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Statistical & Qualitative Data Analysis Software: About NVivo

About QSR NVivo; links to NVivo tutorials and resources.

About NVivo

What is NVivo?

NVivo is a software program used for qualitative and mixed-methods research. Specifically, it is used for the analysis of unstructured text, audio, video, and image data, including (but not limited to) interviews, focus groups, surveys, social media, and journal articles. It is produced by QSR International. As of July 2014, it is available for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

Why use NVivo?

  • Analyze and organize unstructured text, audio, video, or image data.
  • Playback ability for audio and video files, so that interviews can be transcribed in NVivo.
  • Ability to capture social media data from Facebook and Twitter using the NCapture browser plug-in.
  • Import notes and captures from Evernote - great for field research.
  • Import citations from EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, or other bibliographic management software - great for literature reviews.
  • Perform simple text analysis queries (such as text search or word frequencies) for text data in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese.

What file types are associated with NVivo?

  • *.nvp - An NVivo for Windows project file.
  • *.nvpx - An NVivo for Mac project file.

What version of NVivo does Kent State currently use?

As of Fall 2021, Kent State has Windows and Mac licenses for the latest version of NVivo, called NVivo R1 (or NVivo 20 in some places). There are also licenses available for the previous version, NVivo 12.

If you are not sure which version you should use, our general recommendations are:

  • Use NVivo R1 if you are:
    • Using NVivo for the first time
    • Starting a new project in NVivo
    • Collaborating with colleagues who are already using NVivo R1
  • Use NVivo 12 if you are:
    • Collaborating with colleagues who are using NVivo 12 and cannot upgrade to NVivo R1
    • Have an existing NVivo 12 project file that cannot be converted to NVivo R1

Is there a way to try NVivo for free?

At this time, QSR International offers free 14 day trials of NVivo, which you can download at the QSR International website. To download the installer for NVivo, you must create a myNVivo account on the QSR International website.

Is there a version of NVivo for Mac?

Yes. Beginning with NVivo version 11, NVivo is available for Windows and Mac.

How can I access NVivo?

Kent State University has a limited-seat license for NVivo for Windows and NVivo for Mac. All currently-employed faculty and staff, as well as currently-enrolled graduate students are eligible to request a license at no charge. Undergraduate students who need NVivo for a formal research project or for work as a Kent State research assistant should have their faculty advisor contact to request a license on their behalf.

University-Owned Computers

Faculty and staff can request a license for NVivo on their university-owned computers, or renew their license for those programs, from

Personally-Owned Computers

Faculty/Staff and Currently enrolled students

You may request a license (for first-time users) or renew your license (for continuing users) through

For more information, contact Information Technology at

Learn NVivo

General Reference

NVivo Tips

Tiny screen? Undock open source and node panes for ease of reading
In NVivo for Windows, you can "undock" the views of open sources, nodes, queries, or other project items by right-clicking on the item's tab and selecting Undock. This will open the item in its own viewer window. This is particularly useful if you have dual monitors: you can open a data source on one monitor, and have the node view on the other.
Choosing between Word or PDF formats? Word and plain text files are easier to code in NVivo than PDFs
In general, it is easier to code plain text and Word documents in NVivo than it is to code PDFs. Automated word detection (such as word frequency and text search queries) also work better on plain text and Word documents than they do on PDFs. If you have a choice between the two formats and your analysis only requires the text, choose plain text.
Headers, footers, and page numbers in Word docs are hidden when viewing the file in NVivo
If your Word source document has headers, footers, and page numbers, they will be hidden when the document is imported into NVivo. This makes it easier to code long passages of text. This is NOT true of PDFs: headers, footers, and page numbers can not be ignored, and can interfere with coding sentences or paragraphs that carry over a page.
Need line numbers? Save your source as a PDF
If you have a Microsoft Word document with line numbers, those line numbers will not be visible after the file is imported into NVivo. If you wish to be able to see the line numbers while coding the file in NVivo, save the Word document as a PDF, and import that PDF into NVivo.
To avoid corrupting your NVivo project files, do not store them on a network drive, external hard drive, or cloud-synced directory
Because of how NVivo saves project data, it is generally not recommended to keep your NVivo project file (*.nvp or *.nvpx) on a network drive, on a folder that is synced to the cloud, or on an external hard drive or USB drive. If your connection to a network drive or external drive is severed at any time while your NVivo project is still open, the file will become corrupted.
  • If you want to keep your NVivo project file on a network drive, change the "Update projects on networks drives" setting to On save.
  • If you are keeping your project file in a folder that is synced to a cloud storage service (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, etc.), QSR recommends pausing syncing while you have the project open.

