Files > Audio and video > Audio and videos

Audio and videos

Import your audio or video files and analyze the content in NVivo.

A video or audio file consists of a media file and a transcript:

Video file with media and transcript.

1Media timeline—you can play, code and annotate the media using the timeline.

2Media—you can resize the display and use the controls to play, pause and rewind

3Transcript—you can import a transcript or play and transcribe the media in NVivo.

You can also have your media automatically transcribed using the integrated transcription service NVivo Transcription.

What media file formats can I import?

You can import files with the following formats:


  • MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 format (mp3)
  • MPEG-4 audio format (m4a)
  • Microsoft Windows Media formats (wma, wav)


  • MPEG formats (mpg, mpeg, mpe, mp4)
  • Windows Media formats ( avi, wmv)
  • QuickTime formats (mov, qt)
  • 3G Mobile Phone format (3gp)
  • AVCHD High Definition Video formats (mts, m2ts)

NVivo relies on the codecs installed on your computer to decode media files. If the required codec is not installed on your computer, you will not be able to import or play the file, even if it is in a supported format.

Import an audio or video file

  1. In Navigation View, click the name of the files folder that you want to import the audio or video into.
  2. On the Import tab, in the Data group, click Files.
  3. Browse for and select the file you want to import.
  4. Click the Open button.
  5. Click OK.
  6. (Optional) Change the name or enter a description of the audio or video file.
  7. (Optional) Click the Audio or Video tab to set options for storing the media file—you can embed it in the project or store it outside the project on your computer or a network.
  8. Click OK.


  • If you receive a message indicating that the media file cannot be imported, check that your media is in one of the supported formats.
  • If the audio or video contains the responses of a particular case, you may want to code the entire media file at a new case node—click the More button, and then select the Code files at case nodes located under check box.
    • The new case nodes are added at the root level of the Nodes folder, unless you click Select and specify an alternative location.
    • If you want to classify the new case nodes—click the Select button and choose the classification. All attributes will be set to default values.
  • You can import multiple files at the same time.

What can I do in an audio or video file?

When working in an audio or video file you can:

  • Create a transcript—you can transcribe the media in NVivo yourself, you can import an existing transcript, or you can have your media file transcribed using the integrated transcription service NVivo Transcription. If you don't need a transcript, you can leave it blank (and hide it if you want to).
  • Play, pause, forward and rewind the media—you can go to an exact location using the timeline
  • Code the media directly on the timeline or code the text in the Content column of the transcript
  • Annotate the media directly on the timeline or annotate text in the Content column of the transcript.
  • Create see also links from the timeline or text in the Content column of the transcript

In audio and video sources you can code:

  • A section of the media via the timeline
  • Text in the Content column of a transcript

Can I work with the transcript only?

You can work with a transcript, even if the audio or video is not available. For example, if:

  • You are working in the field and the media is stored on a network drive at the office.
  • You are working with a video file containing YouTube content, but are not connected to the Internet.

When you open an existing audio or video file where the content is not available, you are prompted to work without the audio or video. If you choose this option, the file opens and you can work with the transcript.

You can also create an audio or video file without the media content. This is useful in situations where you have a transcript, but do not have the original recording.

Work on the transcript and import media content later

You can create an audio or video file without importing the media file. This is useful if you want to work on the transcript and import the file later on.

In the blank area of List View, right-click to display the shortcut menu and then click New File > New Audio or New Video.

Where are media files stored?

The media content in an imported audio/video file can be embedded in the project or stored outside of the project on your computer or network. Storing media outside of the project is useful when you are dealing with many or very large media files—embedding large files can impact on project performance. If you subsequently move the media file to another location on your computer or network, you will need to re-link it.

The way you work with audio and video (coding, linking and annotating) is the same whether the media file is embedded or stored outside the project.

Working with YouTube videos

A YouTube video is not embedded in the project or stored on your computer or network. The video file has a link to the video on YouTube.

You need an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 10 (or later) to play the video in NVivo. You can still work with the video transcript (if you have created one) without an internet connection.

You can work with a video file from YouTube in the same way as you would a video file containing imported media—however, there are few minor differences. For videos files from YouTube:

  • You cannot display a waveform.
  • You cannot adjust the playback speed.
  • The video size always scales to fit the player window.

NOTE  You cannot embed a YouTube video in NVivo. You create a video file that links to the original content on the YouTube website. This is a restriction that is imposed by YouTube.