All help articles/Miscellaneous

Guide to the new Dovetail

5 minute read
Last updated December 20, 2018

We’re thrilled to introduce you to the newer, faster, and more intuitive Dovetail, available in beta to all customers right now.

Screenshot of the projects list in Dovetail

We’ve been working hard evolving Dovetail based on your feedback over the past few weeks. This has involved improving our navigation and terminology to make it more intuitive for new users, fixing pain points in our highlighting experience, and releasing new features like templates, categories, trash, personalization, and more to make Dovetail the obvious choice for collaborative user research analysis and storage.

Read on for an overview of everything that’s changed.

What’s new

New navigation

Screenshot of the ‘Data’ tab in a project in Dovetail

The first thing you’ll notice is our new navigation. This new sidebar is available across all pages which makes it easier to move around quickly. Every action now has a label instead of just an icon, which makes Dovetail more intuitive for new users. The sidebar can also be collapsed if you’d prefer more screen real estate.

New terminology

We noticed a lot of new users were struggling with abstract terms like teams, members, notes, and tags. To address this we’ve renamed a few things using better language and modified our information architecture so projects are more self-explanatory.


  • Team becomes Workspace – A collection of users and projects.
  • Member becomes User – A person who has access to the workspace.

New terms:

  • Data – raw research data, including notes, images, audio, video, and more.
  • Analysis – this is where you’ll find your tags, insights, and charts.

New highlighting interaction

Screenshot of the new highlighting interface in Dovetail

We’ve created a brand new highlighting interface that addresses some longstanding usability pain points. Our new highlighting interface lets you:

  • Add multiple tags to a highlight during one selection
  • Browse or filter tags by group when highlighting
  • Create tags inside specific groups when highlighting
  • Manage tags inline that are applied to a highlight
  • Hover highlighted text and see the tags

Note: Highlighting with insights is not available in this new version of Dovetail. Our current implementation of insights and tags are too similar, which has been a source of much confusion for users. We have some ideas about how we can make insights more valuable than they are today and obviously distinct from tags, but we’re still working on the details. If you’d like to highlight with insights, simply disable beta features to return to the old version of Dovetail. Stay tuned for more information on insights in early 2019!

Improved highlighting

We rebuilt the way highlights are stored. Now highlights are part of the note itself instead of a ‘layer’ on top the note. Highlighting with tags is now much snappier, and this new architecture means you can now do things you couldn’t do before, like:

  • Copy and paste highlights within the same project
  • Undo / redo highlights using ⌘ + Z or ⌘ + Shift + Z
  • Sync highlights in collaborative editing sessions

New project templates

Screenshot of the new project create experience

Our new templates feature lets you create and manage shared project templates for the rest of your workspace to use when starting a new project. Templates are great if you want to re-use a set of tags between projects or standardize project structure!

New project categories

Screenshot of the new project list with categories

Now you can organize projects into categories on the projects screen, with drag and drop reordering within a category. This is very useful if you have lots of projects and need to organize them by team, department, method, or status.

New trash feature

Screenshot of the new project trash

Accidentally deleted something? Now you can restore anything you delete for up to 30 days in the workspace or project trash.

New settings screens

Screenshot of the new project settings

Our menus were starting to get a little overloaded so we’ve simplified everything into two settings screens – one for the workspace which contains users, billing, and templates, and one for projects which has archive, delete, access, and export options.

New project and workspace icons

Screenshot of the new project icon picker

Personalize your projects with one of 20 colorful icons, and brand your workspace by uploading your company logo and setting the name.

New dark mode

Screenshot of the new dark mode on the search screen

Screenshot of the new dark mode on the workspace settings screen

You can now toggle dark mode in your user profile. If you’re using a browser that supports OS-level dark mode, then you’ll find it’s enabled automatically based on your OS setting.

Coming soon

New insights experience

We’ve been listening to all of your feedback about insights and we’re working towards a vision for a completely new insights experience launching in early 2019.

Further navigation improvements

We still have some work to do on speedy navigation – namely navigating quickly between notes or tags within a project, and improving our new navigation on mobile.

Known issues

There are still some quirks we’re working through that will be fixed soon:

  • When creating new highlights on a note, the count on the tag does not get updated until the note is refreshed.
  • When using the editor, taps (via a touchpad or touchscreen) can sometimes go unrecognized and the cursor will not move.
  • Uploading videos or images to notes can sometimes fail on the first try.

Transition process


The new Dovetail is available in beta for everyone right now! To get it, simply enable beta features for your workspace. We’ll keep the new Dovetail in beta while we collect feedback and fix bugs before launching properly in early 2019.


All of our documentation will be updated in early 2019 to reflect the new Dovetail.


We’d love to hear your thoughts! Get in touch with us in the following ways: