Why can't I edit my source documents (e.g. transcript or memo)?

Once your documents have been imported into NVivo, they can be edited. However, there are some situations when you may not be able to edit your documents. The most common reasons this might occur are outlined below.

Coding Stripes

If coding stripes or the coding density bar are displayed, the relevant document cannot be edited. A 'Read-Only' indicator will appear in the NVivo status bar at the bottom of the window. To ‘turn off’ your coding stripes so that they’re not displayed:

  1. Open your required source document
  2. Go to the View menu and select Coding Stripes
  3. Select None

Once the coding stripes have been turned off, you should be able to edit your document.

Importing documents into NVivo as ‘read only’

Another reason you may not be able to edit your document is if you have selected to import it into NVivo as a ‘read only’ file. To verify and correct this:

  1. Open your required source document
  2. Go to the Project menu and select Document Properties
  3. Untick the ‘read only’ box if this has been selected 

‘Read only’ PDFs

If your PDF has been created as a ‘read only’ document prior to importing it into NVivo, you will not be able to edit it in your project. You will need to alter the document to an editable format outside of NVivo and then import into your project.

Password protected

You may not be able to edit source documents if the project has been password protected. If you are prompted to enter a password when opening the project, you will need to enter the appropriate password to enable read/write access. If you are unsure of the password you will need to seek advice from the person who set the password.


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