The Copy Bundle: An Important Tool for Safety and File Transfer

February 25, 2014

Author: Ricardo B. Contreras

The Copy Bundle is a very special tool in ATLAS.ti.  It has two functions: to serve as a back-up procedure and to allow for the migration of projects between computers. The tool creates a file, with the extension atlcb  which contains the highly compressed versions of the data sources as well as all of the work in the project.  In other words, the copy bundle contains the hermeneutic unit (HU).

It is recommended that the copy bundle file is stored in a drive different from the one in which ATLAS.ti is installed and different from the one in which the HU is saved.  Thus, you can store the copy bundle file in an external drive, such as a flash drive, in the institutional server or in a cloud storage system such as Dropbox.  You may want to keep a collection of copy bundle files, each one with a unique date as part of the name.  Or, you may prefer to keep only one copy bundle file, the latest one.  The benefit of keeping a collection of them, each one representing a different point in time, is that you can always open the copy bundle from a past date to see how your analysis was going at the time.  However, if you decide to keep a collection of copy bundle files, be careful because there is always the risk of opening a file from a few months ago when in fact you wanted to open the latest one.

Creating the Copy Bundle File

To create the copy bundle of a HU, first save the project, then go to Project/Save Copy Bundle.  Then, select the primary documents you want to include in the copy bundle file, and once that is done, click on Create Bundle.  Following, you will be prompted to select the drive where you want to save the file.  Click Save.  The figures below show the process.

Save CB

Figure 1. The menu to create a copy bundle file of the HU

Create bundle

Figure 2. Selecting the primary documents to include in the bundle

Copy Bundle-Select location

Figure 3. Selecting the location where the copy bundle file will be saved

Unpacking the Copy Bundle File

To unpack the copy bundle file, go to Project/Unpack Copy Bundle.  Then, select the files you want to include in the bundle. If you want all documents to be included (the right thing to do for backing up purposes), then keep them all selected. Then, click on Open.  Following, select the location where you want the bundle to be upacked; in other words, where you want the project to be installed.  On that window, you will see a number of buttons of different color, which have different meanings.  For a full explanation of the meanings of this terminology, please read pages 133-134 of the chapter from the full manual Project Backup and Transfer.

Upack CB

Figure 4. The Unpack Copy Bundle menu

Open CB

Figure 5. Selecting the copy bundle file to upack

Upack CB-Select location

Figure 6. Selecting the location where the bundled file will be unpacked


Full manual chapter “Project Backup and Transfer”.  Pages 133-134.  Download it from here.

Video tutorial showing the procedure. Watch here.

About the Author

Ricardo B. Contreras, PhD

Ricardo B. Contreras, PhD, is an applied cultural anthropologist with a research agenda situated at the intersection of migration, health and community.  His undergraduate degree is from the Universidad de Chile and his graduate degrees from the University of South Florida.  He is the president of Ethnographica Sociocultural Research and has been an instructor of ATLAS.ti since 2005.  He resides in Corvallis, Oregon.

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