Tutorial Overview

This overview provides a map of all relevant pages in the Transana Tutorial. Each link will open in a new tab, allowing you to easily return here by closing that tab.

Transana is a very powerful qualitative analysis program. It enables the analysis of many different kinds of data using many different analytic methodologies in different analytic styles.

The Transana Tutorial is very comprehensive. There are a lot of sections here to cover most things one can do with Transana. There’s a lot of detail.

The Tutorial is mostly linear from top to bottom. You probably won’t want to visit all of the topics, especially your first time through the Tutorial. You may want to focus on one type of data your first time through, particularly in the Adding Source Data and Making Selections sections. You can always come back to explore the depths of what Transana can do in all of its complex glory at a later time.

If you have questions or comments, please let us know. We are always happy to hear from Transana users.

Revision Pending

Unfortunately, parts of the Tutorial are showing their age. Transana is constantly advancing, and we can’t always update every page and video when we add new features. We are working on updating the Tutorial during the summer of 2023. Pages we still need to review are marked with an *. We apologize that some pages contain out-dated, inaccurate information at the moment.


These pages cover introductory information that will help you learn to start and configure Transana and to understand some fundamental concepts concerning how to work with Transana.

Introductory Videos

Starting Transana Multiuser and New Database Configuration

Transana’s Main Screen

Transana’s Analytic Model

Transana’s Organizational Structure

Adding Source Data

The first step in any qualitative analysis is to bring your source data into Transana. This process is different for different types of data, which have different properties and different analytic needs.

Source data is placed in Libraries in Transana. Libraries are organizational structures that allow you to group your source data in ways that make it easier to find what you are looking for later in the process. Some projects use a single library, while others use multiple libraries to organize large collections of data.

The first step in adding source data to Transana is to create a Library.

Create a Library *

Once you have created a Library, you add your source data files.

Data Type Add Source Data
(*.docx, *.rtf, *.txt)
Working with Text Data *

Prepare Text for Analysis *

Import a Text File * (Create a Document)

Edit a Document *

Still Image Working with Still Image Data *

Add a Still Image to a Document or Transcript *

See the “Making Selections” section below for “Code Still Image Data”

PDF Working with PDF Files *

Import a PDF File (Create a PDF Document)

Media (Video and Audio) data
Overview and common tasks
Working with Media Files *

Preparing Media Files for Analysis *

Waveforms *

Transana provides many options for transcription. See the Transcription section below.

Loading Existing Episodes and Controlling Media Playback *

– Media data paired with a transcript Import a Media File * (Create an Episode)

Add a new or existing Transcript *
– or –
Generate an automated transcript

– Media data with no transcript Import a Media File * (Create an Episode)

Create a Blank Transcript

– Media with Multiple Transcripts Import a Media Files * (Create an Episode)

Add Multiple Transcripts *

– Multiple Media Files Import Data with Multiple Simultaneous Media Files * (Create an Episode with Mutiple Media Files)

Add a new or existing Transcript *
– or –
Generate an automated transcript

Spreadsheet Data
(from online survey tools)
Import Spreadsheet Data *

Adding Multiple Data Files

Transana includes tools for adding large amounts of data easily.

Batch Document Creation * (including PDF Documents)

Batch Episode Creation *

Batch Snapshot Creation *


Video recordings represent an abstraction from an activity or event in reality. A video cannot capture all aspects of the event recorded. A thousand analytic decisions influence how useful the video is, including when the recording is started and stopped, where the camera is placed, where the camera is pointed, how the image is framed by zooming, where microphones are placed, how many cameras are used, and how intrusive the recording operation is allowed to be. The video cannot capture everything. Still, video can be a very useful tool for research.

Transcripts represent a further degree of abstraction. A transcript cannot capture all aspects of data in a video. What is captured in the transcript? Speech is common, but to what level of detail? Are sounds that are not words included? “Um”s and “uh”s and partial words in imperfect spoken language, and to what level of detail? How is intonation represented, if at all? Movement? Posture? Body language? Facial expression? Does a participant’s sarcasm, grief, or excitement come through clearly? How does one reflect the surroundings, the environment where an interview occurs? How do you transcribe music, or dance? Do you even have time to transcribe, given that the customer wants a summary analysis by Tuesday? Another thousand analytic decisions must be made.

The following describes how to transcribe in Transana. What you transcribe and how you transcribe are up to you.

