The power of Dovetail lies in inline tagging, which we call highlighting. Highlights are added to the text content and transcripts (Transcribe video and audio) inside notes. A single highlight can have one or many tags associated with it.
Unlike other products, with Dovetail, you can tag a single word, sentence, or paragraph instead of needing to tag the entire document. This means you can be more granular with your tagging and break down long documents into highlights, grouped by tag.
What to use tags for
A bit like affinity mapping, tags in Dovetail help you identify and keep track of patterns that emerge across your research data. For example, let’s say you’re using Dovetail to analyze reviews for an iPhone app. Imagine that each note in Dovetail is one person’s review. Here’s the content of one of the notes.
I love the app, however it’s becoming slower and slower. It seems to take a long time to open up initially. It’s missing a key feature – search. I need this to find what I need.
Given this example, you can use highlighting to tag “…however it’s becoming slower and slower. It seems to take a long time to open up initially” with performance, and “It’s missing a key feature – search. I need this to find what I need” with feature request.
Then, when you look at the feature request tag, you’ll see the following highlight: “It’s missing a key feature – search. I need this to find what I need”.
Create a highlight with the mouse
To create a new highlight with your mouse:
Select the text you’d like to tag.
When the dialog pops up, type a tag name into the input.
Choose an existing tag, or click Create… to create a new tag.
Click outside the dialog to close it.
Create a highlight with the keyboard
The highlighting user interface is completely navigable with a keyboard using the Up / Down Arrow Keys to choose items, Enter to select, and Escape to go back or dismiss.
To create a new highlight with your keyboard:
Select the text you’d like to tag.
When the dialog pops up, press TAB.
Type a tag name into the input.
Use the Up / Down Arrow Keys to select an existing tag, or…
Click Create… to create a new tag.
Press ESC to close the dialog.
Resize your highlights
You can adjust the start or end position of your highlights without having to delete and re-create a new highlight. To resize an existing highlight:
Select the text that has been highlighted.
Click and hold the drag handle at either end of the highlight.
Drag to the new start or end position.
Browse for tags while highlighting
You can browse for existing tags instead of needing to search for tags by name when creating a new highlight on a note. After you’ve made your text selection, hover on a tag board (or tag group if you only have one board) to see all of the tags within that group.
View all highlights for a tag
When you open a tag, you’ll see all of the highlights you’ve created with that tag. To open a tag, click the tag in the note gutter on the right side of the page, find it under Tags in a project, or search for it by name.
Make the note full width
You can make a note full width if you want more space for the content and tag gutter:
Open the note.
Click Open as page.
Click Full width to toggle full width on or off.
Resize the tag gutter
When you’re in a note, you can resize the tag gutter on the right:
Hover on the vertical line.
Drag it to the left or right.
Let go of the line.
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Co-founder / CEO
Last updated 21 October 2021
3 min read
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