDF printer driver on your computer. Some software applications allow you to save or export content in PDF format, and some web pages include a link to a PDF version of the page that you can download.  

Once the content is in a PDF file, you can import it into NVivo in the usual way—refer to Import a document or PDF file for more information.

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