Matrix coding query

Matrix Coding queries enable you to see coding intersections between two lists of items.

You can use Matrix Coding queries to ask a wide range of questions about patterns in your coded data and gain access to the content that shows those patterns.

For example—depending on how you coded your data, you could compare Positive and Negative attitudes towards different themes:

Example of Matrix Coding query showing positive and negative sentiment about a collection of themes.

Or compare what different cases have said about an issue:

Example of Matrix Coding query showing positive and negative sentiment about a collection of themes.

You could also explore how terms are used in different contexts. For example, what do people say about Habitat in relation to the Economy?

Matrix coding query results showing how different terms are used.

Refer to Move forward with queries and visualizations for more ideas about how you can use Matrix Coding queries to explore your data.

The resulting node matrix can be saved in your project as a query result or with your nodes in the Node Matrices folder.

When you are working with a node matrix, you can:

  • Open a node from a matrix cell to see all the content coded at the cell (at both the row and column nodes)—double-click on a cell to open the node.
  • Apply shading to cells to make it easier to see patterns in the matrix
  • Change the information displayed in the matrix cells—for example number of files coded or number of nodes coded
  • Filter or sort the matrix
  • Transpose the columns and rows

If you want to view the matrix as a chart, click the Chart tab. You can make changes to the chart type, title, labels, gridlines, and rotation.

Node matrices

Create a matrix coding query

If you are not familiar with NVivo queries, you may want to create your query using the Wizard—the Wizard guides you through the process of setting your query criteria. However, not all query features are available in the Wizard, so you may sometimes want to create your query outside the Wizard.


  • To save the query, click the Add to Project button and enter the name and description (optional).
  • If you include an 'aggregate' node in the scope of a query, content coded at the node and all its direct children will be included in the query results.

When the query has finished running, the results are displayed as a temporary preview in Detail View.

Save the preview results as a node matrix

You can save the preview results as a node matrix in your project—either in the Results folder or Node Matrices folder. This is useful when you want to keep a record of the coding in your project at a particular point in time.

  1. Click on the query results in Detail View.
  2. On the Matrix tab, in the Query group, click Store Query Results.
  3. Enter a name and description.
  4. Click OK.


  • By default new node matrices are created in the Results folder, unless you choose another location. 
  • You can choose to save the results in your project before you run the query—by setting your preferences on the Query Options tab in the Matrix Coding Query dialog box.