A beginner’s guide: get the most out of the Lateral app!
April 26, 2021

A beginner’s guide: get the most out of the Lateral app!

Welcome to this beginner’s guide, dedicated to help you get the most out of the Lateral app!

If you have not yet signed up and gotten access, you can do so here and simply follow the emails to set up your account.

If you already have access, we can dive into the steps you need to take in order for you to:

  • Find information 10x faster
  • Have all your findings in one place
  • Get new perspectives

With that being said, let’s get into it!

Step 1: Create your project and upload your documents

Log in to your app, and you will be able to see the Dashboard

The Dashboard is where you create and manage your projects. 
Projects are where you can upload and start analysing documents.

First thing we need to do is to:

  1. Click + New Project on the Dashboard 
  2. Give the project a name
  3. Click Create and Launch Project

For this guide our topic will be on global warming, and we will categorise its consequences that we find within documents. Therefore, we will call our project Global warming. Projects can be research topics for academia, departments for companies, or clients for lawyers analysing contracts.

Next thing we need to do is to click Upload Documents in the middle of the screen. Then you can either simply drag and drop your documents into the field, or browse your computer.

Once the documents are on the screen, click UPLOAD FILES.

Now the documents will be processed, and made ready for you to conduct some cool searches and information finding! The upload should be rapid, but depending on the size of the documents, you might have time to grab a coffee. 

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Step 2: Table view and creating concepts

If you just returned from grabbing a coffee, you might see on your screen that the documents are uploaded into the table view. This brings us to the next step, of creating concepts!

The TableView is the base of operations for your project.  
Concepts are labeled ‘topics’, under which we will save themes of information from the documents.

To create a concept, you:

  1. Click Create or select concepts
  2. Type in the name of the topic you want to explore in your documents
  3. Click Create

You can create multiple concepts simply by repeating the above steps. In this example, we will create three concepts that is impacted by global warming, namely:

  • Economic inequality
  • Mental health
  • Agriculture

As you add the concepts, you will notice them taking the position as columns in the table view. What we want to do next, is to fill in the cells with the information stored in the documents.

Step 3: Finding and saving information from documents

To find information within the documents, we now have two options:

  • Super Search
  • Document View

Super Search is a neat tool to search for keywords across all uploaded documents at the same time, and quickly save important information. That’s right, no more do we have to open one document at a time, pressing CTRL+F, entering the keyword, and redoing this process again, and again, and again...

Document View is excellent when we have to deep-dive into one document, and quickly highlight important information in order to save this instantly. 

For this guide, we will start with Super Search!

Super Search

To enter the Super Search function, simply click Super Search (CTRL+F) located at the top of the table view.

Next step is to start searching! For this example, we will search for the first concept we created, namely Economic inequality. First two findings that appeared are highly relevant to understanding the impact global warming has on economic inequality, and these findings come from two separate documents.

Lets go ahead and save these by assigning them to a concept, simply by:

  1. Clicking on the text field
  2. Clicking Assign a concept
  3. Choose Economic inequality from the dropdown menu

I will repeat the process of Super Search, but this time I will use the keyword Mental health so I can save information under the second concept we created. The tableview now looks like below, and we can see more and more cells are being added into our table.

That was a quick introduction to Super Search, we are now ready to dive into the Document View!

Document View

To access Document View, simply click Document View located at the top of the table view.

Now we can choose which document we want to look through, by clicking it from the document list located on the left side of the screen. For this example, I want to have a deep-dive into Climate Change, Global Warming and Global Inequity in Developed and Developing Countries, and I want to scout for information related to our last concept, Agriculture. So I:

  1. Choose the specific document on the left
  2. Under concepts on the right I choose from the dropdown Agriculture

As I read through the document, I come across some very useful information on page 5 that is directly related to our concept of agriculture. To save this into our Table view, I will simply highlight the text with my cursor and click Save.

The highlighted text now turns green and will be saved into our Table View. Let's move back to the Table View, and see how Machine Learning can give us some suggestions based on our previously saved text snippets!

Step 4: Lateral AI suggestions

To fill in more cells with useful information, we can now turn to a bit of Machine Learning magic and receive suggestions! 

To do so, we can simply click a specific cell and see what Lateral suggests to us. For this example, I want to see what the top document might give us under the concept of Economic inequality. I quickly find a highly relevant piece of information that I save right away by clicking Save. You will notice that the information is instantly saved into that specific cell.

Let's do that again, but this time I want to discover the concept of Agriculture under the second listed document. Again, I simply click on the cell and see what Lateral suggests... And bingo! Yet again has Lateral given me useful information that I would likely have missed, had I turned to the machine learning feature. I will save the text snippet, and we now have a table that looks like below.

That will do for now, but we have one more thing to look into, to complete the Lateral usage: Export function!

Step 5: Export your Table

While in the Table View, click Export table located top right and choose your format of choice!

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