Provide assistance to NVivo users

NVivo Collaboration Server

This topic explains how you can assist NVivo client users who are working with server projects. For example, client users might want assistance with setting up the connection in the NVivo client or need assistance with connecting to a particular project.

In this topic

Help users set up connections in the NVivo client

Before users can access an NVivo Collaboration Server project, they must set up a server connection in the NVivo client via the Application Options. They must enter a 'friendly' name for the connection and the 'host' name which identifies the server on the network. The host name can be:

  • A server name, for example ‘myserver’

  • A fully qualified domain name, for example ‘’

  • An IP address, for example ‘’

For detailed instructions on setting up a server connection, refer to the NVivo client Help.

Help users who cannot access server projects

If a user is having trouble opening a server project, check that:

  • The user account exists on the server machine or domain.
  • An NVivo Collaboration Server license has been activated in NVivo Collaboration Server Manager.
  • The user has been added to either the Users or Project Creators user group in NVivo Collaboration Server Manager.
  • Sufficient Client Access Licenses (CALs) have been made available in NVivo Collaboration Server Manager to support user access.
  • The user has a valid server connection—this is defined in the NVivo client Application Options.
  • The user is logging on using the correct user account.
  • A Project Owner has added the user to a project user group (Project Owners, Contributors or Readers), or Guest access to the project is enabled. Ask the Project Owner to confirm this. You can find the Project Owners for the project via NVivo Collaboration Server Manager. If the Project Owners are unavailable, you may need to add a Project Owner to the project, so that the user can be granted access.
  • The project format is compatible with the NVivo client software installed on the user's computer—for example, if the user wants to open an NVivo 12 Windows project, they must have NVivo 12 Windows installed.
  • The user is attempting to connect from a supported client—NVivo 12 Windows, NVivo 11 Windows, or NVivo 10 Windows. Connections from NVivo for Mac 10, NVivo for Mac 11 and  NVivo 12 Mac are not supported.

Add Project Owners to a server project

Project Owners are the only users who can give other users access to a project, change project properties and perform other project management tasks. Normally Project Owners are added via the NVivo client, however, if existing Project Owners are unavailable for a particular project (for example, because people have left your organization), you may need to add another Project Owner to the project.

To add Project Owners:

  1. Open the NVivo Collaboration Server Manager.

  2. Click the Projects tab.

  3. In the projects list, select a project and click Add Owners.

  4. Enter the user accounts you want to add.

NOTE If you add a user account that has not been added to the Users project group—it is automatically added.

  1. Click Add.

Help users manage audio and video files

NVivo users can choose to embed media files in a project or store them outside the project on their computer or on a network location. They may also choose to do both—storing small media files in the project, and storing large media files outside the project. Any files that exceed 100 MB must be stored outside the project.

If media files are stored on a user’s local machine then other users cannot access them. You should encourage users to store these files in a location accessible to all users—for example, on a shared network drive. Users can change the location of ‘external’ media files in the project—refer to the NVivo client Help for more information.

Support users who are collaborating on a server project

When more than one user is working on a project, NVivo Collaboration Server automatically saves updates and manages any potential conflicts between the users.

Users may ask the following:

  • Why can't I save the project?  When users update a project, the changes are saved immediately to the server and are visible to other users. Users do not have to manually save their project.

  • Why can't I edit this project item?  If a user wants to edit the content of a source or model, they must switch to edit mode. If another user tries to edit the item at the same time, they will see a message indicating that the item is not available for edit. NVivo will prompt with another message when the item becomes available. Dataset and PDF sources cannot be edited in NVivo and users cannot switch to edit mode in these sources.

  • How can I see everyone's updates?  NVivo refreshes the workspace whenever a user performs common actions such as navigating to a different folder or opening an item. To manually refresh the NVivo workspace—users can press F5.

  • Conflict with another user, what now?  NVivo informs users if they try to make a change that conflicts with another colleague's work. For example, if a user attempts to change an item that is out of date (due to another user's changes). NVivo will display a message and retrieve the latest data so that they can try again.

  • Why is another user's long-running operation interfering with my updates?  If one user starts a long-running operation, other users cannot update the project until the operation completes.  For example, users will not be able to update the project while another user imports a large number of documents; automatically codes a large dataset; or runs a query that creates a large number of nodes.

When users are planning their work, there are a number of strategies they can use to prevent long-running operations from interfering with the other users of their project. Users could import documents individually (rather than selecting a large number to import in one operation). Users could choose a time of day to perform the long-running operation to avoid interfering with other user's updates. Project Owners can also open the project 'exclusively' (locking out other users) before commencing a long-running operation.

  • Can I have my own application settings?  Each user can set their own application preferences—for example, they can hide the audio waveform or use a large font in datasets.

  • Why am I being prompted to convert a project when I try to open it?  NVivo Collaboration Server can host projects in the following formats: NVivo 12 Windows, NVivo 11 for Windows, and NVivo 10 for Windows. If a later version of the NVivo client attempts to open a project in an earlier format, the user is prompted to convert the project to the later format. The original project is not changed, instead a converted copy of the project is created on the server. Everyone working in a shared project should be using the same version of the NVivo client software.

  • Why do I get a message indicating that the project cannot be opened because it was created in a later version of NVivo?  Later format projects cannot be opened by earlier versions of the NVivo client. For example, an NVivo 12 Windows format project cannot be opened in the NVivo 11 client. All users who are working together in a shared project should be using the same version of the NVivo client.

Help users who cannot create server projects

To create a project on NVivo Collaboration Server a user must:

  • Be a member of the Project Creator group—you add users to groups using NVivo Collaboration Server Manager.

  • Have a valid server connection—this is defined in the Application Options dialog in the NVivo client.

Restore deleted projects

You should ensure that NVivo Collaboration Server projects are backed-up regularly—you can schedule regular backups via NVivo Collaboration Server Manager.  

If a Project Owner accidentally deletes content from a project (or deletes the project), you can restore the project from a backup.

TIP  If the user is looking for deleted content, it is a good idea to restore to a new project. If the restored project has the missing content, the user can merge the two projects via the NVivo client. This approach ensures that the user does not lose any work they have done in the existing project since the backup was made.

Improve project performance

If users are experiencing poor performance:

  • You can use the Repair function in the NVivo Collaboration Server Manager.

  • Project owners can use the Compact and Repair function in the NVivo client—refer to the NVivo client Help for more information.

You should always make a backup copy of the project before repairing it.

When you repair a server project, other users are disconnected from the project.

Copy a standalone project as a server project

Users (who have Project Creator permissions) can copy an existing standalone project to the NVivo Collaboration Server using the copy function in the NVivo client. Refer to the NVivo client Help for more information.

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. In the NVivo desktop application, you can display a list of all the files that are not embedded in the project—refer to the NVivo client Help for more information.

Support users who want to work 'disconnected' from a server project

NVivo Collaboration Server does not allow users to work disconnected and then 'sync' projects later on.

If necessary, users can copy a team project to their computer using the Copy function in the NVivo client (as long as the project is less than 10GB). Refer to the NVivo client Help for more information about copying server projects.

Provide guaranteed access to key users

Unless you allocate Client Access Licenses (CALs) to specific users, access to server projects is on a first-come, first-served basis.

If specific users need guaranteed access to a project (Project Owners for example), then you can allocate them a 'named' user license. Refer to Manage user access to the server for more information.