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NVivo: Getting Started

Downloading NVivo 12

The SFU site license for NVivo allows SFU students, faculty, staff and SFU-based members of research teams to download NVivo to their individual home computers and laptops. Students, faculty, and staff can do so by using the self-serve download page. If you have difficulty, please email nvivo-rc@sfu.ca to inquire.  If you elect, on the download page, to receive messages from the Research Commons about NVivo, you will receive information about extending the license when the current license term expires.

Upgrading to NVivo 12 (if you have already installed NVivo 11)

You will need to download the new software -- click through the self-serve download. You will need to copy and paste the new license key when you launch NVivo 12 the first time. 

For Windows: Compatibility with previous versions of NVivo

NVivo 12 (Windows) allow users to open and work with projects from previous versions of QSR software: NVivo 11, NVivo 10, NVivo 9, NVivo 8, NVivo 7, NVivo 2, NVivo 1, N6 (NUD*IST 6), N5 and N4.

These previous versions can continue to operate on the same computer as NVivo 12 (Windows).

NVivo provides backward compatibility—if a user with a later version of NVivo attempts to open a project in an earlier format (for example, a user opens an NVivo 11 project in NVivo 12 (Windows)), the user is prompted to convert the project to the later format. The original project is not modified; instead a converted copy of the project is created.

NVivo does not provide forward compatibility—the user cannot open a project with a later format. For example, if a user wants to open an NVivo 12 (Windows) project, they must have NVivo 12 (Windows), or later, installed.

For Mac: Compatibility with previous versions of NVivo for Mac

NVivo 12 (Mac) allows users to open and work with projects from earlier versions (10 and 11).

NVivo 12 (Mac) and NVivo for Mac (Version 11) can be installed on the same computer. However, the two versions of software cannot be run at the same time. If you no longer intend to use the earlier version, we recommend that you uninstall it before installing NVivo 12 (Mac).

NVivo for Mac provides backward compatibility. If a user with a later version of NVivo attempts to open a project produced by an earlier version—for example, a user opens an NVivo for Mac (Version 11) project in NVivo 12 (Mac)—the user is prompted to upgrade the project. The original project is not modified; instead a converted copy of the project is created.

NVivo does not provide forward compatibility. The user cannot open a project in an earlier version of the software. For example, if a user wants to open an NVivo 12 (Mac) project, they must have NVivo 12 (Mac) installed.

Inputting a new license key

If you are using a trial license from QSR, you can switch to the SFU license when the trial expires. Use the link above to the self-serve download page to find the SFU license.

Need access to NVivo 11 for a project that is already underway? Please contact nvivo-rc@sfu.ca 
To request installation of NVivo on SFU computers, please contact your departmental LAN administrator.

Quick reference guide

The Getting Started tutorial for NVivo 12 for Windows and for Mac serves as an introduction and instructional manual for your reference. It contains insights about the workflow with NVivo and how you can use all of its features for your research. It will get you started very quickly and help you move forward with your data.

For resources to help you get up and running with NVivo 12 including online help, eWorkshops and training, visit QSR's website;
Technical support is also available directly from NVivo via their technical resource manualFAQs and this form.

Tutorials and video clips

QSR International, the maker of NVivo, provides many informative videos that demonstrate basic or more advanced features of the software.