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Document tagger for qualitative analysis

Project description

A spin on the phrase “tag it!”, Taguette is a free and open source qualitative research tool that allows users to:

  • Import PDFs, Word Docs (.docx), Text files (.txt), HTML, EPUB, MOBI, Open Documents (.odt), and Rich Text Files (.rtf).
  • Highlight words, sentences, or paragraphs and tag them with the codes you create.
  • (not yet) Group imported documents together (e.g. as ‘Interview’ or ‘Lit Review’).
  • Export tagged documents, highlights for a specific tag, a list of tags with description and colors, and whole projects.

To learn more about how to install and get started, keep reading!

Motivation and goal

Qualitative methods generate rich, detailed research materials that leave individuals’ perspectives intact as well as provide multiple contexts for understanding phenomenon under study. Qualitative methods are used by a wide range of fields, such as anthropology, education, nursing, psychology, sociology, and marketing. Qualitative data has a similarly wide range: observations, interviews, documents, audiovisual materials, and more.

However - the software options for qualitative researchers are either far too expensive, don’t allow for the seminal method of highlighting and tagging materials, or actually perform quantitative analysis, just on text.

It’s not right or fair that qualitative researchers without massive research funds cannot afford the basic software to do their research.

So, to bolster a fair and equitable entry into qualitative methods, we’ve made Taguette!


Grab the correct installer for your system from our release page. Those include Python, Taguette, and Calibre, so you don’t need to install anything else. A “Taguette” entry should appear in your list of applications (Start Menu on Windows, or Launchpad/Spotlight on MacOS).

Once you start the application, you will see a terminal appear. This is normal! You can ignore the strange messages there, and use Taguette from your web browser (localhost:7465 should open automatically). Simply leave the terminal window open until you are done using Taguette, after which you can close that terminal window to stop Taguette.

Installation using pip

You first need to install Python 3 and Calibre , the open source e-book management software. Taguette uses a part of Calibre to convert documents into HTML (and wv for old .doc files), allowing you to highlight and tag parts of them.

Once you’ve installed Python, you can install Taguette with its dependencies from the command line with the following:

pip install taguette

After which you can simply run taguette in the terminal to get it going. You’ll see the command line will still be running. This is ok! Don’t worry about the terminal, but do leave it running. A browser window should appear, pointing you to localhost:7465, and you can begin working on your projects!

Run with Docker

You can run this with Docker, note that it will prompt you for an ‘admin’ password the first time:

docker run -ti -p 7465:7465 -v /srv/taguette:/data remram/taguette

Installation from a local clone

You can also install from a local clone of this repository, which will allow you to easily change the sources to suit your needs:

  1. Clone this git repository from the terminal: git clone
  2. Navigate on the command line to the repository you’ve just cloned locally, using the cd command. To get help using cd, use this tutorial.
  3. Taguette uses Poetry for its packaging and dependency management. You will need to install Poetry
  4. Install Taguette and its dependencies by running poetry install. Poetry will create a virtual environment for you by default, activate it by running poetry shell.
  5. Build translation files using scripts/
  6. You can start taguette in development mode using taguette --debug (or taguette --debug server <config_file>). This will start Tornado in debug mode, which means in particular that it will auto-restart every time you make changes.
  7. Navigate to localhost:7465 to use Taguette!

Getting Started

After starting Taguette, you can interact with it through your web browser (localhost:7465 should have opened automatically). You will see a page that greets you and has a button to Start a new project. Click that button and you’ll be prompted to enter a Title and Description for your new project. This can be changed later if you want.

Upon creating your project, you’ll be taken the Project View, which has a left and a right pane. The left pane contains the information about your project information (‘Project Info’), uploaded materials (‘Documents’), and tags (‘Highlights’) as tabs. You can go between these tabs as you like. The right pane will render documents and be the area where you’ll do the highlighting and tagging.

To get an idea of how to work in Taguette, let’s upload a document and get you tagging! In the left pane, click on the ‘Documents’ tab. You should see a button that says Upload a document. Click that and pick either a .pdf, .docx, .txt, or .odt file on your computer. Just one file to be uploaded. You’ll be prompted to give the new document a Name (should be something human-readable, required) and Description (like a note about the file, optional). When you have picked a document and at least given it a name, click the Import button.

Once uploaded, you should see the document in the ‘Documents’ tab. Click on it and you should see the contents of your document in the right pane. Select some text by left-clicking and dragging it over the text you’d like to highlight.

Once you let go of your left-click, a pop-up that says new highlight will appear next to the highlighted text. Click that pop-up, and you will get a list of existing tags from which to choose. You can select one or more tags to apply to the highlight text.

Once you’ve checked off which tags you’d like to associate with the highlighted text, click Save & Close, and the text you’ve just tagged should now be highlighted with the color associated with the tag (e.g. bright yellow).

If you’ve accidentally tagged a section of text you didn’t want to, you can delete it by clicking on the highlighted text. This will give you the same pop-up window that you used to tag it. Next to the save button, there is a grey button called Delete. Click that, and the tags will be removed from the text. It should no longer by highlighted.

Happy highlighting!


  • Copyright (C) 2018, Rémi Rampin and Taguette contributors

Licensed under a BSD 3-clause “New” or “Revised” License. See the LICENSE for details.

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