Project file size changes randomly?

02.11.2020, 17:15

hello there,
I work on a project file and every now and then the file size changes significantly although I do not add or remove any significant data. I have been doing proof reading for a while now, so I just changed so time stamps, typos, comments... I have 7 transcripts with 7 video files which are all saved externally.

An example of recent file size developments:
Date: size (KB)
10/19: 3.016
10/20: 6.528
10/22: 4.152
10/28: 4.432
10/29: 3.008
10/30: 3.472
10/31: 42.640
11/01: 55.120

It doesn't seem to result in any troubles but I still wonder why this is happening and if I am doing something wrong? (absolute beginner)

Many thanks!

Version: MAXQDA 2020
System: Windows 10
Posts: 4
Joined: 06.07.2020, 15:14

Re: Project file size changes randomly?

04.11.2020, 17:06


Thank you for posting here!

First, do you make regular project backups? When you create a backup, temporary data such as undo data or activity history is erased, thus reducing the file size. If no backups are made, the file size can grow correspondingly fast.

Second, is it possible that you store and open your project directly from a cloud, a cloud-synchronized folder (e.g. OneDrive) any other external source? If yes, this could also cause substantial growth in project size and eventually issues with databank structure. Thus, we recommend opening project files only from a local source. You can store your projects anywhere you like. It is only about opening.

If you would like us to run an extensive problem analysis, you are welcome to send us a ticket with your project file via this link:

Of course we handle customer data confidentially.

Best regards,

MAXQDA support team
Posts: 74
Joined: 19.07.2019, 09:48

Re: Project file size changes randomly?

05.11.2020, 11:50

Dear team,

thank you very much for your immediate reply!

I switched off the automated backups, because I didn't want to create so many files. I manually save a copy before big changes or adding/removing data. DO I need to activate the automated Backups in order to make Maxqda remove those files? How does it make sense to do that?
I work with a cooperator and they do use automated backups and also their Maxqda (on Mac, I use Windows) asks them if they want to create a backup file every now and then (it doesn't ask me that). The most curios part is that it seems like the file is bigger when they save it. When I save it it is rather small... coming to part 2:

Yes, we store a master file on a cloud storage but copy it to our individual hardware before we work. Process: Copy the master file to my hardware.// Change name to 'Transcript 1'. // delete all documents in the project file except Transcript 1 // work on transcript 1, // copy current master file to my hard drive // delete transcript 1 from master file // merge master project file and project 'Transcript1'. // Rename master file to current date and time // copy master file to cloud storage.

I assumed this was the best way to do it? Are we causing issues like that?

Thank you VERY much!

Posts: 4
Joined: 06.07.2020, 15:14

Re: Project file size changes randomly?

11.11.2020, 14:04

Hi Ini,

Thank you for your reply and for the additional information!

Of course, we always recommend to use the automatic backups in MAXQDA to avoid data loss and always having older versions of your project files at hand. But you don't need this function to remove the temporary data. You can also do so by creating a copy of your project file via "Home - Save project as" or by creating a new database structure for your file. You can do so with the following steps:

1) Create a new project file and save it on your local hard drive (e.g. your desktop)
2) Go to the "Home"-tab, and select "Merge projects" (all the way to the right)
3) Select your existing project file and merge them

This will reinitialize the database structure of your project file and remove the temporary data.

Regarding your workflow: it shouldn't cause any issues but there might be a more convenient way you can consider for transferring coded segments etc. from one project file to another:
1) Copy the project file from the cloud to your local hard drive
2) Work on the transcript
3) Right-click on the transcript in the Document system and choose "Teamwork - Teamwork Export"
4) Copy the master file to your desktop
5) Right-click on the transcripts name in the master file and choose "Teamwork - Teamwork Import" to import the .mex file you have created in step 3.

If you are also editing the text of the transcript, the workflow you have described is indeed the right approach. But you can also activate the transcript you want to edit in the master file that you have copied to your desktop and choose "Project from activated documents" in the "Home" tab. This way you don't have to delete the unnecessary documents.

Please make sure that your desktop is not snychronized with a cloud service in the background.

You can read more about Teamwork in MAXQDA here in our online manual:

And we would also like to recommend our very helpful video tutorial about Teamwork and Datamanagement:

I hope this helps!

Kind regards in behalf of MAXQDA,
MAXQDA support team
Posts: 50
Joined: 27.11.2019, 11:44

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