Project maps

Project maps are a graphic representation of the different items in your project. Create a project map to explore and present the connections in your data.

NOTE  You build project maps. If you want to see your project data mapped for you, use an explore diagram to step through your project items and their connections.

Project maps are made of shapes that represent the different items in your project and connectors which show links between items. You need some project data before you can create a project map.

To get started with a project map, you need to frame a question you want to ask of your project data. For example, how have these files been coded? Which cases are assigned to this classification? What are the attributes defined for this classification? Then, add the project items that are central to your question to the canvas to build up a visual representation of your enquiry. Add other, associated items to the canvas to help illustrate the answer.

You can use project maps to:

  • Explore and organize data.
  • Develop ideas, build theory and make decisions.
  • Identify emerging patterns, theories and explanations.
  • Visually represent the links between project items.
  • Provide a record of stages in a project.

When you create project maps, save an image in your project journal and record your observations and insights.

Example of a Project map.

When should I create a project map?

At this stage of your project Create a project map to

During analysis

See your data holistically and gain greater understanding of your project.

Identify connections between project items—how are these things linked together?

See if there are gaps or isolated items so you can seek out additional data.

Mark a point in time or a milestone in your project.

Make predictions from your data.

Developing theory

Prompt analytic reflection and review the links between your data. This generates the kind of thinking that helps you build theory and progress your research.

Develop causal hunches—If this happened, maybe it was because...

Presenting results

Explain your analytical approach.

Tell a lot in a small space.

Visualize the links between project items.

Understand the project map Detail View

Components of a Project map in Detail View.

1 The associated data pane. Select an item on the map then click Show Associated Items to refresh the data displayed in this pane. This pane can be hidden to give more space to work with your map.

2 The map canvas.

When the map is open in Detail View, you can use the horizontal and vertical scroll bars to move around the map. You can use Zoom to focus on an area of the map, or Zoom out to see the whole map at a reduced size.

If you want to change the map, you must enter edit mode.

TIP  Undock Detail View and display it in a separate window to make more room when you're working with maps.

Create a new project map

  1. On the Explore tab, in the Maps group, click Project Map.
  2. In the Name box, enter a name for the project map.
  3. Click OK. The project map canvas displays in Detail View.
  4. On the Project Map tab, click Add Project Items.
  5. Select the project items you want to add to the map.
  6. Click OK. The project item displays on the canvas.
  7. Select one or more items and on the Project Map tab, in the Items group, click Show Associated Items. The Associated Items pane displays.
  8. Select an associated item and drag it to the canvas. The item is added to the project map with a connector to the original project item.


  • Project items are linked to your data—you can double-click to open in Detail View.
  • You can change the layout of the project map to best present your data.
  • You can use keyboard shortcuts to work with maps.