An NVivo project contains the materials you are exploring and your analysis of those materials.
In this topic
- What is an NVivo project?
- What are project properties?
- Learn about standalone and server projects
- Protect your data by saving and copying projects
- Save options for projects stored on a network drive
- Storing NVivo projects on memory sticks (or other storage devices)
- What are the differences between working in a standalone or server project?
- Can I copy a standalone project to the server?
- Can I copy a server project to my computer?
- Can I work 'disconnected' from my server project?
- Can I open projects created in NVivo for Mac?
- Can I open projects created in earlier versions of NVivo (and NUD*IST)?
- Can I open projects created in MAXQDA and ATLAS.ti?
Your project contains your source materials—for example, interview transcripts, audio recordings, video clips, photographs or survey responses.
Your project also contains your analysis of these source materials. As you explore your source materials, you can:
- Add annotations to source content
- Add memos to record your observations and ideas
- Create nodes to represent themes, people, and places
- Code your materials to the nodes you have created
- Run queries to find recurring themes
- Use visualizations (charts, hierarchy charts, cluster analysis diagrams and explore diagrams) to see patterns and connections
- Link related source materials using 'see also' links (NVivo Pro and Plus only)
- Create maps to graphically explore your materials (NVivo Pro and Plus only)
- Run regular reports (or extracts) to keep a record of your project as it evolves. (NVivo Pro and Plus only)
Each NVivo project has its own set of project properties, which provide descriptive information about your project (for example, the project's title) or allow you to make configuration changes to the project.
For example, via project properties, you can:
Record the title and description of your project
Add extra fields (columns) to audio or video transcripts in the project
Change the text content language - this is the language used to check spelling and run Text Search and Word Frequency queries.
To access the project's properties, click the File tab and then click Project Properties. Refer to Set project properties for more information.
A standalone project is an NVivo project that is saved to your computer, or to a network drive, as an .nvp file. A standalone project file can be opened by only one person at a time—if you are working in the project, no one else can access it.
A server project is an NVivo project that is stored on an NVivo Server. NVivo Server allows concurrent multi-user access—this means that everyone in your team can access the project at the same time.
Both standalone and server projects may contain links to audio and video files which are not embedded in the project. If you copy or move a project containing audio and video sources, you may also need to copy or move the media files—refer to Store audio and video files for more information.
NOTE You are able to work with a server project, if your organization has installed NVivo Server, and you have been granted access to the server and the project—refer to Collaborate in a server project for more information.
When you are working with a standalone project stored on your computer or a network drive, you should save your project frequently and make regular backup copies. Saving and copying your project can help prevent loss of data in the event of a power outage or hardware malfunction.
You should consider keeping a backup copy of your project on another physical device (for example, a network file server, a memory stick or other storage device) stored separately from your computer. This can protect your data if your computer is lost or stolen.
Some external storage devices cannot store projects that are larger than 4GB in size—refer to Storing NVivo project on memory sticks (or other storage devices) for more information.
Server projects are saved automatically and server backups are managed by your server administrator. However, you may still want to make backup copies of your project at particular points of time—for example, if you want to be able to see the earlier state of your project, before you restructured your node hierarchies or imported a new batch of interview transcripts.
Refer to Save and copy projects for more information.
If your project is stored on a network drive, then (by default) your changes are saved locally until you close the project. When you close the project, the network file is updated with all your changes. To avoid loss of data, make sure that you close your project before you turn off your computer.
You can set your save options so that NVivo updates the network file every time you save. However, if you are working with a large project, the save process may take longer to execute (as the data is transferred across the network).
If you work with a project stored on a memory stick, make sure you close the project and close NVivo before you eject or safely remove the memory stick. Refer to Microsoft Windows online help for information about safely removing USB devices.
Storage devices that use the FAT (File Allocation Table) file system cannot store projects larger than 4GB—for example, some memory sticks use the FAT file system and cannot store projects that exceed this size.
