Organize > Sets


Sets are views (or groupings) of project items that are stored elsewhere in your project.

Static Sets

Sets are a flexible way of grouping your files and codes—for example, you might create a set for the documents, memos and codes that will be reviewed by a specific team member.

Items in a set are references or 'shortcuts' to the original items—you do not physically move items into a set. This means you can delete an item from a set without removing it from your project.

A set can include any number of files or codes and a file or code can belong in multiple sets. You can use sets to create temporary groups, and then delete the set when you no longer require it.

You can use sets to organize project items into groups, or manage research tasks. For example, you might use sets in the following ways:

  • To order and organize a set of pictures—put picture files in a set and display them as thumbnails to make a 'photo gallery'.
  • To see stages, progress and changes in data construction, or to manage research timetables—for example, Items created this week, or Codes without coding.
  • To direct and inform coding—for example, Files not yet coded or Codes created since team debate.
  • To manage coding and autocoding—for example, Codes to discuss and re-describe, or Files not yet autocoded.
  • Group items around a theme or an area of analysis
  • Identify and compare the work of team members, a set for each team member could contain the interviews they conducted, memos they wrote and codes they introduced
  • As the scope of a query—for example, you could make a set for related documents (stored in different folders) and run a Text Search query.

Create a static set

You can create a new empty static set—click Static Set on the Create tab. Alternatively, you can select items first and create a set that contains them:

  1. In List View or Detail View, select the items that you want to create as a static set.
  2. On the Create tab click Static Set and hold down the mouse button, and then click Create As Static Set.

Dynamic Sets

Dynamic sets display project items that meet previously defined search criteria—for example, a dynamic set might display all codes you created in the last week. The project items displayed in a dynamic set, remain stored in other NVivo folders—for example, any codes displayed in a dynamic set are actually stored in your codes folders.

NVivo provides the following system-defined dynamic sets:

  • All codes—all the codes, cases, relationships and coding matrices in your project
  • All Files—all the files in your project
  • All Files Not Embedded—all media files in your project that reference media files stored outside the project

You can create dynamic sets with Advanced Find (Explore ribbon)—select Add to project as dynamic set.

Saving Advanced Find criteria as a dynamic set means you can execute the Find any time you want to, simply by opening the dynamic set. For example, you can create a dynamic set to find any cases that you have created which have the classification Person. Whenever you open the dynamic set, you will see a list of cases that meet the search criteria at that point in time.

If you delete a dynamic set, the project items displayed in the dynamic set are not deleted, because those items are viewed (but not stored) in the dynamic set. You cannot delete the system-defined dynamic sets.

You can use dynamic sets to select the items you want to show in charts and cluster analysis diagrams. You can also use dynamic sets in the scope of queries—this allows you to create queries with dynamic scope. As items in your project are added, deleted or modified, the items in the dynamic set change, and if you run the query again, it may return different results.

Create a new dynamic set

  1. On the Create tab click Dynamic Set.
  2. On the General tab, enter the name and description of the set:
  3. On the Search Criteria tab, create your search criteria.