Simple open-end recoding

The "Recode..." dialog

Updated at August 10th, 2022

Open-end responses in surveys are great as respondents can answer in their own words.  But many ideas may represent the same basic concept.  For analysis it can be useful to group them into broader countable categories.  

Protobi has a few features to simplify the process of coding text verbatims:

Simple recode dialog

Consider a question below with text responses:

From the element context menu select "Recode..." to bring up the recoding dialog:

From here you can filter, select and drag responses to existing or new categories. 

Filter responses 

Enter a text fragment to filter responses, e.g. containing the word "reusable" and press to select one or more values:

Create a new code

Press the "New code" button to name a new code. You can also drag the selected responses onto the button and enter a name.  The new code appears on the left:

Note: In the "Recode..." dialog the count next to a code (e.g. 3) is the count of unique responses that comprise the code, not the count of respondents.

Put one response into multiple codes

To put one response in more than one code, hold the shift key when dropping. This will copy rather than move the value into the code. See the how to GIF. 

Dragging a response to another code without pressing shift will move that into the new category and remove it from its prior location.

Apply and save

Continue until the results are categorized as you wish.  Press "Apply" to accept the changes (and press the Save button  in the project to make them permanent).

The updated distribution will be shown:


  • Clone an element before coding so you have both the original and raw values.
  • To apply one code frame to multiple elements, put the elements into a group and do recoding on the parent group.  
    • First for the group, set Transform to "Condense (squish)" so the values from child elements will bubble up to the parent.

Video tutorial

Watch this video to learn how to group text verbatims into categories.

See Code text verbatims article for more information.

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