Use coding stripes to explore coding

Coding stripes are colored bars that show you the nodes that code the content you are viewing.

Coding stripes showing coding in a document.

You can hover over a coding stripe to see more information or right-click on a stripe to:

  • Highlight coding for the node or user that the stripe represents (content is highlighted in yellow)
  • Open the node in Detail View
  • Uncode all content coded at the node (only content in the file or node you are working with is uncoded)
  • Hide the coding stripe
  • Show (or hide) sub-stripes—sub-stripes 'split' the stripe into coding done by selected users

You cannot display coding stripes when a file is in edit mode.

Show coding stripes

  1. Open the file or node.
  2. On the menu bar, in the View group, click Coding Stripes and then choose an option.
    • All Nodes Coding—show coding stripes for all the theme, case and relationship nodes that code the content.
    • Nodes Recently Coding—see the coding you have just done. This is one way to check that you coded the content to the correct node.
    • Nodes Most Coding or Nodes Least Coding—Showing the nodes that most or least code the content can help you to see the dominant themes in your files.
    • Selected Items—these could be thematic nodes, case nodes, relationship nodes or one of the following:
      • Users. Show a coding stripe for each user to compare patterns of coding by team members.
      • Case Classifications. Show coding stripes for selected attribute values (for example, occupation = farmer).
      • Sets. Show coding stripes for nodes that are members of a set. for example, all the nodes related to a broader theme.
      • Search Folders. Show coding stripes for nodes that are shown in a Search Folder. For example, you might create a Search Folder that finds all nodes created last week or finds all female focus group participants.
    • Coding Density Only—this might help you save space.


  • If more than 200 nodes code the item, then the nodes that 'least' code the content are excluded.
  • You can find out information about the users who did the coding, by hovering over the coding stripe to see the user's initials, or showing sub-stripes.
  • If you have assigned colors to your nodes, you can display these colors in the coding stripes.
  • When you show stripes for the nodes most, least or recently coded, you can specify the number of stripes displayed (between 7 and 200). You can also set this number in your application options.

Use sub-stripes to show more information

You can display sub-stripes of a coding stripe to see more information about the coding, for example:

  • When the coding stripe represents a node, you can display sub-stripes to see the users who did the coding.
  • When the coding stripe represents a user, you can display sub-stripes to see what nodes the user coded the content at.

For example, from a coding stripe for the node green policy, you can show sub-stripes to see which users have coded the current content to that node. From a coding stripe for user MVC, you could split the stripe into sub-stripes that show each node MVC coded at.

  1. Right-click on the coding stripe, and then click Show Sub-Stripes.
  2. Select the user or node that you want to display as a sub-stripe

    Up to nine users/nodes can be displayed in this context menu—click More Sub-Stripes, to open the Select Project Items dialog box  where you can select any number of users/nodes to display as sub-stripes.

Before you open a sub-stripe, you can hover over the coding stripe to see the nodes the content is coded at or the users who coded the content.

Check coding density

The Coding Density bar is displayed to the left of the colored coding stripes.

Coding Density bar in the Coding Stripes panel.

You can hover over the Coding Density bar to see the nodes that code the related content. The color graduations indicate the coding density: light gray (minimal coding) to dark gray (maximum coding). The coding density is calculated based on all nodes that code the content—not just those that are currently displayed in the coding stripes.

Change the color scheme for your coding stripes

When you display coding stripes, you can choose either automatic (show random system-generated colors) or item colors (show colors you have assigned to users or nodes).

If you set the color scheme to item colors you can group the coding stripes by color—for example, if you have colored all nodes that relate to environmental issues green, you might want to group all the green stripes together.

See the same set of coding stripes in another file or node

  • On the menu bar, in the View group, click Coding Stripes, and then click Show Items Last Selected.

You might want to show the same stripes in a number of files or nodes—for example:

  • If you are comparing coding done by different team members, you might want to open a number of files and see stripes for the same users
  • If you are reviewing coding, you might want to open a number of different files and see stripes for the same nodes

Show or hide shadow coding stripes

In audio, video and picture files when sections/regions of the media are coded the associated rows in the transcript/log are shadow-coded. Shadow-coding provides a quick way of determining which part of the media the coded transcript/log refers to and vice-versa. Shadow coding stripes are patterned—you can identify them by their diagonal stripes.

By default, shadow coding is always turned on when you first open an audio, video or picture file and display coding stripes. You can only see shadow coding when you are also showing coding stripes.

Print coding stripes

You can print a file or node along with its coding stripes, when the file is open in Detail View with coding stripes displayed.

When you print documents, memos, externals or print the Reference view of a node, coding stripes are printed on the same page as the file or node content—the file or node content is scaled and rotated to allow space on the page for the coding stripes. If you have a large number of stripes displayed, NVivo may not be able to fit them all on the page.

Printed document with coding stripes displayed on the right.

Coding stripes are printed on adjacent pages when you print PDF, dataset, picture, audio, or video files, and when you print from the different file type tabs within Node Detail View (the Text, PDF, Picture, Audio, Video or Dataset tabs). Each page of content is printed followed by its coding stripe pages—there is no limit to the number of coding stripes you can print.

Coding Stripes printed on separate pages.