Basic project setup recommendations


Updated at March 23rd, 2020

Some users like the flexibility of uploading their own dataset, and setting up a Protobi workspace independently. 

In this article, we will discuss how you can set up a project by walking through how we typically set up and organize a new Protobi project. We'll also review common question types, and show the recommended visualization. 

1. Overview/Branding:

  • Project name
  • Logo
  • Splash image
  • Custom PowerPoint template

2. Overall organization:

  • Autogroup
  • Create sections
  • Paste in missing question titles
  • Extract common title text

3. Question types:

  • Numeric
  • Categorical
    • Ratings
    • Rankings
  • Checkbox
  • Open-ends

    4. Polish

    • Colors
    • Clean up sections
      • Get tab view
      • Hide tabs
      • editorOnly tabs

    Overview and Branding 

    After you creating a new project, you'll be taken to the overview tab of project settings.

    Name and Brief title

    On the overview tab we establish a project "Name" that will be displayed in "My Projects".  We also enter a "Brief title" that will be on the tab of your browser when you're in the project.

    Logo and splash images

    On the overview tab we also add the relevant logo and splash images.

    The "Logo" is the image in the upper left corner of your Protobi project. Typically we would put your client's logo or project logo here, but you might want to put your own logo if your client has access to the project.

    The splash "Image" shows up in the "My Projects" page to allow easy identification of the project.

    PPTX Template

    We also add the appropriate PowerPoint template to the overview tab when applicable. See tutorial on how to add a custom PowerPoint template for chart exports. 

    Overall organization


    After you upload your data file, your project will initially look like a bunch of elements in the tab "Fields".  The first thing we do within a project is run autogroup. This will inspect the column names to infer an organizational structure. This algorithm is pretty accurate, especially if your firm follows common conventions in numbering survey questions.

    Create sections

    After autogrouping, we further organize the survey by creating sections (grouping) based off the survey document. We can also move elements as necessary if we see that the question order is different in the survey document. 

    Note: If we organize the questions by section, then we often delete the group and promote its children: Section 1, 2, and 3 to the top group level. 

    Paste in missing question titles

    When we do the initial setup for a project, each element in Protobi is compared with the corresponding question from the survey document. This is when you can paste in any missing question titles or formats

    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.

    We will typically extract common title text (Advanced button) where applicable.

    Question types

    In this section we've listed some common survey question types and included recommendations on how they can best be visualized in Protobi. 

    Numeric questions

    Below we have Q2, 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, we compact the group to mean. 

    Compact to mean

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

    We've 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 we recommend compacting 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 we 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, so we put numbers up front for 7-point scale questions. 

    Compact to top box

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

    Beta chart

    Another visually interesting way we like to display scale questions like Q13 is as a beta chart


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

    Question 6 is compacted to "1st" and we display the distribution bars as stacked. 

    Checkbox questions

    Q8v1 is a group of checkbox questions. Respondents are asked a question, and presented a set of categories. They can check all that apply. Each category is represented in Protobi as its own question. During analysis of checkbox questions, users are usually more interested in focusing on "yes" values. For checkbox questions, we compact the view to "checkbox" which is essentially compacting to "yes". 

    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 we see open-end questions where respondents have multiple text boxes to fill-in. When setting up open-ends, we'll ask users if they prefer to see the responses condensed into one distribution. 

    Using qV's "Transform..." dialog we can 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, we suggest having a conversation on 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 your project. 

    Word clouds

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


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


    Element colors

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

    In the project below, we've given each top level group a color that all together makes a rainbow in the tree

    Chart colors

    You can set or define a color palette for charts.

    Clean up sections

    Get tab view of elements

    You can 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...." There is a tabs option. Each question from the group will be on its own tab. 

    Hide tabs

    You can select a top level group and press DEL on your keyboard to hide any tabs that you no longer want in view. You can also hide individual elements that you do not wish to see. 

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

    editorOnly tabs

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

      "editorOnly" " true, 

      In the example below, we've used the the "editorOnly" attribute on 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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