Installing on a Mac

Right now, Citavi runs only on Windows. However, you have a few different options if you want to use Citavi on your Mac. There are three third-party solutions (Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, and Oracle VirtualBox) which let you run a real copy of Windows on your Mac. These so-called virtual machines run Windows at the same time as Mac OS X, so you don't have to reboot.

This step-by-step guide will help you set up Citavi, Parallels Desktop, and Microsoft Word for Mac so that they work together optimally.

What You Need

To run Citavi on a Mac using Parallels, you need the following:

Before you begin, you may find it interesting and useful to read the Parallels Desktop User's Guide. It covers the myriad features Parallels offers.

Step 1: Install Parallels

The installation will run automatically once you start the Setup. If you need help, see chapter 2 of the Parallels manual or the document Getting Started with Parallels Desktop.

Step 2: Install Windows

Depending on whether you have a Windows disc or .iso file, or whether you are migrating an existing PC, the process is a little different.

To install from a Windows disc or .iso file, follow the instructions in the following guide: How to install a Windows virtual machine on Mac using Parallels Desktop.

Important: At the Integration with Mac step of the Parallels Wizard, be sure to choose Like a Mac. This ensures maximum integration of both systems, and the rest of this visual guide assumes that you selected Like a Mac. Additionally, this option saves your Citavi data directly on the Mac, where Time Machine can back it up automatically. This is much, much safer for your data than storing it in the virtual Windows hard disk!

If you do not use the Express installation option, or if you migrate an existing PC, be sure to install Parallels Tools if it doesn't happen automatically.

Complete instructions for all the installation scenarios in Parallels can be found in chapter 3 of the Parallels manual.


We recommend that you install and use antivirus software in your Windows virtual machine. Free antivirus software is fine.

Step 3: Run Windows Update 

No matter how new your copy of Windows is, there are always updates for it, and to ensure maximum security of your system, you want to have the latest updates.

Right-click the Parallels menu in the menu bar to show the Windows Start menu. Begin typing Windows Update in the Search field and then click Windows Update to begin.

Run Windows Update repeatedly until no more updates are offered.

Step 4: Install Firefox and Adobe Reader (optional)

If you want to use the Pickers in Firefox and Adobe Reader, you will need to install the Windows versions of each of those programs. For each one:

4.1 Download the program from the respective website.

Adobe Reader: (If you have a full version of Adobe Acrobat use this instead of Adobe Reader).

It doesn't matter whether you download with your Mac or Windows browser.

4.2 Run the downloaded Setup. (Unless you chose another folder, it will be in your Mac's Downloads folder.) When you double-click the Setup in the Finder, it will open in Parallels.

Step 5: Install Citavi

5.1 Visit and download the latest version of Citavi. It doesn't matter whether you do this with your Mac or Windows browser.

5.2 Run the downloaded CitaviSetup.exe (Unless you chose another folder, it will be in your Mac's Downloads folder). When you double-click it in the Finder, it will open in Parallels.

5.3 If you have existing Citavi projects you want to migrate, copy the Citavi folder for user files (by default, that is the folder Citavi 5 inside Documents) to your Documents folder on the Mac.

Step 6: Unlock Citavi for Windows

To use Citavi for Windows, you simply need to enter your license key.

6.1 Start Citavi
Right-click the Parallels menu to open the Windows Start menu, then double-click the Citavi icon.

6.2 Enter Your License Key
On the welcome screen, click License and follow the instructions.

Step 7: Optimize Citavi

These steps will set up Citavi for optimal integration with the Mac.

7.1 Set Citavi to Cite Using the Clipboard

Since Citavi cannot communicate with Word for Mac directly, you have to paste Citavi placeholders into the text manually. To make this easier, you can set the Publication Assistant to copy the placeholder to the Clipboard just by double-clicking. Here's how:

  1. If Citavi isn't running, start it as described in step 6.1.
  2. Open any project. If you don't have any existing projects of your own, you can just open the sample project.
  3. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  4. On the General tab under Publication assistant select Word as the default word processor.
  5. In the Double-click reference list, click Copy.
  6. In the knowledge item list, click Copy.
  7. Click OK to finish.

7.2. Add Citavi to the Dock

You may have noticed that when Citavi is running, it appears in the Dock (with a small Parallels badge to show that it is a Windows program). You can keep the Citavi icon in the Dock, so that a single click will automatically open Parallels, start Windows, and start Citavi.

