The Comprehensive Dedoose User Guide


Dedoose is an easy-to-use, collaborative, web based application that facilitates all types of research data management and analysis.
Here's what you need to know about how to use it.

Download full User Guide here:


Download full User Guide here:


Working with Projects

Project Workspace

The Project Workspace allows users with appropriate access privileges to:

  • Switch the active project - when logging into Dedoose, by default, you will be entering the most recently accessed project. However, note that periodic system maintenance will cause you to be instead taken to your first project (most commonly your demo project). Should this occur, simply enter your Project Workspace to load the project you wish to access
  • Add new projects by clicking either the button in the upper right corner of the panel or the 'Create Project' button in the lower right corner
  • Delete, Copy, or Rename a selected project

The Projects Workspace can be accessed by clicking the Projects tab in the Main Menu Bar.

Screenshot of the Main Menu Bar, "Projects" Tab Highlighted

Note: Renaming, Copying, and Deleting a project can only be done if you are the project creator.

Project Merging

Project Merging

There are two ways to merge projects. 1. You can export one project, and then import that file into the other project 2. You can have our staff help assist with the task.

Project merging in Dedoose is designed to be as clean and clear as possible and typically requires some ‘tidying’ following the merge. When projects are merged:

  • Documents are compared for both title and content. If found to be identical, only one copy will be retained in the merged project, if not, both documents will be retained
  • Excerpts are compared across identical documents for character start and end position. If found to be identical, only one excerpt will be retained with coding from both projects, if not, two, possibly overlapping, excerpts will be retained
  • Descriptors from both projects will be retained as unique descriptor sets in the merged project and will remain linked, if appropriate, to their associated documents
  • Codes from both projects will be retained - even if titled similarly. Duplicate or similar codes can be easily merged in the newly merged project to consolidate the excerpting and coding activity

Note: Only the project administrator will have access to the newly merged project. Other users can be linked subsequently through the procedures described elsewhere in this guide.

Project Migration/Creation from Existing Data Sets

Within the past few years a group was formed known as REFI-QDA with the sole objective of developing and adopting an industry standard format for migrating data between different applications. Originally this involved simply sharing codebooks. Now, the QDPX standard has been ratified which allows programs to share much of their project data including code system, media files, excerpts, code applications, transcript information. More information on the standard can be found at:

Dedoose has always done everything we can to make sure your data are accessible, exportable to common formats, transferable, and we’ve taken the extra step of doing what we can to help users migrate their data from other applications into Dedoose. In short, we know your data and all you do with them are yours and believe you should be able to do anything you wish with them. Fundamental to its design, Dedoose has always allowed full export of your data into a variety of formats and, so, we were happy to carry out the work to incorporate an open standard in doing so for moving data between applications. Starting with Version 8.3, Dedoose had begun to support importing and exporting QDPX files with a few important caveats. As you will find elsewhere, it is important to understand that given the unique nature of each program, the QDPX format will often NOT include all project data. This is certainly true with a Dedoose project and, as such, we strongly recommend only using this exchange format when necessary. Here are the Dedoose specific limitations at the time of this publication.

First, here is how we export a project to QDPX.

Load the intended project

From the ‘Home’ tab click the ‘Export Data’ button

Select ‘Export to QDPX’

Enter an email address to send the file, do NOT enter a password

Within a few minutes you should receive an email with the link to download the file

Importing a QDPX file into Dedoose is fairly simple as well.

First, go to the ‘Projects’ tab and create a new project

From the ‘Home’ tab click the ‘Import Data’ button

Select ‘Import QDPX’

Find and select the QDPX file on your local hard drive, do NOT enter a password

Exporting: When exporting data from Dedoose, the REFI-QDA standard does not include mechanisms to store weighted code data, descriptor sets, descriptor data, descriptor links, data sets, memo groups, and other unique Dedoose project data. Additionally, when exporting a Dedoose project to a QDPX format file, you will need to manually open the QDPX export (it’s simply a zip file with a different extension) and add your video, audio, and/or pdf file media into the ‘sources’ sub folder for import in other applications. The reason for this extra step is because in Dedoose these types of media are stored in a Dedoose specific format via a process which, currently, cannot be reversed. Finally, all exported documents will be converted to plain text.

Importing: When importing QDPX files into Dedoose from other programs Dedoose cannot import PDF files from a QDPX export and any audio or video media will first need to be uploaded into the receiving Dedoose project if these media files’ excerpts, code applications, and descriptor data are to be properly located and linked.

We understand that Dedoose is one choice of a variety of somewhat similar tools and, while we are proud of what we continue to develop and believe in the value of many Dedoose specific features, we appreciate that some may choose to use alternatives. In our support of this exchange format, we are doing what we can to allow users to move as easily as possible from one tool to another and it is certainly our hope that Dedoose will be seriously considered as the tool of choice when alternative solutions are being considered. In fact, when anyone comes for information on a ‘best choice,’ it is our recommendation that users try more than one tool to get a real life feel for what will most useful and valuable to their work.