Before you install

NVivo Windows

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What software is installed?

NVivo needs the following software to operate:

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.8

  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package

  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Update 4 Redistributable Package

  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Update 3 Redistributable Package

  • Microsoft SQL Server Express LocalDB 2017


In a standard installation these packages are all installed automatically. If you are using another deployment method you may need to install them manually.

You can also choose to install the supplementary add-on, NCapture—a browser extension that allows users to gather material from the web.

Additional software plug-ins are used for particular purposes in NVivo:

  • SurveyMonkey plug-in enables users to import survey data directly from SurveyMonkey

  • Evernote plug-in enables users to import notes directly from Evernote

  • Qualtrics plug-in enables users to import survey data directly from Qualtrics

  • OneNote plug-in enables users to import their OneNote content into NVivo

  • Windows-Mac Project Converter plug-in enables users to convert projects between NVivo Windows and NVivo Mac format. This plug-in is downloaded and installed automatically the first time a user converts a project. The plug-in (approximately 200 MB) may take some time to download, during which the user will not be able to use NVivo. You can optionally install this plug-in for your users when you install the software.

  • Automated insights functionality requires language packs which are downloaded and installed automatically the first time a user selects the feature in the Autocode Wizard. Language packs vary in size depending on the language. There is a language pack for each supported text content language—English, Chinese (Simplified Chinese), French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.

These plug-ins are updated automatically, when necessary. The update process requires an Internet connection but does not require administrator privileges.

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Installing software to convert projects to and from NVivo Mac format

NVivo Windows includes a project converter to enable users to convert projects between NVivo Windows format (.nvp) and NVivo Mac format (.nvpx).

The Windows-Mac Project Converter is provided as a software plug-in for NVivo Windows. All project conversion between NVivo Windows and NVivo Mac formats needs to be done within NVivo Windows—that is, it cannot be done from NVivo Mac.

The converter is downloaded and installed on-demand the first time the user is connected to the Internet and does one of the following in NVivo Windows:

  • Opens, imports or copies an NVivo Mac project

  • Copies or exports an NVivo Windows project to NVivo Mac format

Users need to be connected to the internet in order to download and install the project converter. Users do not need administrator permission in order to install the project converter.  

The process of downloading and installing the project converter can take a few minutes depending on the speed of the internet connection.

If you want to save download time for the users at your site, you can download the files needed to perform a command line installation. For more information, refer to Unattended command line installation (Installing the Windows-Mac Project Converter).

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Installing NVivo Windows without a local database component

The standard installation of NVivo includes a local database component. If your organization has NVivo Collaboration Server and your NVivo users intend to work exclusively with server projects you can install NVivo Windows without a local database component by using a different deployment method—for example Unattended command line installation.

Installing NVivo Windows without a local database component can simplify the deployment of NVivo to application virtualization environments such as Citrix XenApp. However, if you choose to install NVivo Windows without a local database component, NVivo users cannot work with standalone NVivo project files (.nvp files)—they can only work with NVivo Collaboration Server projects.

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Using NVivo for Windows on a Mac

If your users need features that are not currently available in NVivo Mac, you could consider installing the Windows version of NVivo on a Mac using one of the following software products.

  • Apple Boot Camp (Boot Camp is available for Mac OS X version 10.6 and later versions)

  • Parallels Desktop for Mac

  • VirtualBox

  • VMware Fusion

If you are running the software on a virtual platform on a Mac, the virtual machine needs to meet NVivo's system requirements. When using Parallels Desktop for Mac or similar products that emulate the operating system, you may require higher system specifications. This is because these emulation programs require resources for the Mac operating system plus additionally assigned resources for Windows.

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Registry keys

NVivo requires all users to have full read/write access to the appropriate areas of the registry in order to operate. These are:



NVivo sets these permissions during the installation process and no action is required by the Network Administrator. However, if the registry permissions installed by NVivo 12 Windows are modified after installation, NVivo may fail to launch.

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Sample project

NVivo installs sample projects to assist new users to learn the software. The projects are included with the installer. Users can create new copies of the sample projects from the NVivo Welcome Screen.


For sites with NVivo Collaboration Server, read-only versions of the sample projects are installed on the server. Users can open the server sample project and explore its contents but they cannot make changes to it. If users want to experiment with a sample project they should create their own copy of the server sample project

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Working with data in a language other than English

Users can import and work with data in virtually any language in NVivo. If they intend to work with data in a language other than English, you must ensure that the appropriate Windows language pack has been installed on their computer. Refer to the Microsoft Windows online help for more information.

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Pre-installation checklist

We recommend that you check the following items before attempting to install NVivo:

  • You must have full Administrator privileges for the computer on which you are installing NVivo. After installation, NVivo can be run by a ‘least privileged’ user.

  • You should disable antivirus, antispam and firewall applications before installing NVivo, as these applications may impact the successful installation of the Microsoft SQL Server Express LocalDB. After installing NVivo, make sure you re-enable your antivirus, antispam and firewall applications.

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