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Quick Tip – Exporting Tobii Studio Projects July 30, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Studio, Tips And Tricks, Tobii, Updates, Usability & UX.

A really quick fix for an issue that you may have experienced – or hopefully we can help you avoid!

When you export a Tobii Studio project it creates a NAS file, and these can be pretty big – as they contain eye track data, user camera video and audio, gaze data, AOI data and so on and so on as well as all your stimuli – which could be video, pdf or JPEG… the biggest file I have seen recently was about 30GB!

One of Tobii Studio’s slight little quirks is that it doesn’t tell you how big your file will be, nor does it have a ‘% Completed’ counter so you can attempt the world record for coffee making as you wait for the COMPLETED message to appear… however sometimes you get the ERROR – THE DESTINATION DRIVE DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH FREE SPACE. Cue a few ‘choice’ words and you check your drive again only to find there is 500GB of free space and your Tobii project is about 6GB, at this point most people retry to export thinking it just a temporary thing – only to get the same error again. So what is going wrong!

This is pretty simple to fix – this is all down to Windows and the way it has probably formatted your USB drive or External HDD.

Windows XP and Vista as a default will format in FAT32 file format – which is great to use as it can be read by PC or Mac and it indexes quickly and so on…. but it has a flaw for what we are trying to do with Studio! It will allow only files of up to 4GB – so it is not your disk that is running out of space but the file format itself, it cannot create a bigger file…

Fortunately there is a quick fix! You will need to format your HDD or USB device in NTFS format which has a HUGE upper limit for file size that you shouldn’t (we hope!) be able to hit from Studio… Remember though that as you format the drive it will overwrite any data, also Mac’s cannot read NTFS so you wont be able to access the data on that drive (or partition of that drive if you are being a little clever!) from a Mac. We recommend getting a 16GB USB drive exclusively for copying over your data to another analysis machine or similar – they are readily available for £20 or less and you can use this to transfer your data.


If you look at the screenshot above it shows how to reformat a whole drive (if you are not comfortable with this procedure get someone who is – you don’t want to wipe anything irreplacable), you choose the device to format, right click and select format and then when the new dialogue box opens you change the FILE SYSTEM type to NTFS. Select QUICK FORMAT and give your disk a name and you are done!

When you import the project to another copy of Tobii Studio it will then return to its normal file format and everything should be good!


1. Guy Redwood - July 30, 2009

There’s free software for osx that will read ntfs. It works so well I’d forgotten about having it installed until I read Jon’s post.


2. Jon Ward - July 30, 2009

Thanks Guy – good feedback there, and I love the fact it ‘works so well you forgot it was installed’. Any more tips you guys at Simple Usability may have we will be happy to share….

3. Samuel - July 31, 2009

I was recently working on a study using video games. 41 participants with 10 minutes of data each. Final nas file: 147 GB!! Of course I broke it into 5 pieces, but the compiled final file was that big!!
Thankfully, I set up the database to a more “convenient” place 🙂

4. Jon Ward - July 31, 2009

Samuel, that is a huge file indeed! Can you give me an idea of the testing you were doing? Was it HD footage captured as a screen recording – as of course this would be the reason behind the large export! And hat version of Studio were / are you using? With 1.5 the new file structure is more efficient and should make life a little easier.

And if you have any examples of your ork please send them over and we will be happy to blog about them.

Thanks for your comments and hope you enjoy the tips.

5. Guy Redwood - July 31, 2009

We’ve also started to use eSata cradles for backup / transfer due to the low cost of hard drives. Works out cheaper than blu-ray.

The cradles like this one are cheap,

and the new eco harddrives from samsung are very quiet.

6. Jon Ward - July 31, 2009

Cheers Guy, very useful.

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