ATLAS.ti is a computer program that can be very useful for research. It is mostly used to analyze qualitative research data, for example to analyze written interviews or for literature research 

Current news about the license renewal and version 23.

Download the ATLAS.ti FAQ with the invite key (p. 3).

Explanation of installation of ATLAS.ti on private computers. 

General information

What is ATLAS.ti and what can you do with it?

ATLAS.ti is a computer program that can be very useful for students and staff conducting research. It is mostly used to assist the analysis of qualitative research data, for example an analysis of interviews or literature. SPSS is a widely used program to assist quantitative research while ATLAS.ti supports qualitative research.

ATLAS.ti is software supporting the analysis of qualitative data e.g.:

  • Literature research
  • Document analysis
  • Analysis of (transcripts of) interviews

Research steps

Functions within ATLAS.ti

structuring documents (research data)

group manager

reading, analysing, tagging

coding; code manager

writing comments and research notes

comments; memos

creating various overviews


Who uses ATLAS.ti and for what purpose?

The number of users is increasing every year. ATLAS.ti is being used:

  • by researchers and graduate students in the research group teams
  • by lecturers teaching on subjects involving qualitative research, research methodology, interview analysis, or during graduation preparation
  • by students in various courses and during research for their theses
What licences does the University of Applied Sciences have?

The Hague University of Applied Sciences has a campus licence for ATLAS.ti. The licence allows all students and staff to use the complete version of ATLAS.ti on fixed THUAS computers, laptops, in PC rooms as well as on computers at home. Personal licences do not need to be purchased.

Which versions are available?

The desktop versions of ATLAS.ti for Windows and Mac have equal functionality. There is also a simplified Web version and there are tablet versions for the iPad and Android. See this comparison between the desktop and Web versions. The THUAS campus license allows for unlimited use of all available versions. Updates are available frequently.

The current version is ATLAS.ti 23. All THUAS desktop and laptop computers version 22 installed.

Starting the program: Windows start menu -> ATLAS.ti

 ATLAS.ti is 64-bit software and requires a minimum of 4 GB internal memory, which means that it cannot be installed on older 32-bit computers. (Windows see: Settings -> System -> About: Device specifications).

Attention: projects can be transferred from an older version of ATLAS.ti to a newer version, but the other way around is not possible! There is only backward compatibility. So projects created in version 23 cannot be used in version 2.

How do staff or students install ATLAS.ti?

All users of ATLAS.ti are required to create a personal account at where the valid licence code (invite key) must be entered. This applies to THUAS computers as well as private computers. Please note that you can use any email address and password to create an account. For this, choose a unique new password, not the same as for your THUAS login account.

University computers (desktops and laptops)
ATLAS.ti is standard software and installed on all desktop computers at THUAS. The licence is renewed annually at the beginning of April. Staff members do not need to do anything and can continue to use the program, even if a warning appears towards the end of the licence period that the licence will expire. Note: with these IT managed computers, the automatic update function is disabled, unlike software that you install yourself. If ATLAS.ti is not yet on your THUAS laptop, you can install it yourself; see the ATLAS.ti FAQ at the top of this page.

Private computers
Staff members and students can download ATLAS.ti for Windows or Mac. See this explanation. The required invite key is on page 3 of the ATLAS.ti FAQ (see at the top of this webpage).

Using ATLAS.ti on laptops and computers that are not managed by the THUAS is at the risk of the user. The university offers no technical support. For the technical requirements, see:

Safe use of ATLAS.ti
  • Do not process privacy-sensitive data on private computers and ensure appropriate security measures.
  • Use THUAS computers, where the hard disk is protected with BitLocker.
  • First anonymise research data before analysing it with ATLAS.ti.
  • Use for the account a unique new password, not the same as for your THUAS login account.
  • Projects can possibly be password-protected (but if you lose the password, you also lose access to the project!)
  • Make a backup after each longer work session by exporting the project (File → Export → Project bundle). The backup file with the so-called project bundle has the extension: .atlproj22 or .atlproj23
  • Save the file externally e.g. OneDrive; researchers can also use Research Drive.
  • You can import project bundles (home screen ATLAS.ti → Import Project) and thus work on other computers as well.
  • Also check that the default storage locations are set correctly.


