MAXQDA FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

  • Emoticode: Updating old emoticodes to new Unicode Emojis (version 2022)

    The emoticode function in MAXQDA has been updated with release 2022. From now on you can access the full Unicode Emoji library of your operating system with more than 3000 symbols in MAXQDA. This means that you can use the same symbols you know and love from sending messages on your smartphone to code your data in MAXQDA.

    Emoticode conversion in MAXQDA 2022

    The first time you open an older MAXQDA project that contains emoticodes with MAXQDA 2022, the old emoticode symbols are transformed to Unicode Emoji symbols.

    • Emoticode symbols that exist in the Unicode library are automatically converted
    • Emoticode symbols that do not exist in the Unicode library are converted to a regular code with names beginning with "emoticode".
    • You can then create a new emoticode code with a new symbol and move your coded segments to the new emoticode.
    • MAXQDA automatically creates a backup of the project in its original state in the folder for automatic backups
    • If several researchers in a team collaborate on the same project, all team members must update their MAXQDA versions to 2022.
    Emoticode conversion in older MAXQDA versions

    Older program versions of MAXQDA do not support Unicode Emoji symbols in the emoticode functionality. If you open a project from MAXQDA 2022 in an older program version, the following happens:

    • All emoticodes are automatically converted to regular codes.
    • The code names start with "Emoticode" followed by their symbol's name.
  • Import of Twitter data: Notes on importing tweets

    To import twitter data, go to "Import > Twitter Data". You can search for tweets on Twitter according to specific hashtags, usernames or terms, and then import them into a MAXQDA project. The function’s special feature is that it can code your Twitter data automatically with up to 100 author names and up to 100 hashtags during import (and, if necessary, later). This automatic preparation can save a lot of time, which researchers can then use for their actual analysis.

    Please note:

    • Imports are limited to 10,000 tweets.
    • The Twitter-API does not allow imports of tweets older than 1 week.
    • To use this function, you need your own Twitter account. MAXQDA uses the connection to Twitter only for importing tweets. When you close MAXQDA, the connection will be cancelled, meaning you must reconnect to Twitter each time you restart MAXQDA.

    You can find detailed descriptons about importing Twitter data in MAXQDA in the "Twitter Data" chapter of the online manual.

  • Survey Data: Missing or duplicated variables during import

    If individual variables are not correctly identified during the import of survey data from an Excel spreadsheet, one of the following problems may be the cause:

    • Variable names in MAXQDA are up to 63 characters long. If the Excel spreadsheet contains variable names that are longer, only the first 63 characters will be imported. Please ensure that the variable names differ in the first 63 characters, so that MAXQDA will be able to assign the values correctly.
    • Please check whether your Excel table contains unnecessary spaces at the end of variable names and delete them.

    You can find detailed descriptions about importing survey data from Excel spreadsheets in MAXQDA in the "Survey Data from Excel" chapter of the online manual.

  • Using MAXQDA on ARM Macs

    It is currently possible to use MAXQDA on a new ARM Mac with the help of Apple’s real-time-translator Rosetta 2. We are planning to transition MAXQDA to a Universal binary 2 application with native support for both Intel-based and Apple silicon–based Mac systems in summer 2022 as we are dependent on third-party development tools.

    Users looking for maximum compatibility and stability are advised to wait until MAXQDA offers native support for ARM.

  • Does MAXQDA work with any language?

    Analyzing texts in different languages with MAXQDA

    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. This Unicode functionality 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 more common 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 can be conducted in any language.

    Using the MAXQDA interface in different languages

    We aim to offer you an excellent multilingual QDA software in your language, so you can concentrate on your research, not on translation. So far the MAXQDA user interface has been translated into more than 10 languages (English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Polish).

  • Can MAXQDA be used in teams?

    Yes. We know that research is often done in teams and MAXQDA provides many functions for this purpose.

    Teamwork features in MAXQDA for manual data exchange

    Teamwork features are available to all MAXQDA users and included in your MAXQDA installation. With the Teamwork features, you can transfer elements from one MAXQDA project to another by exporting and importing codes, memos, variables etc. Another teamwork feature is to merge two MAXQDA projects with each other. All of these tasks have to be done manually, and you need to share files with your team via email or other forms of communication outside of MAXQDA.
    Learn more about Teamwork features in MAXQDA

    MAXQDA TeamCloud module for online collaboration

    The MAXQDA TeamCloud is an additional module that can be purchased together with a subscription license of MAXQDA 2022. The TeamCloud provides you with a protected cloud space through which you can share your projects with your team from within MAXQDA. Team members need to create a TeamCloud account and connect it to their MAXQDA installation. MAXQDA handles the team communications and sends automatic notifications for new or completed tasks.
    Learn more about MAXQDA TeamCloud

    Teamwork with Windows & Mac

    MAXQDA is completely identical on Windows and MAC. Both versions share the same project file format which enables teams to work together seamlessly even when using different operating systems.

  • How do I cite MAXQDA?

