Handling exported data in a word processor

QDA software such as MAXqda and OpenCode enables you to export your text as a table. In this guide, I will show how you can use these tables in Microsoft Word in order to create worksheets for working on paper and/or in Word.

Step 1: Basic formatting

After importing the data, you should do some basic formatting: Change the page orientation to ‘Landscape’ (Page Layout tab -> Orientation -> Landscape). Then you should insert a header identifying the interview (Insert tab -> Header) and pagination (Insert tab -> Page number).

If you or members of your team like scribbling ‘between the lines’, you should also increase the space in-between the table lines; between 0.4” and 0.6” should do the job (Right-click on the four-arrowed square on the upper left of the table -> Table Properties -> Row tab).

Step 2: Cleaning up the table

Left-click on the four-arrowed square on the upper left of the table to select the whole table and follow the instructions in the screen shot below to make the table borders visible. You do not have to do this if you are using data from MAXqda, since the export function already delivers a table with borders. Also, you will not have to delete any content if you exported from MAXqda, since the table only comes with two columns (line numbers and text).

Making table borders visible

Step 3: Modifying the table

You can add more columns or rows, or merge cells in the ‘Layout’ tab underneath the ‘Table Tools’ tab. If you use data from MAXqda, make sure to reduce the width of the column containing your text before adding any new columns to the left.

Step 4: Inserting the header row

Now you should add a header row to the table. This row will always show up at the beginning of every page.

Step 5: Locking the cell width

After you have done that, you should adjust the width of the columns containing your line numbers and your text, so can eliminate ugly line breaks within a table cell. You can adjust the cell width by moving your mouse over one of the vertical lines separating cells and holding down the left mouse button while moving the mouse left and right. Since word will keep automatically adjusting the cell width if you type something into a cell, you should deactivate this feature:

Step 6: Deactivate language tools

Depending on your kind of data, you also might want to deactivate the the language and grammar check (In case you are bothered by red and green lines under your text):

Printing or keep working in Word? Or both?

Now your table is ready to print: you now have a document with exact line numeration: You have plenty of space to scribble, and you have additional rows fitting to your needs during analysis. You can also keep working with your data in Word, using formatting and review tools. And of course, you can combine both: The document you created can serve as your protocol document if you work in a group. You can attach the results of your discussions right next to the text, distinguish between who said what, and on what you agreed (or didn’t agree).  This might look something like this:

This table can help you condense the results of your analysis session. In a second step, you could condense these results again, writing them up into a memo attached to the text or a certain passage within your QDA software.