Equipment at the Library for Collecting and Digitizing Qualitative Data

Digitizing Documents, Audio Recordings, and Video Recordings

The Student Multimedia Studio, located on the first floor of University Library, has hardware and software for converting VHS and audio cassette tapes into digital formats. There are also flatbed scanners and document cameras that can be used for scanning oversized papers and objects.

Alternative Qualitative Data Analysis Software

Highlights of QDA Software Packages


NVivo has a mixture of qualitative and quantitative analysis features: in particular, it can compute inter-coder reliability and use cluster analysis to examine text or coding similarities.

  • User interface and text analysis capabilities available for English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese Simplified
  • Integration with Evernote: import anything from an Evernote notebook (including OCR'd text, clipped websites, and recordings made using the mobile apps) into an NVivo project for analysis
  • Easy, code-free web scraping of social media data from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube using the NCapture browser plugin for Google Chrome and Internet Explorer

Unlike MAXQDA and Atlas.ti, NVivo does not have a dedicated mobile app; however, NVivo's ability to import from Evernote can act as a substitute.


  • User interface available in English, Spanish, and German
  • Integrates all functionality of Google Earth
  • Export project data in XML format: projects are fully portable
  • Free dedicated companion apps for iOS and Android devices: useful if using tablet or mobile device to collect data in the field
    • Note: It is not possible to work on an existing Atlas.ti desktop project in the Atlas.ti mobile app


  • User interface and text analysis capabilities available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Russian, Turkish, Thai, Polish, and Czech
  • Free dedicated companion apps for iOS and Android devices (MAXApp): can code and add content from your mobile device; integrates with Dropbox so work can be transferred from the mobile application to the desktop program
    • Note: It is not possible to work on an existing MAXQDA desktop project in MAXApp
  • Free MAXReader application allows others to open and read MAXQDA projects, even if they do not have MAXQDA
  • MAXQDAplus contains quantitative content analysis tools (MAXDictio)


  • HyperTRANSCRIBE: Dedicated standalone software package for transcribing audio and video files


  • Subscription-based service - cost is approximately $13 per month per user (student discounts and volume discounts also available)
    • Can discontinue subscription and resume project later: project data will be preserved even if subscription stopped
  • Cloud-based - work on your project from any computer connected to the internet, regardless of operating system
  • Easy to collaborate
    • Multiple users can work on the same project simultaneously
    • Browser-based service: teams with Mac and Windows users do not have to worry about cross-compatibility

f4 analyse

  • Available in English and German
  • Export project data in XML format

Limitations of Modern QDA Software

  • Limited Mac support: Most of the major QDA software packages (NVivo, MAXQDA, and Atlas.ti) now offer Mac versions, but because the Mac versions are so new, the feature sets are often limited compared to the Windows versions. This will improve with time, but can lead to some frustrations for faculty and student Mac users.
  • Lack of support for languages with right-to-left scripts: While most of the major QDA software packages have Unicode character support (which allows the programs to correctly display non-English character sets), many of them have difficulty parsing right-to-left languages such as Arabic. Characters will display correctly, but the word order may not be correct.

Official NVivo Support and News