Supported Data Types

The following table provides an overview of what data types you can import into MAXQDA:

DataFormatExamples and Notes
Texts, transcripts,
Transcripts with time stamps and associated media files,
Focus group transcripts.
Word (DOC/X)
OpenOffice (ODT)
Rich Text (RTF)
Text (TXT)
Interview transcripts, field notes, observation logs.
Time stamps allow the synchronization of transcript and sound.
Speakers in group discussions are automatically coded
DocumentsPDFAcademic journals, literature, news articles
TablesExcel (XLS/X)Spreadsheet with survey result
ImagesPNG, TIF, JPG, GIF, SVG, BMPPhoto diaries, advertisement images
Audio filesMP3, WAV etc.Recorded interviews (these can be transcribed and synchronized with the transcript)
Video filesMP4, AVI, MPG, MOV etc.Recordings of group interactions, YouTube videos
Data can be transcribed and synchronized with the transcript.
Video and audio can be coded directly.
Surveys, questionnairesExcel (XLX/S)
Direct import from SurveyMonkey
Exported data matrices from the open-source software LimeSurvey
Pre-structured texts and tablesSame as for texts and tablesExports from the online data collection tool can be coded automatically during the import
WebsitesDownloads from the MAXQDA Web Collector (free extension for Chrome browser)Company presentations, news articles
TweetsDirect import of TweetsSocial media analysis of trending topics
YouTube commentsDirect import from YouTubeSocial media analysis of trending topics
Video file subtitlesSRTFilm analysis
Bibliographic DataRIS, TXTFor literature reviews


Important: In Windows, DOC/X and ODT documents can only be imported in MAXQDA if Microsoft Office (2003 or later) is installed on your computer. Otherwise, the documents can be saved in RTF format and then be imported into MAXQDA.

All text and table documents imported into MAXQDA can be edited in the “Document Browser.” This means you have the option of fixing typos, deleting or adding text, etc. This is also possible once you have done some coding and/or creation of memos. This means you don’t have to have a completed document to start your coding. PDFs, images, and audio/video files cannot be edited in MAXQDA.

You can also create new texts or spreadsheets in an opened project at any time, into which you can paste content from the clipboard.

Analyzing texts in any language (Unicode supported)

The fact that MAXQDA supports Unicode makes it possible not only to import and analyze documents in any script, from Japanese to Cyrillic to Arabic, but also to create codes and variables in these languages. The support for Unicode text is available in every MAXQDA function.

Unicode is an international standard with the goal of standardizing all known languages and characters. This makes it possible to work with various languages in the same document. One sentence can be in English, the next in Mandarin, and the next in Arabic. This is possible because Unicode (unlike older computer character systems like ASCII or ISO Latin) can deal with more than 128 or 256 different characters. In MAXQDA, even codes and variable names can be created with “foreign” characters, and searches and in-vivo coding are possible with any language.