  1. Right-click the Citavi icon in the Dock. Point to Options and then click Keep in Dock.
  2. Close the project.

7.3. Set Word for Mac as the Default Program for RTF Files

Using Citavi and Word for Mac together relies on saving documents as RTF. (Don't worry, this won't alter your documents.) By telling both Windows and Mac OS X that you want Word for Mac to be the default program for RTF files, formatting your documents will be just as seamless as on Windows.

7.3.1. Configuring RTF on Mac OS X

  1. Create an RTF file on the Desktop. Use Word to create a simple document (a single letter is enough). On the File menu, click Save as, then choose Rich Text Format (.rtf) as the file format when saving. Save it to the Desktop, then quit Word.
  2. Either right-click the RTF file and click Get Info or click the RTF file to highlight it, then press Command-I.
  3. Under Open with, click Microsoft Word.
  4. Click Change all.
  5. Double-click the RTF file to verify that it opens in Word for Mac and not in TextEdit.
  6. Quit Word.

7.3.2 Configuring RTF in Windows (Parallels)

  1. Click the Parallels menu and click Exit Coherence to show the Windows desktop in a window.
  2. On the Windows desktop, you should see the same RTF file you created in 7.3.1. Right-click the RTF file, click Open with > Choose default program.
  3. Click Microsoft Word (Mac) and make sure the Always use the selected program to open this kind of file checkbox is selected.


If Microsoft Word (Mac) does not appear, click Cancel, then on the Virtual Machine menu, click Configure, then switch to the Options tab and click Applications in the left column. Clear the Share Mac applications with Windows checkbox, wait at least a full two minutes, then select the checkbox again. Wait another two minutes, then continue with step 2 again.

  1. Click OK. The file should open in Word for Mac and not in WordPad.
  2. On the View menu, click Enter Coherence to hide the Windows desktop again.

Step 8: Use Citavi to Write with Word

8.1. Starting Citavi

You can start Citavi any of the following ways:

• Click Citavi in the Dock, if you added it in step 7.2.

• Click the Windows Applications folder in the Dock and click Citavi:

• Press Command-Space bar to open Spotlight and then type "Citavi".

• Start Parallels, right-click the Parallels menu in the menu bar, and start Citavi from the Start menu.

• Double-click a Citavi project file (which you can recognize by the file ending .ctv5).

8.2. Using Word for Mac

Use Microsoft Word for Mac to write your paper. When creating new documents, go ahead and save them to RTF format (Rich Text Format) from the beginning. Then you won't have to worry about converting later.

8.3. Using Citavi

Citavi running in Parallels works just like Citavi on a Windows PC. Use all of Citavi's features as you normally would. The only exception is the Pickers. These only work within the Windows environment, so if you want to use the Pickers, you must use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or Adobe Reader for Windows, even if you have the Mac versions installed. Refer to step 4 above.

8.4. Inserting Citavi Citations and Knowledge Items into Word

While writing, when you need to insert a citation or a knowledge item, switch to Citavi, then on the Citation menu, click Publication Assistant (or press F7 to open the Publication Assistant). Find the reference or knowledge item you want to insert, then double-click it to copy it to the Clipboard. Switch to Word, place the insertion point where you want to insert, and paste the Clipboard contents into the Word document.

8.5 Formatting the Document

If you haven't done so already, save the document in RTF format. Then in Citavi, on the Citation menu, click Format publication, select the unformatted document in RTF format and proceed with formatting. When Citavi asks if you want to open the document in your word processor, click Yes. The formatted document should open in Word for Mac.

Step 9: Shut Down Windows

9.1 When you're done using Citavi, the very best thing is to fully shut down Windows. To do so, right-click the Parallels menu to open the Windows Start menu, then shut down as you would normally. Do not quit Parallels until Windows has finished shutting down!

9.2 If you are in a hurry, instead of shutting down Windows, you can suspend it. To suspend, just click the Parallels menu and click Quit Parallels. Parallels will quickly save Windows' state. When you start Parallels again, it will resume Windows as it was. There is, however, a slightly higher risk of data loss with this method.


Do notforce quit Parallels, and do not use the Stop command in Parallels unless the Windows virtual machine has crashed. Both of these can lead to data loss, the same way that unplugging a desktop PC while it is running can lead to data loss. Always shut down or suspend Windows as described above.