Using Backups

The following only applies to Citavi for Windows. If you are using Citavi for DBServer please see the chapter Setting up Database Backups.

Citavi automatically creates backups when you close a project. The backups are saved in the following folder: Documents\Citavi 5\Backup. The file will have the extension ctv5bak and is saved in a compressed XML format.

Backups contain only the Citavi project file. Attached PDF files or cover images in the Citavi Attachments folder or custom citation styles are not included in Backups. For this reason we recommend regularly saving your most important files or the entire folder Documents\Citavi 5 on an external drive. Windows offers a nice feature for backups under Control Panel > System and Security > File History.


If you create publications using the Citavi Word Add-In you can also find Backups for your word files in the Citavi Backup folder.

Changing the Folder for Backups

You may want to save the Backup folder on a network share if this is automatically backed up by your organization on a regular basis.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Switch to the Folders tab.
  3. Under Backups, click Browse.
  4. Choose a new folder.


If you work with DropBox, OneDrive, or another synchronization program, you can save your backups in synchronization folder. However, you should not directly open and edit a Citavi project in a DropBox or OneDrive folder. The synchronization process can interfere with Citavi's saving routine and cause data corruption. To learn more visit

Increasing the Number of Backups

As a default, Citavi saves seven backups. If an eighth backup is created, Citavi automatically deletes the oldest of the backups. You can increase the number of backups.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Switch to the Folders tab.
  3. Under Backups increase the Number of versions, for example to 20.

Creating a Backup Manually

If you're working on a project for a long time without closing Citavi, you may want to create a backup copy manually.

  1. On the File menu, click Create backup.
  2. Citavi creates a backup in the folder that you set as the folder for backup copies.

Restoring a Project from a Backup

  1. Switch to the folder where your backups are saved. By default this folder is Documents\Citavi 5\Backup.
  2. Switch to the folder that has the same name as the project.
  3. Double-click the backup file. Usually you'll want to use the most recent file.
  4. The project is opened and the project color is changed to gray. The file name appears with the word RECOVERED. You can continue to work on the project or copy references from this project into another project (see "Export to another Citavi Project".