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NVivo: Introduction and Basics

An introduction and overview of NVivo to help researchers organize and analyze qualitative data.

Accessing NVivo

You have three options to access NVivo - you can download the software directly onto your computer, access the software through your browser, or access the software through the Remote Desktop application. If you have a Mac but would need to use NVivo Windows, your best bet is to use the Application Gateway through your browser (#2) or by downloading Microsoft Remote Desktop (#3).

  1. The NVivo software can be downloaded on USF's IT software catalog page. Although it is currently available to everyone, you will need to fill out the special request form using your USF email address. Then you will receive an email with instructions.
    • IMPORTANT: The Windows and Mac versions are NOT the same. They have slightly different file formats, and several features are not available on NVivo for Mac. If you are collaborating with others, it is highly recommended that everyone uses the same NVivo operating system. Mac users can also download a parallel/virtual Windows desktop (e.g., Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, Boot Camp) and run NVivo for Windows. 
  2. You can access NVivo via the Application Gateway using your browser. This is the most convenient route if you do not or cannot down the software, but it may slow down your computer processing. 
    • IMPORTANT: Files are saved on your USF OneDrive account, and the first time you save a file it will only appear in your OneDrive folder if you close the NVivo application in your browser tab. If you just close your browser tab without exiting the application, you won’t see the file in your OneDrive. 
  3. Download the Microsoft Remote Desktop client to access the Application Gateway. This can be faster than using your browser, but it requires more initial steps. 

The first time you use NVivo, you will need to create a User Profile. This is important if you have multiple collaborators on your project as you can link coded data to a user, which is particularly helpful for member checking/reliability reporting. 

NVivo License Expired?

NVivo License Expiring or Expired?

Don't panic! This past summer, USF updated the NVivo license, so if you have previously downloaded NVivo, you may receive a notification that the license key is expired when you open the application. To access the new key, you will need to fill out the special request form using your USF email address again. Then you will receive an email with the new Enterprise License key. Once you do that you may be able to simply input the new license key by following these instructions.

  • Open NVivo
  • Click File > click Product Info > click Manage License > click Replace License
  • Paste the new license key in the first field (it will apply the separate sections across the remaining fields)
  • Enter information in License Activation form if prompted > click Activate button

If that does not work, you may need to log into the myNVivo portal and enter the license key on the license registration page.

NOTE: If you are using a USF-owned computer requiring an administrative username/password for software updates, please contact your department's IT person to renew your NVivo license.


NCapture is a Chrome browser extension that facilitates gathering data from the web and social media to import into NVivo – e.g., websites, twitter, Facebook, YouTube. It essentially takes a snapshot of the webpage you are currently on and saves it as a file-type specific to NVivo which then works like a PDF.

You can import each NCapture into NVivo by selecting the "From Other Sources" option from the ‘External Data’ tab in the Ribbon. You can batch import NCaptures rather than one file at a time, streamlining the process.