Types of Transcripts

Manual Transcription *

Transana’s Built-In Transcription Shortcut Keys

Automated Transcription using Speechmatics Server

Add Time Codes *

Advanced Time Codes *

Transcript Formatting *

Transcript Templates *

Transcript Autocomplete *

Define New Transcription Shortcuts *

Loading Existing Media Files and Controlling Media Playback *

Add a Still Image to a Transcript *

Advanced Tips for Multiple Simultaneous Transcripts *

Preparing for Analysis

The general model for analyzing data in Transana is to follow these steps:

  • Bring source data into Transana
  • Make a selection to indicate a portion of that source data that is analytically important
  • Use either Coding or Categorization to indicate what is analytically important about that selection in the source data.

This page describes Categorization and Coding, and describes how to get started with both, creating Keywords for Coding and creating Collections for Categorization.

Analysis in Transana – an Overview *

Coding and Categorization

Creating Keyword Groups and Keywords *

Default Keywords *

Keyword Summary Report *

Create a Collection *

 Making Selections

Now that we have source data in the system and we have set up a coding system and a categorization system, we can get into the topic of making analytic selections from source data and assigning analytic meaning to these selections.

Important functional differences exist between different kinds of data, so there are some unavoidable differences in how you work with different types of data.  Pick the type of data you have in the table below.  (Some of the steps are repeated for different data types in the table.)


Data Type Select and Code Select and Categorize
(*.docx, *.rtf, *.txt)

Code a Text Selection *
(Create a Quick Quote)

Categorize a Text Selection *
(Create a Standard Quote)

Viewing Quotes *

Code an existing Quote *

Data Type Select, Code, and Categorize all at once
Still Image

Add a Still Image to a Document or Transcript *

Code Still Image Data *
(Create a Snapshot)

Add a Snapshot to a Document or a Transcript for Context*

Data Type Select and Code Select and Categorize
PDF PDF Quotes and PDF Snapshots – an Overview

Code Text in a PDF
(Create a PDF Quick Quote)

Code a Graphical Element in a PDF
(Create a PDF Quick Snapshot)

Categorize Text in a PDF
(Create a PDF Standard Quote)

Categorize a Graphical Element in a PDF
(Create a PDF Standard Snapshot)

Data Type Select and Code Select and Categorize
Video and Audio
(Overview and common tasks)

Viewing Clips *

Code an existing Clip *

– Media Files with Transcripts Code a Selection from an Episode with a Transcript *
(Create a Quick Clip)
Categorize a Selection from an Episode with a Transcript *
(Create a Standard Clip)
– Media Files without Transcripts Code a Selection from an Episode without a Transcript *
(Create a Quick Clip without Transcripts)
Categorize a Selection from an Episode without a Transcript *
(Create a Standard Clip without Transcripts)
– Media with Multiple Transcripts Code a Selection from an Episode with Multiple Transcripts *
(Create a Quick Clip with Multiple Transcripts)
Categorize a Selection from an Episode with Multiple Transcripts *
(Create a Standard Clip with Multiple Transcripts)
– Multiple Media Files Code a Selection from an Episode with Multiple Media Files *
(Create a Quick Clip with Multiple Media Files)
Categorize a Selection from an Episode with Multiple Media Files *
(Create a Standard Clip with Multiple Media Files)

Manipulating Selections

Once you have made initial selections, it is common to re-code and re-categorize those selections as your understanding of the data shifts and grows more complex.

Changing the size of selections *

Working with Codes * (renaming, deleting, etc.)

Working with Collections *

Common Coding Tasks *

Visualizations and Filters *

Additional Tabs in the Data Window *

Finding Meaning Across Selections (Reports and Searches)

Transana provides a variety of tools designed to help you explore your data as you strive to make sense of it.

Transana’s Reports *

The Scope of Reports *

Customizing Reports using Filters *

Word Frequency Reports *

Text Reports *

Keyword Maps *

Library Keyword Sequence Maps and Graphs *

Analytic Data Export *

Keyword Summary Report *

Working with Notes

Notes *

Notes Browser *

Notes Reports *


Quick Searches

Full Searches, the Search Interface, and Search Results *

The Search Matrix

Mastering Complex Searches, Understanding Boolean Logic and Parentheses

Converting Search Results to Collections

Writing up Results *