Coding stripes

Coding stripes are colored bars that show you the codes 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 code or user that the stripe represents (content is highlighted in yellow)
  • Open the code in Detail View
  • Uncode all content coded to the code (only content in the file or code 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, code, case or memo in the Detail View.
  2. On the ribbon tab for the item, click Coding Stripes and then choose an option.
    • All—show coding stripes for all the theme, case and relationship codes that code the content.
    • Most Coding or Least Coding—showing the codes that most or least code the content can help you to see the dominant themes in your files.
    • Recently Coded—see the coding you have just done. This is one way to check that you coded the content to the correct code.
    • Selected Items—these could be codes, cases, relationship codes 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 codes that are members of a set. for example, all the codes related to a broader theme.
    • Coding Density Only—this might help you save space.


  • If more than 200 codes code the item, then the codes 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 codes, you can display these colors in the coding stripes.
  • When you show stripes for the codes 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 code, 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 codes the user coded the content at.

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

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

    Up to nine users/codes 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/codes to display as sub-stripes.

Before you open a sub-stripe, you can hover over the coding stripe to see the codes the content is coded to 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 codes 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 codes 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 codes).

If you set the color scheme to item colors you can group the coding stripes by color—for example, if you have colored all codes 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 code

  • 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 codes—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 codes

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 code 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 code, coding stripes are printed on the same page as the file or code content—the file or code 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 Code 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.