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I am currently using NVivo to conduct a structured literature analysis based on bibliographic and pdf data that I imported from Zotero. It is all going very well so far and I am in the process of coding each pdf to allow a structured review. However, I was trying to reimport pdfs and basically replace a reference's attachment (in one instance I wanted to reload a converted pdf from PowerPoint and in another instance, I wanted to rotate the pdf file) - and it doesn't work. Every time when I reimport it a completely new, unreferenced item is uploaded and the old item (which I want to replace) just stays where it is. I tried to follow the steps described elsewhere on reimporting the classification sheet, which I did (again with no result) and I am worried that I will overwrite and possibly corrupt my database by doing this. It would be fantastic if you could help. (Could you also tell me what exactly happens when exporting and reimporting classification sheets? especially when possible not all the right boxes are ticked when reimporting the file? - if this could be a problem, how can I overcome it? Just upload an updated database from Zotero?)

Many thanks,


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Hi Anila,

It is not possible to replace a PDF in NVivo. When importing the new/changed PDF, it will be imported as a new file. You can however, update the attributes of a PDF file by reimporting Zotero file with updated attributes.

In regards to importing a Classification Sheet, reimporting shouldn't corrupt your database. However, you can make a copy of your project and then reimport the classification sheet to avoid unwanted changes.

Exporting a classification sheet, only exports a copy of classification and original classification is retained in NVivo project. If you reimport the same classification which you just exported, it can duplicate classification based on the options you choose during import. Refer to the Classification Sheet section below for more information:


Kind Regards,


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Hi Bhupesh,

Many thanks for your answer to all of my three questions! I also have an additional one - unrelated to this thread, I hope you don't mind:

- Using NVivo for a structured literature analysis, I want to see an overview of all codes that I already coded for a complete pdf source file. I always code the whole pdf, not just sections of the pdf. Every time I am coding it (at existing nodes) all the codes which I previously ticked are unticked again (but it is already correctly implemented in the system). I basically want to know how I can see all codes that were ticked for a source in a list format. Sorry if this is a simple question.

Many thanks,


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