Highlight and tag content in your project

Last updated January 21, 20192 minute read


The power of Dovetail lies in inline tagging, which we call highlighting. Highlights are added to content inside notes, and 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 much more granular with your tagging and break down long documents.

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 were 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.

Create a new highlight

You can use your mouse to create a new highlight while in a note but you might find it faster to select text and tag using only your keyboard.

We’ve made sure the highlighting user interface is completely navigable with a keyboard using the Up / Down Arrow Keys, Enter, and Escape.

Using the mouse

To create a new highlight with your mouse:

  1. Select the text you’d like to tag.
  2. When the dialog pops up, click Add tag…
  3. Type a tag name into the input.
  4. Choose an existing tag, or…
  5. Click + Create… to create a new tag.
  6. Click outside the dialog to close it.

Using the keyboard

To create a new highlight with your keyboard:

  1. Select the text you’d like to tag.
  2. When the dialog pops up, press TAB.
  3. Type a tag name into the input.
  4. Use the Up / Down Arrow Keys to select an existing tag, or…
  5. Select + Create… to create a new tag.
  6. Press ESC to close the dialog.

Browse for tags

You can also browse for existing tags instead of needing to search for tags by name. After you’ve made your text selection, simply select one of the tag groups 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, find it under Analysis in a project, or search for it by name.

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