Frequency Tables and Charts for Variables

MAXQDA lets you create frequency tables and corresponding charts for document variables, code variables and focus group speaker variables. You can open this function from the ribbon menu:

  • Variables > Document Variable Statistics
  • Variables > Code Variable Statistics
  • Variables > Speaker Variable Statistics

After you click on one of the variable statistics options a split “Choice of Variables” window is displayed below: Existing variables are listed on the left side; already selected variables are moved to the right. The arrow buttons in the middle allow you to transfer variables from one window to the other. You can also do this by double-clicking on the variable name.

Selection of variables
Please note: The colored squares in front of the variable names symbolize the origin of each variable. System variables that are created and managed by MAXQDA are marked in red; variables created by you have a blue square; codes that have been transformed into variables are marked in green.

Both lists can be alphabetized by clicking on the column headers. By selecting Only activated documents you can limit the analysis to currently activated documents, for example the transcripts of selected interviewees. The corresponding options Only activated codes and Only for activated focus group speakers are also available for code variables and focus group speakers variables.

Tip: The statistics functions for variables can also be accessed directly with the  icon in the “List of Document Variables“, the “List of Code Variables“ and the “List of Focus Group Speaker Variables“. MAXQDA then begins the statistical analysis for the selected variables, taking all documents, codes, and speakers into account that are currently visible in the Data Editor.

When you click OK MAXQDA will begin the statistical evaluation and display the results as frequency tables and charts.

The results window displays the results of the first selection of variables in a table. The “Frequency” column shows how many of the analyzed documents contain the variable value in question.

Frequency Table
Tip: Click on the column headers of the first two columns in order to modify the order of the table rows. For example, you can sort the frequency of categories in ascending or descending order.

The first column lists the various categories of the variable; the second column lists the absolute frequency; and the third lists the corresponding percentages. The fourth column shows percentages based on valid values, meaning missing values are excluded. If there are no missing values among the variables in question, the percentages of the third and fourth columns will be identical.

You can customize the order of the rows within the table by clicking on the column header of the first and second columns. For example, you can sort the table in ascending or descending order by categorical frequency.

Toolbar functions

The results window has a toolbar at the top. From here you can:

  • Open the chart view by clicking the  button
  • Flip forwards  or backwards , between variables
  • Print results, or
  • Export results as an Excel file


When you switch to the chart view with the  button, a bar chart of the variables in question appears in the place of the table view.

Vertical bar chart of the document variable “Age”
Please note: The order of chart segments is determined by the order of the rows in the table and can be modified accordingly.

You will see two toolbars at the top of this window. The upper toolbar is the same as the frequency table, and you can switch at any time to the table view. On the right side of the lower toolbar, you will see three buttons, with which you can choose between pie chart, horizontal and vertical bar chart. The chart can be customized using the options in the lower toolbar:

Display labels – ow labels for each displayed category.

Display absolute values – show the absolute frequencies for each category.

Display percentages – show relative frequencies for each category.

Display decimals – If the percentage values are enabled, one decimal place will be output.

Display missing values – show missing values category.

Display legend – show the legend, which is switched “off” by default in bar charts.

Display scale – how the scale axis in bar charts.

Display title – show diagram title.

Display text – how textual description of diagram.

Change color scheme – opens window for color scheme selection.

Save current design as default – saves the design of the displayed chart and automatically applies this design to new diagrams.

Apply current style to all ceated diagrams – applies the style of the displayed chart to all currently created diagrams.

Customizing chart captions, colors, and font sizes

When creating charts, MAXQDA sets an initial color scheme. To customize your charts, double-click on the selected segment and choose your desired color. Click on the Change color scheme  button to select a color scheme.

Double-click on the title or description to customize content.

Formatting, such as font, font size and font style, can be changed via the dialog window that appears when you double-click on the title, description or another label.

Printing and export charts

In the toolbar in the upper right corner there are three icons that can be used to export and print the frequency tables and charts:

Copy – The whole window content is copied to the clipboard, so you can copy the results into a report or presentation without any detours, for example, by using Ctrl+V (Windows) or ⌘+V (macOS).

Print – Prints the whole window content.

Export – Exports frequency tables as Excel files or as web pages in HTML format. Exports charts as image files in PNG or SVG format or in EMF format (Windows only).

Tipp:If you export a frequency table in Excel format, all currently created tables will be exported to a file as one worksheet each.

Missing values in frequency tables and charts

MAXQDA will treat the following as missing variable values:

  • For numerical and text variables, values set as “Missing values” in the “List of Variables” will be treated as missing.
  • For text variables, blank fields will also be treated as missing.

Descriptive statistics

When evaluating numerical variables, the Descriptive statistics  symbol is appears in the top toolbar. Clicking on the icon produces an output of the usual parameters such as including mean value and variance.

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