NVivo: Qualitative Data Analysis Software

NVivo is available for free download for Harvard's FAS community (NOTE: If the page fails to load, clear your browser's cache or try a different browser. When the link is working correctly, you will be prompted to log in.). Students not affiliated with FAS can purchase at a discount directly from NVivo. For information on accessing the software on University computers see Qualitative Across Harvard.

Other access options at Harvard:

  • Desktop access at Lamont Library Media Lab, 3rd floor
  • Desktop access at Harvard Kennedy School Library (with HKS ID)
  • Remote desktop access for Harvard affiliates from IQSS Computer Labs. Email them at iqsslabs@harvard.edu and ask for a new lab account and remote desktop access to NVivo.
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) access available to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health affiliates


  • Step 1:  Before downloading and installing NVivo you must create a myNVivo account. If you have already done so, please proceed to the instructions for "DOWNLOADING AND INSTALLING" below. If you do not have a myNVivo account, you can Sign up and create a new account.
  • Step 2: DOWNLOADING AND INSTALLING: You can download supported versions of NVivo from the NVivo Downloads page within the myNVivo portal (you will be required to Sign in with your myNVivo username and password).
  • Step 3:  Choose a version of NVivo and your computer's operating system (i.e., Mac or PC).  For assistance, please refer to the Technical Resource Center to determine compatibility.
  • Step 4:  Continue following the download and installation instructions. When prompted, DO NOT select "Activate with myNVivo," but continue below and select "Or provide enterprise key to activate" and enter the "License Key" from the FAS Downloads page. (NOTE: If the page fails to load, clear your browser's cache or try a different browser. When the link is working correctly, you will be prompted to log in.)
  • Step 5:  Follow prompts to accept license terms, complete required contact information fields and select "Activate."
  • Step 6: Click "OK" when your license has been activated. Enter your user profile name and initials and click "OK" to open NVivo.

Note:  If you experience difficulty deploying or installing NVivo, please don’t hesitate to examine the NVivo Knowledge Base.


NVivo License Expiring or Expired? Every year in September the previous year’s NVivo license key expires. There is no need to install the software again, you will simply need to enter the new annually updated license key (located in the section above). Please note: Active projects stored in NVivo at the time of expiration will be retained and accessible once the new License Key is entered.

Working with Groups

Please note that in NVivo you can share files and merge team members' work (see Windows instructions for merging or Mac instructions for merging), but if you would like the ability to code simultaneously you will need to buy one of two alternative NVivo packages: NVivo Collaboration Server (for use with Windows only) or NVivo Collaboration Cloud (for use with Windows or Mac, but not in combination).

Here are some more resources for learning more about qualitative research in teams generally:

  • Liggett, A.M, Glesne, C.E., Johnston, A.P., Hasazi, S.B., & Schattman, R.A. (1994). 'Teaming in qualitative research: lessons learned'. Qualitative Studies in Education , Vol 7 No. 1
  • MacQueen, K.M., McLellan, E., Kay, K., Milstein, B. (1999). 'Codebook Development for Team-based Qualitative Analysis'. Cultural Anthropology Methods Vol. 10 No.2
  • Sprokkereef, A., Lakin, E., Pole, C. J., & Burgess, R. G. (1995). 'The data, the team, and the Ethnograph'. in R. G. Burgess (Ed.), Computing and Qualitative Research (Vol. 5,). Greenwich: Jai Press, Inc.