Data storage models

NVivo Windows

Users can store their standalone NVivo Windows projects locally or on a network drive. NVivo Collaboration Cloud allows NVivo projects to be saved in the cloud and shared with a team.


If you have NVivo Collaboration Server, users can work on the same centrally stored project at the same time.

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Standalone project with local storage

Users can work on standalone projects stored on their computer. By default, NVivo Windows projects are saved in the user's Documents folder (as .nvp files).

Users should be reminded to make backup copies of their projects and any non-embedded files—for example, large audio or video files.

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Standalone project with network storage

Users can choose to store their standalone projects on a network drive. This is only recommended in high-bandwidth networks (greater than 100Mbps).

Files that are not embedded in the project—for example, large audio or video files—are stored by default in the user's Documents folder.  For more information, refer to Audio and video storage.

By default, when users work with NVivo projects that are stored on a network drive, project changes are saved to a local temporary file until the user closes the project. When the user closes the project, the network file is updated with all their changes. To avoid loss of data, users should close the NVivo project before they turn off their computer.

If a user opens a network project and NVivo detects a more recent copy on their local computer, they will be prompted to recover the more recent project. If they choose to recover the newer project, they are prompted for a location to copy the recovered project to. The recovered project is given a new file name. For example, if the project file name is My Project.nvp, then, by default the recovered project is named My Project (Recovered).nvp. Users can save the recovered project to a different location and change the file name.

Users can change the network save option in NVivo, so that NVivo updates the network file every time they save. However, for large projects, the save process may take longer to execute (as the data is transferred across the network).

You can also set the network save option when you install NVivo—refer to Installation options and parameters.

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NVivo Collaboration Cloud projects

Standalone NVivo projects can be uploaded to NVivo Collaboration Cloud to share with a team. Users must download the project to their computer to work on it and then manually upload a new version when they are ready to share their changes. Projects are not automatically uploaded to the cloud.

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NVivo Collaboration Server projects

If you have NVivo Collaboration Server (sold separately to NVivo), users in your organization can store NVivo Windows projects on a secure server.

NVivo Collaboration Server:

  • Promotes collaboration. Multiple users can work on an NVivo project at the same time

  • Enables research on large projects  Users can analyze more data and embed larger audio and video resources

  • Streamlines project administration with a central place for monitoring, maintaining and backing up of projects.

  • Integrates with Active X Directory authentication for enhanced security

Files that are not embedded in the project—for example, large audio or video files—are stored by default in the user's Documents folder.  For more information, refer to Audio and video storage.

For more information refer to About NVivo Collaboration Server.

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Audio and video storage

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 choose the default storage location of  'external' media files in the project—refer to Default file locations for more information.

NVivo Windows allow users to import and play YouTube videos. The YouTube videos are not embedded in the project or stored on the computer or network. Instead, the video source has a link to the video on YouTube. Users need to have an internet connection and Internet Explorer 11 to play the video in NVivo.

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Default File locations

NVivo will remember the following four file locations, per user, per PC:

  • location of projects:  the storage location for standalone projects.

  • location of externals:  the storage location of files (such as images, sound or video files) that are linked to externals.

  • location to import:  the storage location for files to be imported.

  • location to export:  the storage location for exported project content—for example, exported sources, nodes or models.

Each time the user specifies one of the above locations, NVivo will use that location by default the next time. Refer to the NVivo client Help for more information.

NOTE  If you are using a terminal server deployment—for example, Citrix XenApp or App-V—make sure users are set up with roaming profiles. Mandatory profiles are not recommended because once the user disconnects from the terminal server, their profile and Documents folder are deleted.

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