Converting projects between Windows and Mac

NVivo on Windows and Mac are separate software applications with different project file formats (file extensions: .nvp for Windows and .nvpx for Mac). You can convert projects between the platforms however there are limitations such that, while you may be able to successfully convert a project on a once-off basis it is not recommended you do this as part of an ongoing workflow.

NVivo Collaboration Server uses Windows-format project files (NVivo Collaboration Server is compatible with Windows only).

If you do work with a project across platforms we recommend making the project's 'master' version in Windows, and import all data files there. This is because NVivo Windows has the full NVivo feature set—NVivo Mac has a subset of these.

Depending on project size and your computer's power, project conversion can take some time.

Differences between Windows and Mac projects

There are important differences between Windows and Mac projects that you should be aware of before converting:

  • Mac projects can be up to 512 GB compared to 10 GB for Windows, so Mac projects over 10 GB may not be able to be converted.

    In some cases Mac projects over 10 GB can be converted, e.g. if the project has large media files embedded in it, the files are stored outside (but linked to from) the Windows project.

  • NVivo Mac does not have all of the features of the Windows version. Project items created by features not present in Mac are hidden in projects converted to and opened in NVivo Mac.

    IMPORTANT  Unsupported items are not deleted when a project is converted to Mac—only hidden. If the project is converted back into Windows format the items appear again. Therefore, unless you are confident the project will never return to Windows, do not to delete items that may depend on Windows functions e.g. empty folders that might contain framework matrices, or queries dependent on dynamic sets.

    The following features are not present in NVivo Mac:

    • Compound and group queries
    • See-also links (if you edit a file with hidden see-also links in NVivo Mac the links are deleted)
    • Annotations in audios, videos, pictures and datasets
    • Dynamic sets
    • Framework matrices
    • Sentiment coding
    • Relationship coding
    • Social network analysis
    • Cluster analysis
    • Project maps
    • Reports
  • The same coding comparison query can provide different results in Windows and Mac after conversion if, for example, the query applies to all files or codes. This is because coding comparison is supported for pictures, audio and video in NVivo Windows but not NVivo Mac. Similarly, NVivo Mac does not support sentiment and relationship codes.
  • Windows and Mac use different formats for file links. For links to work after conversion they must all be updated manually. The relevant link types are:
    • Externals, with links to files outside projects
    • Audio and video files linked to media files stored outside projects
    • Hyperlinks in NVivo from documents and memos to files
  • Coding coverage percentages can differ slightly between NViNVivo Windows and NVivo Mac due to differences in the handling of blank spaces.
  • Codes referencing documents with embedded images or complex tables coded in NVivo Mac may not open properly when converted. Avoid this by converting these documents to PDF before conversion.

Converting a Windows project to Mac

To convert a project from Windows to Mac, you open it in NVivo Windows and make a copy of it in Mac format.

IMPORTANT  NVivo for Mac does not have all of the features in NVivo for Windows—elements of your work may not be visible in the converted project (however they are not lost). See Differences between Windows and Mac projects above.

  1. In NVivo Windows open the File tab and select Copy Project.
  2. If the project to convert was already open it is selected in the dialog box—otherwise click Browse to select it.
  3. Under Copy to, select NVivo - (Mac) R1 project.
  4. Beside the Location field, click Browse to select the location to save the converted project and name it.
  5. Click OK. A copy of the project is saved in .nvpx format.

Converting a Mac project to Windows

You can open an NVivo Mac project (.nvpx) directly in NVivo Windows (the project must have the same major version number as NVivo Windows). The project is converted into the Windows format (.nvp). (As an alternative, consider importing the content from an NVivo Mac project into an NVivo Windows project Merge projects or import items from another NVivo project).

IMPORTANT  Projects created on the Mac platform have a larger maximum file size than Windows projects. If the size of your Mac project exceeds 10 GB you may not be able to open it in NVivo for Windows. See Differences between Windows and Mac projects above.

  1. In NVivo Windows open the File tab and select Open.
  2. Locate and select the Mac project (.nvpx) you want to open.
  3. Click Open.
  4. Click Browse to select a folder and name the copied file. Click Save.
  5. Click Convert. A copy of the project is saved in .nvp format.