Basic project setup recommendations

Updated at February 3rd, 2021

Protobi users have the flexibility of uploading their own dataset, and setting up a project space independently. 

This article describes how to set up a new Protobi project, and handle common question types.

Overview and branding 

After creating a new project, the page will redirect to the overview tab of project settings. The overview tab has various fields that can be filled in. Below are descriptions of the most common fields to define during initial setup, press the links to see more detailed tutorials on subtopics. 

Name and brief title

On the overview tab set a project name and a brief title. The name appears in the list of the projects, the brief title appears in the browser tab of when the project is open.

Logo and splash images

Add the relevant logo and splash images

The "Logo" is the image in the upper left corner of your Protobi project. Paste any image address into this field to show a particular logo. If this field is left blank, the logo will default to Protobi.

The splash "Image" shows up in the "My Projects" page to allow easy identification of the project. If no image address is specified, the default is an auto-generated geometric image. 

PPTX Template

This field is used to add a custom PowerPoint template for exporting charts out of the project. See tutorial on how to add a custom PowerPoint template for chart exports. 

Overall organization

This section lists some basic organization tips for an initial project view. 


When you open a new project, all elements initially appear in a default  tab "Fields".  

Autogroup is a feature that organizes questions based on their column name. With autogrouping, Q19a – Q19e are placed in a group Q19, which is placed in a group Q.

Create sections to organize survey

After autogrouping, further organize the survey by creating sections (grouping) based off the survey document. Use drag + drop to move elements as necessary if the question order is different in the survey document.

Note: After grouping the questions by section, then the group can be deleted and its children promoted: Section 1, 2, and 3 to the top group level. 

Paste in missing question titles

Compare each element in Protobi with the corresponding question from the survey document. Missing question titles or formats can be manually imputed. 

Extract common title text

For groups of questions like Q2, often times the full question text is repeated in each of the separate variables. This can look visually overwhelming and repetitive.

Extract common title text (Advanced button) where applicable.

Question types

This section lists some common survey question types and includes recommendations on how they can best be visualized in Protobi. 

Numeric questions

Q2 is a numeric question where respondents enter multiple percentages that sum to 100. Each variable for which the respondent enters a percentage is its own question. For Q2, after extracting the common title text, compact the group to mean. 

Compact to mean

For numeric questions, compact to mean and set maxValue under "More properties..." to 100. The compacted view will show the average percentage for each question.

Also set a custom "Round by..." for the group Q2, so that the distributions are more concise. You can look at the underlying distributions by pressing on the blue triangles to the left. 

Categorical questions

For categorical groups of questions like ratings or rankings, compact the view to a top box score. 


Q13 is a group of ratings questions, more specifically it's a group of 7-point scale questions. For this type of question, put the numbers up front if there's formatting, and compact the group to top box. 

Put numbers up front 

When questions are imported from SPSS, sometimes they have a format like this:

This can be hard to read, and visually unappealing. Put numbers up front for 7-point scale questions. 

Compact to top box

Compact a typical group of 7-point scale rating questions to top box scores of "6,7". Use "Display stacked" from the context menu to visualize the bars of the entire distribution stacked and color coded. 

Print layout chart

Another visually interesting way to display scale questions like Q13 is as a Print layout chart


Similar to the ratings example above, rankings questions like Question 6 are typically compacted to top box scores, and "Display stacked".  

Question 6 compacted to "1st" and displayed with bars stacked:

Checkbox questions

Q8v1 is a group of checkbox questions. Respondents are asked a question, and presented a set of categories. Each category is represented in Protobi as its own question. During analysis of checkbox questions, the focus is usually on the "yes" values. For checkbox questions, compact the view to "checkbox" to show frequency of "yes" values.

Compact to checkbox

Compact to checkbox to see checked (e.g. "yes") responses only, and be able to expand each item to see all the details.


Protobi has a few features that simplify the analysis of text verbatims. Often times open-end questions give respondents multiple text boxes to fill-in. When setting up open-ends, you can choose to see the responses condensed into one distribution. 

Using qV's "Transform..." dialog, condense the text verbatims of qQ2, qQ3 and qQ5 into one distribution.  

Code text verbatims

For open-ends the coding of text verbatims is often a critical step prior to diving into analysis. For projects with many open-ends, consider how these questions will be coded early on during project setup. Protobi is flexible in the sense that you can import coded open-ends, or use the app itself to do the coding. 

You can code verbatims in Protobi using: 

If you prefer to do the coding in Excel or SPSS, the results can be uploaded into Protobi.

Word clouds

Word clouds are a simple and whimsical way to visualize text verbatim responses. Change an element to a word cloud from the chart type dialog

Add a banner tab for segment variables

It can be convenient to add a top-level tab with variables for ready crosstabbing.                                                                                           

For crosstab variables you might want to combine numbers with "Round by..." to create the segments you want. S8 has a custom round by [100]. Number(s) in brackets indicate cutoff points not intervals. 

If you want to combine discreet values in a segment variable, you can use the "Recode..." dialog. Below Region is cloned a version of Country that is recoded into regions.   

Add polish to the project view

After the project has been organized and each question has been reviewed, add polish to the Protobi view. Establish colors and remove unnecessary items to make the overall look more visually appealing. 


Element colors

Add a little fun and pizzazz to a project by adding custom colors. There are pre-defined color choices to choose from the "Color..." dialog, but you can also define any color using a Hex color code

In the project below, each top level group has a color that all together makes a rainbow in the tree

Chart colors

Set or define a color palette for charts.

Clean up sections

Get tab view of elements

Further organize the view by putting elements of larger groups on their own tabs. 

Press on the context menu for the group and choose "Chart type...." Select the tabs option. Each child element of the group will be on its own tab. 

Hide tabs

Select a top level group and press DEL on your keyboard to hide any tabs from view. This can also be done to individual elements.

Hidden items will still appear in the tree. To unhide, press on the hidden element in the tree, go to the "Advanced" button in the toolbar and select "Hide/unhide."

editorOnly tabs

Hide any group or element from users who don't have Edit or Admin access by using the "editorOnly" attribute. 

In this example, the "editorOnly" attribute is applied to the tabs $global and Fields. The tab will appear with a lock symbol in its edit icon.

The difference between using "editorOnly" and hiding a group is that Editors and Admins can still see and edit the tabs. Those with View access will not be able to see the tabs. 

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