26 The Factor Editor

26.1 Summary

The Factor Editor is a great way to:

  • edit your factor labels in bulk
  • combine several factors into one
  • use the Split checkbox to edit only the factors you can see in the map as currently filtered, and leave untouched any other instances of the same factors in the rest of the map.
  • using the sidebar,
    • see and edit your factor memos
    • see and edit every link to and from each factor

26.2 Editing factor labels in the Factor Editor

Click inside the editor and retype the factor labels however you want. You can rewrite entire lines any way you want, but you can’t delete or add lines.

Then hit Update.


TIP: press Ctrl F (Cmd F on Mac) to find or Ctrl H (Cmd alt F on Mac) to replace.

TIP: Reformulate factor labels so that some common themes come first.

TIP: The Factor Editor is especially useful with hierarchical coding.

TIP: Use flags like “Problem!” or “#innovation”, unique words which are easy to search for, to make it easy to find particular kinds of factor within the editor and elsewhere.

TIP: Merge your factors. You have two or more factors which are more or less the same?

  • pick the best version, tweak it if necessary, and then copy the whole line
  • go to one of the other versions, and replace the label with the label you copied, taking care not to delete or add lines
  • repeat with any other similar lines, so that all the similar labels are now exactly the same
  • don’t forget to press Update!
  • … these factors with the common label will all be combined into one

Bear in mind that if you merge several factors into one, this may mean you get duplicate or triplicate links between the same pairs of factors.

26.3 Editing factors in the factor editor is disabled when you use any of these filters:

  • combine opposites
  • zoom factors
  • remove brackets

(With these filters, it is impossible to make edits and the save button should be inactive, because any changes you made would be ambiguous.)

26.4 Split-recoding existing factors: Use the Split checkbox.

Usually when you rename your factors, the names change everywhere. If you switch on “Split”, each factor you rename will be split into a new factor (with the new name which is used only for the links in the current view/filter), and the original factor which is unchanged. This is useful for example if you find you have merged some ideas together too quickly into one factor and you want to split it back into two.

Suppose you have coded both “I bought a cow”“ and “I bought a sheep” as bought livestock and then you change your mind, you can go back to the statement with “I bought a cow”, and in this tab you switch on “Split” and recode bought livestock back to bought cow. If you didn’t switch on “Split”, the other quote (“I bought a sheep”) would also be recoded as bought cow, which isn’t what you want.

The Split checkbox applies to whatever is in the current view - so you can use it to split-recode factors just within one statement, but also to split-recode factors in any filter, for example for statements from all the women, or all the sources from a particular region.

26.5 Advanced editing tips

  • Go to the next mention of a selected word/sentence: Ctrl K,or Cmd G on Mac. Add SHIFT to these shortcuts to find the previous mention.
  • Add next occurrence of selected word/sentence to multi-selection: Ctrl-Alt-Right,or Cmd-Option-Right on Mac. Use Ctrl-Alt-Left / Cmd-Option-Left to add previous occurrence.
  • The app will help you consistently type words you have already used with autocomplete. Or just ignore it if you want.
  • Multicursor: Ctr alt Up/Down: edit multiple lines at once

26.6 The factor editor sidebar

The factor editor also has a sidebar, which shows more details for the factor currently under the cursor:

  • The label (click on it to:

    • edit the factor memo
    • focus on the factor
    • delete the factor)
  • The memo, if there is one (click on it to edit or add a memo)

  • Lists of influence and consequence factors, with source and statement ids

    • When hovering over the influence or consequence factors, see the whole original text from the corresponding statement
    • Click on these boxes to edit the corresponding links directly
  • Note that the sidebar does show you for each factor in the current filter ALL the links / quotes relating to it, even ones which are not in the current filter. This is so you can make a decision about eg changing factor labels which takes into account all the uses of the factor.


    If you use emojis in your factor labels, especially emojis with skin colours, you may find it difficult to find the right place in the editor. Tip: put the emojis at the end of the label if possible.