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 (for staff / for students).

Securing safe storage of ATLAS.ti projects

THUAS desktop and laptop computers have been configured to store projects on the H: drive. This can cause problems with laptops if the Internet connection at home to the network environment is less stable. We recommend to change the storage location setting to the default setting: local storage (C: drive). Please see this instruction.

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 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 8.4

All desktop pc’s at the university have the current Windows version 8.4 installed.

Starting the program: Windows start menu - ATLAS.ti

projects can be transferred from a previous version to a later version of ATLAS.ti but not the other way around!

To import a version 7 project into version 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.


University computers
ATLAS.ti 8.4 is installed on all computers at THUAS. The licence renews every year on the background. 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.

Private computers
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 (for staff / for students). 

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/

Manual ATLAS.ti 8.4

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 "HowTo" for projects exchange and mixed Windows / Mac teams

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: add a new code
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
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
Open a document and click on WordCloud 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


  • In ATLAS.ti itself: Tab Tools & Support – Useful Links
  • Windows Start / Scientific Software / ATLAS.ti 8 Quicktour & What’s new in ATLAS.ti 8
  • 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. (2019). Qualitative data analysis with ATLAS.ti. Third edition. London: Sage.
    Central location university library, shelf mark 527.9/FRIE
    Accompanying website
  • ATLAS.ti video blog Susanne Friese
  • 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

Stop word lists: Dutch English French German Spanish
Example project Children and Happiness: stage1, stage2, survey
Example documents Sea Turtles: newspaper, WWF, article1, article2, article3, video
Example transcripts from Dutch master thesis: Annabelle, Lisa, Maaike, Petra, Roos

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.

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.