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ATLAS.ti : Creating a Project

A tutorial to get started with the computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) program ATLAS.ti.

Creating or Importing a Project

When you open ATLAS.ti for the first time, a splash screen will appear asking if you want to create a new project, or import an existing one. To start from scratch with your own documents, choose "Create New Project." If you already have an .altproj ATLAS.ti project, choose "Import Project Bundle." Mobile projects are used for projects in an iPad or Android format, and choose Legacy if you have a project from an older ATLAS.ti version (5, 6, or 7). If you have a "Hermeneutic Unit/HU" project, choose Legacy import!

the ATLAS.ti splash screen, options create new project, import project bundle, import mobile project, import legacy project

Important Note About Saving Your Project!

If you want to move your project file to a different computer, or otherwise create a copy to work from, you must Export! Saving the project only saves the your working copy stored in your AppData folder, which is inaccessible to the user. Exporting creates the neat .altproj file package, which you can then import into ATLAS.ti on another machine. However, if you linked documents (usually audio/video files too large for import), you need to bring those to the new machine as well. See information about linked documents below.

Import the Sample Project

You can download a sample project from ATLAS.ti's Manuals page. This is the same project used in the Quick Tour, which we will be following in the early stages of this guide. 

Once you have the file "Children & Happiness – Stage 1 (.atlproj format)" downloaded, fire up ATLAS.ti 8.0 and select "Import Project Bundle," select your downloaded file, and let's get analyzing!

Import Your Own Documents

If you already have some documents you want to analyze, you can certainly import your own. The program accepts a variety of document types, from text to images. When you first open ATLAS.ti, you will see "Add Documents" in the upper left-hand corner. After importing them, they will be available on the left-hand side in the "Documents" drop-down. You can also manage your Documents in the Document Manager (Home tab, Managers group).

Linking Documents 

If you have videos, audio, or other sizable files that you want to analyze in ATLAS.ti, you have the option to link them instead of importing. Linking a file means it will be accessed from its original location in ATLAS.ti when you want it. This also means that if you delete or move the file, you will have to tell ATLAS.ti its new location and relink it. If you plan to work on another computer, you must bring the linked file(s) with you!

The process to add a Linked Document is similar to Adding Documents. In the Add Documents dropdown, select "Add linked video/audio." Your file browser will open and you will select the file you want to link. This process is similar to assigning documents in ATLAS.ti version 7. 


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