Using NVivo with NVivo Server

NVivo 12 Windows

If you have NVivo Server, users in your organization can store their NVivo for Windows projects on a secure server and can work together on the same project at the same time. This topic incudes information that you can use to manage NVivo 12 Windows and support users in an NVivo Server environment.

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NVivo Server (sold separately to NVivo) allows your organization to store NVivo for Windows projects on a secure server, where multiple users can work on the same project at the same time. Users access projects on the server via the NVivo desktop application. Administrators can configure NVivo Server using the browser-based NVivo Server Manager.

Refer to About NVivo Server for more information.

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Client-server compatibility

NVivo Server 11 can host NVivo 12 Windows projects, as well as those in NVivo 11, 10 or 9 formats.

A user with the NVivo 12 Windows client can connect to NVivo Server 10 R2, NVivo Server 10 or NVivo Server 9.0 SP1.

The NVivo client provides backward compatibility—if a later version of the NVivo client attempts to open a project in an earlier format (for example, the NVivo 12 Windows client attempts to open an NVivo 11 project), 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.

The NVivo client does not provide forward compatibility—the user cannot open a project with a later format. For example, projects in NVivo 12 Windows format cannot be opened in NVivo 11 for Windows.

Make sure that team members collaborating in a standalone project or a server project are using the same version of the NVivo software. If team members are not using the same service pack, they may not be able to use the same features.

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Controlling access to the NVivo server

The server administrator controls access to the server by assigning users to server user groups—these groups control what the group members can do on the server. All user groups can connect to the server, but only members of certain user groups can create new projects. Refer to Manage user access to the server for more information.

The server administrator does not control access to projects. Access to projects is controlled within the projects, by Project Owners—refer to Controlling access to a server project for more information.

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Controlling access to a server project

The Project Owners control end-user access to their projects in the client software. They can do this by adding users to project user groups, and by enabling or disabling 'guest access'.

A project user group is a collection of users who are permitted to do the same things within the project. By adding a user to the appropriate group, the Project Owner controls what they can do in the project.

There are three project user groups in an NVivo project; Readers, Contributors and Project Owners:  

  • Readers have the least permissions—they can only view the project.
  • Contributors can view and modify the project, but they cannot perform 'project management' tasks.
  • Project Owners have the most permissions. They can modify project content and they can perform project management tasks— for example, modify project properties, and manage user access.

The user who creates a new server project automatically becomes a Project Owner. There can be more than one Project Owner.

'Guest access' allows any user who has access to the NVivo server to view the project. By default, guest access is enabled, but the Project Owner may choose to disable 'guest access' to the project. If the Project Owner disables guest access, only members of the Readers, Contributors or Project Owners project user groups can access the project.

Refer to NVivo Help for more information.

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Establishing a connection with the server

Before any user can connect to the server, they must have a valid server connection. There also needs to be sufficient Client Access Licenses (CALs).

Users can set up a server connection in the Applications Options of the NVivo client. On the Connections tab, click Add to set up a new connection. They need to enter the following:

  • In the Name box, enter a 'friendly' name for the connection—for example, 'Staff Projects Server'.

  • In the Host box, enter the server name. This can be:

  • A server name, for example 'myserver'

  • A fully qualified domain name, for example 'myserver,'

  • An IP address, for example '10.0.71'

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

Your NVivo Server license entitles you to a number of Client Access Licenses (CALs) that allow users to access server projects. CALs can be distributed to named users—specified user accounts that have 1 CAL reserved for their use. These user accounts have a guaranteed server connection at all times.

CALs are consumed when users open projects and are released when projects are closed.

Refer to NVivo Server Help for more information on CALs.

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Consider media file storage options

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.

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