If your project is stored on a Windows computer, which uses the NTFS (New Technology File System), you can create larger projects - the maximum project size is 10GB on NTFS-formatted storage devices.
You work with your source materials in exactly the same way in standalone and server projects. There is no difference in the way that you create and work with your sources, nodes and other project items. You edit, code, link, and annotate your sources in the same way. You create chart, maps, queries and reports in the same way.
The main differences between server and standalone projects are: the location of your project, how your project is saved, and user access controls.
If you are working in a server project:
- The project is hosted on an NVivo Server.
- Project size is only limited by available storage capacity.
- The maximum size for embedded media files is 100MB.
- When you work in the project, your changes are saved immediately to the server and are visible to other users.
- Project backups are managed by the server administrator.
- Project Owners control access to the project, by assigning users to project user groups.
- Access to the project is controlled by Project Owners, by adding and removing users in project user groups.
- Users are authenticated by their Windows user credentials.
- Many users can work on the project at the same time—for example, two users can code the same source at the same time.
If you are working in a standalone project:
- The project is stored as a .nvp file on your computer or on a network drive.
- The project file cannot exceed 10GB.
- The maximum size for embedded media files is 40MB.
- When you work in the project, you must save the project at regular intervals to protect your work.
- You are responsible for making back up copies of your project.
- You can control access to the project by setting project passwords.
- Users are not authenticated, anyone with access to the project file (and the password—if password-protected) can work in it.
- Only one user can work in the project at a time.
You can copy a standalone project to the server—refer to Save and copy projects for more information.
When you copy a standalone project to the server, existing project user profiles are copied to the server project as historic profiles. Any future work in the project will be associated with your server project user profile. This may mean you have two user profiles in the server project; your historic standalone project profile and your current server project user profile—you can merge the two profiles together.
The new server project has no connection to the standalone project it was copied from. If you make changes to the server project, your changes will not appear in the standalone project—the two projects are completely separate.
You can copy a server project and create a standalone version of the project saved on your own computer, except when the server project exceeds the maximum size for standalone projects (10GB). Refer to Save and copy projects for more information.
When you copy a server project to your computer:
Existing user profiles are copied.
Project user groups are not retained.
If the server project contains embedded media files stored outside the project, these media files are embedded in the new standalone project until the project reaches 3GB, after which media stored as linked media files.
When you work in the new standalone project, your project user profile will be created if your user name does not already exist in the project.
The new standalone project has no connection to the server project it was copied from. If you make changes to the standalone project, your changes will not appear in the server project—the two projects are completely separate.
It is not possible to work disconnected and 'sync' your project later.
You can only work with your server project when you are connected to your network. If you are unable to connect to your network (for example, because you are out of the office), you cannot work with your project.
If you copy your server project to your own computer, you are creating a new standalone project, which has no connection with your server project. Project user groups are not copied to the standalone project.
NVivo projects created on the Mac platform have a different file format from those created in NVivo on the Windows platform:
- NVivo 11 for Windows (.nvp)
- NVivo for Mac (Version 11) (.nvpx)
You can open an NVivo project created on the Mac platform (.nvpx) in Windows and it will be converted into the Windows format (.nvp) for you.
It is possible to work with a project on both Windows and Mac (cross-platform), however, we recommend that you work with your project on a single platform due to some known limitations and issues. Refer to the NVivo 11 for Mac Help for more information.
For more information about working on both Windows and Mac, refer to Work with your projects on Windows or Mac.
NOTE: If the size of your Mac project exceeds 10GB you may not be able to open it in NVivo for Windows.
You can open projects created in earlier versions of NVivo. When you open a project created in an earlier version of the software, a new NVivo 11 project is created—your older project is not overwritten. Refer to Open a project created in an earlier version.
MAXQDA projects can be opened (and converted) to NVivo—refer to Open a MAXQDA project for more information.
ATLAS.ti projects must be exported to XML, before they can be opened (and converted) to NVivo. Refer to Open an ATLAS.ti project for more information.