Import transcripts

You can import transcripts to embed with media files that have already been imported into a project Audio and video files. The transcripts can be time-stamped (allowing synchronization during playback), with speakers identified.

Transcript files must be plain text (.txt) in comma- or tab-separated variable format (CSV or TSV). See formatting instructions below Prepare text files for import.

Transcripts exported from NVivo Transcription do not require any preparation for import.

Prepare text files for import

Import text documents (.txt) formatted as described below. Transcripts exported from NVivo Transcription do not require any preparation for import.

  • Paragraphs that start with valid timestamps.

    Text file showing paragraphs that start with timestamps.

  • Paragraphs that end with valid timestamps.

    Text file with paragraphs ending in timestamps.

  • Timestamps and transcribed text on different lines.

    Text file with timestamps on separate paragraphs.

  • Speaker name and valid timestamp. The speaker name must be followed by a colon (:) and a space. In the example, the timestamps were inserted by the transcription software, F5

    Text file with speaker names and timestamps.

  • Transcript text only (no timestamp or speaker). If you do not include timestamps, a single transcript entry is created.

    Text file without timestamps or speaker names.


  • Text followed by a colon (:) and space is automatically imported into the Speaker column. Avoid using colons in the text of the transcript.
  • Timestamps are imported as the start time for the text that follows and the end time for preceding text. For more information on timestamp and timespan formats—refer to Understand timestamps.

Import a transcript

To import a transcript to embed with a media file already in a project (only possible if the file currently has no transcript) follow these instructions (includes text files exported from NVivo Transcription).

  1. Open the video or audio file that you want to import the transcript into.
  2. Turn on edit mode (top right of Detail View).
  3. On the Data tab, in the Import group, click Transcript Rows.
  4. Select the file containing the transcript entries, and then click Select.
  5. Click Import.

NOTE  NVivo tries to detect the file encoding used in the file. If you cannot import the data correctly, try using a different file encoding.

Understand timestamps

A 'timestamp' indicates a point in time. For example, two minutes (00:02:00) into an interview, Jane said, "I don't agree with the issues". You can enter timestamps as hh:mm:ss or mm:ss (where hh = hours, mm = minutes, and ss = seconds). Timestamps can optionally include tenths of a second.

Timestamp in your text file


NVivo converts to


8 minutes and 15 seconds



1 hour 22 minutes and 30 seconds



9 minutes and 33.5 seconds



9 minutes and 33.5 seconds


Export transcripts

You can export a transcript from NVivo to a document, PDF or text file:

  1. Double-click to open the media file in Detail View.
  2. Click anywhere in the transcript you want to export.
  3. On the Data tab, in the Export group, click Items.
  4. (Optional) Change the name of the exported file or choose to save it in a different location or file format.
  5. Click Save.