Qualitative research data analysis with ATLAS.ti

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

Download the ATLAS.ti FAQ (pdf).

General information

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 (= family) manager

reading, analysing, tagging

coding; code manager

writing comments and research notes

comments; memos

creating various overviews


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
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.

The campus license allows for unlimited use of all available versions.
You can download and install the most recent versions of ATLAS.ti for Windows, Mac, iPad and Android on your personal computer or tablet from http://atlasti.com/product/
Updates are available frequently. The current version of ATLAS.ti Windows is 8.2

Currently, desktop pc’s at the university have Windows version 7.5 of ATLAS.ti installed.
From college year 2018 / 2019, it will be replaced by Windows version 8.2.
Support by functional management is primarily focused on version 8.

The user interface of version 8.2 is radically different from version 7.5 but the main functions remain unchanged. Version 8.2 is easier to use and offers many improvements, see also:

Some component have an different name in version 8:

Name in ATLAS.ti 7

Name in ATLAS.ti 8

HU (Hermeneutic unit)


Primary document (PD)



Smart code




Smart group

projects can be transferred from ATLAS.ti 7 to ATLAS.ti 8 but not the other way around!

To import your project into ATLAS.ti 8, in ATLAS.ti 7.5 select Project - Export - Transfer Bundle (for Mac & A8). In ATLAS.ti 8, select “Import Project” from the start screen. For even older versions of ATLAS.ti, you need to export via Project - Save Copy Bundle and import in version 8 with the option: Import Legacy Project.

To transfer your project to another computer with either ATLAS.ti 8 or ATLAS.ti Mac installed, simply export it via File - Export.


ATLAS.ti is not a standard program on computers at the university. It needs to be installed.

Fixed computers at THUAS
The staff member or student can request Frontoffice FZ&IT to install ATLAS.ti. Employees need to pass on the DTP number on the white sticker at the side of their computer. ATLAS.ti will be installed remotely.

Laptops managed by THUAS
The staff member or student can request Frontoffice FZ & IT to install ATLAS.ti. Employees need to pass on the laptop number which is on the white sticker underneath their laptop. The program is then installed remotely by the FZ&IT service department.

Personal computers (Windows and Mac)
The staff member or student can download a demo version of ATLAS.ti on http://atlasti.com/free-trial-version/. During installation, enter the license code to gain access to the complete version. An alternative is to use Help - Updates and License after installing. You can find the license code in the ATLAS.ti FAQ.

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: https://atlasti.com/product/technical-info/

  • Fixed University of Applied Sciences computers and laptops managed by the University of Applied Sciences

    The licences are renewed in April by the F&IT service department. Staff members do not need to do anything and can continue to use the programme.

  • Personal computers or laptops

    The F&IT service department receives a new licence code in March every year. The code will be given to any student or staff member that requests it. You can find the license code in the ATLAS.ti FAQ.

You can find the license code in the FAQ.

Manual ATLAS.ti 8.2

Open: Windows Start menu - Scientific Software - ATLAS.ti

1. Create a new project
Starting screen or File - New: Create New Project
Give a project name e.g.: "research July 1 2018”

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!

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:

Open coding: you can use free terms
Coding in vivo: the text selected becomes a code
List coding: pick the codes from a list made beforehand
Quick coding: use the previously applied code
Auto coding: automatically code the documents based on a query

2. For list coding, create new codes in advance
Tab Home – Codes – Free code(s)

For example:
"human impact"

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)

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
A. Create a report of all the marked quotations
Tab Home – Quotations – Report – All items – Grouping: none

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

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

D. 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


  • In ATLAS.ti itself: Tab Tools & Support – Useful Links
  • Online user manuals, how-to's and sample projects: http://atlasti.com/manuals-docs/
  • Video tutorials: http://atlasti.com/video-tutorials/
  • YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/ATLASti01
  • Friese, S. (2014). Qualitative data analysis with ATLAS.ti. Los Angeles: Sage.
    central location university library, shelf mark 527.9/FRIE
  • Woolf, N.H. & Silver, S. Qualitative Analysis Using ATLAS.ti: The Five-Level QDA™ Method. London: Routledge.
    central location university library, shelf mark 527.9/WOOL and as e-book


In ATLAS.ti version 7.5: menu Help; version 8.1: Tab Tools & Support – Useful Link

For questions about installation and licence codes for ATLAS.ti, staff members and students can go to the FrontOffice F&IT, Ovaal 1. desk, iFrontOffice on the intranet / tel: 7777.

For questions about the functions and operation of ATLAS.ti, staff members and students can go to the THUAS Library, functional managers Niloufar Soekhai and Francesco Izzo. Help desk Library on ground floor, bibliotheek@hhs.nl / tel: 7888.