Working with ATLAS.ti

How do you create a new project?

Open: Windows Start menu - ATLAS.ti

1. Create a new project
Starting screen or File - New: Create New Project
Give a project name e.g. the title and date of the research conducted

2. Import the documents
Tab Home – Add documents
Small triangle: Add files or Add folder contents
Select the files and click open

3. Create Document groups
Tab Home – Documents – Small triangle: Document Groups
New Group; give a name and click on Create

For example:
- Scientific articles
- Newspaper articles
- Interviews

Select the files at the right hand side and click on the left arrow in the Document Group Manager

4. Saving the project without research data
File – Save (hidden file)

5. Saving the entire project including research data
File - Export - Project Bundle (file extentension:  .atlproj)

We recommend saving a Project bundle regularly as backup!
See the online product tutorial for projects exchange and mixed Windows / Mac teams

How do you code research data

1. Coding document fragments
Select a fragment of the document (= quotation). You can add one or more codes using the icons or the right mouse button:

Apply Codes: use codes on quotation; shortcut Ctrl + J
• Code in Vivo: use quotation text as code name; shortcut Shift + Ctrl + V
• Quick Coding: use the last applied code; shortcut Ctrl + L
• Create Free Quotation: create quotation without codes
• Create Link Source / Target: hyperlink between quotations
• Copy: copy quotation text

2. Drag and drop
• When coding from an existing code list, you can drag and drop codes to the quotations.
• You can do this from the Project Explorer or (preferably) from the Code manager

• At the right margin of a document you can see the quotations and codes applied. You can add a Comment (displayed as a small yellow marking) to them using the right mouse button.
• Comments can be added to documents or the entire project as well.

4. The codes appear in the Code Manager (Tab Home – Codes)

How do you analyse research data?

1. You can access the fragments by code in the Code Manager
• Go to the Code Manager (Tab Home – Codes) and doubleclick on a code

2. How often do codes occur?
• Go to the Code Manager: check the number at “groundedness” next to the code name

3. Compiling reports, output
• Create a report of all the marked quotations
• Tab Home – Quotations – Report – All items – Grouping: none

• Create a report of all quotations sorted by document order
• Tab Home – Quotations – Report – All items – Grouping: documents

• Create a report of all quotation by code
• Tab Home – Quotations – Report – All items – Grouping: codes

4. How often do themes occur?
• Tab Analyze – Code Document Table
• Select Codes or Code groups and Documents or Document groups
• You can export to Excel

5. WordCloud and Word List
• Open a document and click on Word Frequencies in the Document tab
• To omit non-relevant words: click on a stop word list next to Exclude.
• Add stop word list: click on the icon "Edit Stop and Go Lists" next to Exclude.
• Click on Import Lists, select the Excel file with the desired language and click Open: Dutch English French German Spanish



Where can I find the user manual and other support materials?

Introduction ATLAS.ti - THUAS library presentation with audio

ATLAS.ti example projects a.o. Children and Happiness
Example documents Sea Turtles: newspaperWWFarticle1article2article3video
Example transcripts from Dutch master thesisAnnabelleLisaMaaikePetraRoos
Example Dutch project Pedagogy: zipfile

Where can I go for questions and problems?

Users can contact the THUAS Library, functional administrators Niloufar Soekhai and Francesco Izzo with questions about the content and problems in using ATLAS.ti. Helpdesk ground floor library / / tel: (070) 445 7888. In case of technical problems, please contact the FrontOffice FZ&IT, Counter Oval 1. iFrontOffice on intranet / tel: (070) 445 7777.

Presentations and workshops

The library also offers support by giving presentations and workshops about ATLAS.ti. Target groups are students who come into contact with qualitative research in the run-up to and during their graduation research; teachers/researchers; assessors and PhD students. The ATLAS.ti introduction presentation with audio comments can be downloaded.