SFU does not offer or support the NVivo Collaboration Cloud. However, there are other options to collaborate using NVivo.

Ways to collaborate

Beyond simply using the same computer to do your coding, there are two main ways of collaborating with NVivo without using Collaboration Cloud: 

  • through filesharing
  • through combining separate files.

 Regardless of the option you choose, we do not recommend collaborating across operating systems (Mac vs. PC). It is best practice to talk to your team and decide on one system together. Mac and PC computers with NVivo 14 downloaded are available for members of the SFU community across all three SFU campus libraries.

What collaboration method is right for you?

 If you are feeling unsure about which collaboration method to use or need any assistance, get in touch with our team, we would be happy to talk through the options with you.

Collaborating by filesharing 

Use one NVivo file that your team will take turns editing at separate times.


  • Members of your team do not need to work on the NVivo file at the same time. 
  • Your team has access to a secure shared drive (OneDrive or Vault).
  • Each person on your team has access to a computer with NVivo.
  • You are using the same version of (NVivo 14) and same system (Mac VS. PC) . 


  • Better process for projects without an established codebook. 
  • Less administrative oversight. 
  • Fewer system issues/complications/failures. 


  • You cannot edit the NVivo file at the same time. 

Collaborating by combining separate files 

Use multiple NVivo files at any time using the same codebook and then combine the files. 

Requirements :

  • You already have an established codebook and do not expect to make changes to it. 
  • Each person on your team has access to a computer with NVivo.
  • You are using the same version of (NVivo 14) and same system (Mac VS. PC) .


  • You can edit the files at the same time, without a work schedule. 


  • If anyone on your team changes the codebook, everyone must stop working and update their files to the new codebook to avoid syncing errors. 
  • More administrative work – often requires a project manager or administrative lead.
  • Greater risk of syncing errors and other technical complications.  

How to collaborate by filesharing: Step-by-step instructions

  1. Set up a shared folder in a secure storage drive, such as OneDrive (or a plan to share the file via external storage, such as a USB drive).
  2. Save your NVivo project in the shared space.
  3. Establish a schedule for editing the document. 
  4. When it is your turn to edit the document, start by changing the file name to reflect that editing is in progress (Example. DATE-NAME-EDITING_Filename*) – this will avoid multiple users making changes to the file at the same time. 
    1. *Your team may want to add your initials and the date to the file name when editing the file to keep versions organized.
  5. Then, download the NVivo file to your computer.
  6. Edit the file as needed. 
  7. When done, save the edited file back into the shared space.
  8. Rename the updated file to show that the file is no longer being edited.**
    1. **Your team may want to archive previous versions of the file by creating a new folder in your shared drive for that purpose, and dragging the old NVivo files into the folder after downloading.

How to collaborate by combining separate files: Step-by-step instructions

  1. Create your NVivo project, including setting up your completed codebook.
  2. Create copies of the file and share these with the team. 
    1. We recommend using a share drive with individual folders for each editor, so the project manager can access and update all files when needed.
  3. Edit the files as needed, when needed.
  4. At the end of the project, one member of your team will need to merge the individual NVivo files.

If you need to make a change to the codebook:

  1. Notify the rest of the team immediately to cease work.
  2. Update the codebook as needed.
  3. Click Export Codebook (Export-> Export Codebook on Mac) under the Share menu.
  4. On PC Click Browse, on Mac click Select.
  5. Click the {Save Type As/File Format} drop-down menu.
  6. Select the (*.qdc) file type and click ok.
  7. Send your codebook to your project manager to import into all files, or to each teammate to import into their individual file. 
  8. To import the updated codebook, click the Import menu. 
  9. Click Codebook and select the exported codebook (must be a .qdc file).
  10. Click {Import/Ok}

See NVivo: Training for the basics of getting started with NVivo, including more information on setting up and learning to use NVivo. 

Our team is happy to help and we offer a number of ways to learn NVivo with the Research Commons.