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How to import structured spreadsheet data into Dovetail

18 January 2023
Patrick Sweeney
Lisa Nguyen

Structured spreadsheet data is vital for user research because it can help you organize, store and analyze large amounts of research information.

Spreadsheet data is also helpful in tracking product feedback, survey responses, and quantitative usability testing results.

If you’re looking to leverage the power of structured spreadsheet data in your Dovetail projects, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll discuss the basics of importing structured spreadsheet data into Dovetail, so you can get up and running quickly.

Formatting your spreadsheet

The first thing you’ll need to do is ensure that your spreadsheet data is appropriately formatted. This means that the data should be organized into rows and columns in a way that makes sense. For example, suppose your data contains customer information with product feedback. In that case, you’ll want to ensure that each row represents a customer and each column represents a particular piece of information about that customer (e.g., name, job role, written feedback, etc).

It’s important to save your spreadsheet data as a CSV with less than 5000 rows. Dovetail does not support XSLX or Numbers files, but it’s straightforward to export most file formats to CSV from tools like Excel or Numbers.

Importing your spreadsheet

Once your data is properly formatted, you can import it into Dovetail. Start by navigating to a Dovetail project. In general, structured data is best viewed in a table—you can create a Note Table by clicking Add a view under Notes in your left sidebar.

To import a spreadsheet, select the option to Create from a spreadsheet. From here, you’ll be able to drag and drop your CSV. You’ll also have the opportunity to specify the format of the data, as well as any additional mapping options.

Mapping your columns

Two mandatory columns are required for mapping: Title and Content—these two columns correspond to the title and qualitative feedback within your note. When you’ve mapped a column, it will go green. If you’d like to compare and contrast different segments of your data when you analyze, map your chosen segmentation variables as Single-Select fields.

Analyzing user sentiment

Sentiment analysis is a powerful tool that can be used to analyze customer feedback, measure customer satisfaction and identify potential areas of improvement. To automatically analyze the sentiment of your Content column, tick the Analyze sentiment box.

Analyzing data

After you’ve clicked Import, Dovetail will bring your feedback into the note table you created earlier. Positive or negative sentiment will show up in the Tags column.

From here, you can flexibly view your data however you like. For example, to browse through product feedback from different customer segments, create a Note board and Group by your segment of choice. Analysis and synthesis can proceed as usual—check out the rest of our guides for some best practices.

That’s all there is to it! With just a few simple steps, you’ll be able to import structured spreadsheet data into Dovetail easily. Now that you know the basics of importing structured spreadsheet data into Dovetail, you’ll be able to take advantage and take your high-volume research to the next level.

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