    For a detailed description and examples please visit the following MAXQDA Blog entry: How to cite MAXQDA

  • Mac: Manual Update from MAXQDA 2022.2.0 to MAXQDA 2022.2.1 required

    If you are using MAXQDA 2022.2.0 on a Mac, please update to version 2022.2.1 manually, as follows:

    1. Download the update:
    2. During installation, select the option replace the existing "" file.
  • SPSS Files (.sav) in MAXQDA 20.0.7 - 20.3.0 (Mac only)

    Due to a technical issue it is not possible to import, create or export files in the SPSS file format (.sav) on a Mac computer running MAXQDA Release 20.0.7 to 20.3.0. The issue was caused by a third-party-component that was currently not notarized by Apple. As the third-party-component is now updated and notarized by Apple, it is available in MAXQDA 20.4.0 again.

    This issue applies to these functions:

    • Variables > Import Document Variables
    • Variables > Export Document Variables
    • Stats > Open/Start with External File
    • Stats > Open/Start with New External File
    • Stats > File > Save as..."


    Please update your MAXQDA installation to the most current version. To do so, please click on the "?"-symbol in the top right corner and select "Search for updates".

    When using a Release between 20.0.7 and 20.3.0, please import and export the files in Excel format (.xlsx, .xls) instead

  • Error message "MAXQDA has detected a project database inconsistency"

    An interruption of the connection between MAXQDA and the storage location of the project file can lead to inconsistencies of the database structure of project files. You can find more information about this in our FAQ about saving and opening project files

    From Version 2020.1, MAXQDA checks project files for database inconsistencies each time a project file is being opened. If a database inconsistency is detected, you can automatically rebuild the database structure of the project file.

    MAXQDA saves a backup copy of the project file to the automatic backup folder before it is being rebuilt. After successfully rebuilding your project database, MAXQDA opens the project file with the rebuilt database structure and you can continue working.

    We strongly recommend rebuilding the database structure or use the latest backup copy of the file as working with inconsistent databases can lead to issues with the project file.

  • Error message: “This license is NOT a portable license and can not be used on a USB stick.”

    If this message appears during the activation of a student/single user license, please make sure the MAXQDA application is installed in the program folder and not on an external hard drive or USB memory drive.

    Additional info for Mac users: If the error still occurs, please make sure you are starting MAXQDA from inside your application folder rather than from the MAXQDA Disk-Image-File on the desktop. If this is the case, please close MAXQDA and eject the MAXQDA-Installer “MAXQDA” (the white hard drive symbol with the MAXQDA icon on your desktop) by dragging it to the trash/eject icon. Now open your applications folder in your Finder and click on the MAXQDA icon to start the program and activate your license.

  • Error message: "MAXQDA is damaged. Move it to trash."

    If this message appears during the installation process of MAXQDA on a Mac, please allow Gatekeeper to accept applications downloaded from “Anywhere”.

    Open System Preferences > Security & Privacy

    Under the heading Allow apps downloaded from: select "Anywhere". (If you are logged in as a regular user (not an admin) you need to click the lock icon in the lower left corner and enter the administrator password to make this selection available.)

    Start the installation process again. After the successful installation of MAXQDA you can set your security options back to their original setting.


    Important note when using OS Sierra (or higher): Apple's new operating system doesn't offer the option "Anywhere". When installing a portable MAXQDA license on a flash drive please follow these steps:

    1. Open the downloaded dmg file. The following window appears:

    2. Drag the app with the MAXQDA icon onto your Desktop.

    3. Eject the dmg file.

    4. Start MAXQDA from the Desktop and confirm that you want to open the downloaded file. Also confirm the Terms & Conditions and a MAXQDA error message. The program will automatically close afterwards.

    5. After you have done that you may now drag the app with the MAXQDA icon onto your flash drive and use MAXQDA from there.

  • I cannot see my codes anymore.

    You may have deselected specific coding stripes. Click on the gear icon or right-click the grey area where the coding stripes normally appear to open a window in which you can select which codings you would like displayed there. If you want to display all of them, make sure, all the boxes are checked.In the preferences of the Document Browser window you can choose whether your coding stripes filters should persist when starting MAXQDA or whether you want to reset your coding stripes filters when starting MAXQDA.

  • Error message "This is not a valid serial number for MAXQDA"

    Please check if the installed version of MAXQDA matches your license version. For example, you need to enter a MAXQDA 2022 license to unlock an MAXQDA 2022 installation. If the license is for MAXQDA 2020, the license cannot be used to unlock an installation of MAXQDA 2022.

    Please also check your serial number for typing errors.

    If you still receive this message, please contact the MAXQDA support.

  • Error message "A problem with the hardware ID of the USB flash drive occured"
    MAXQDA cannot read the hardware ID of the USB flash drive.

    Solution 1: Please start the disk utility and format (“delete”) your USB flash drive with the exFAT format.

    Attention: Formatting your USB flash drive will automatically delete everything on it. Please save your data on another storage medium before formatting the stick. Afterwards, please activate your license with the same serial number (again). If the activation is not successful please contact our Support Team.

    Solution 2: If the problem still exists please try to use another USB flash drive. We recommend using USB 3.0 Hardware.

  • Using MAXQDA 2018 & MAXQDA 12 on macOS Catalina

    MAXQDA supports macOS version (Catalina, 10.15) starting with "MAXQDA 2018.2.2".

    If you are planning to update your Mac computer to Catalina, please first update MAXQDA by choosing "Help > Search for Update".

    If you have already installed macOS Catalina, MAXQDA may not be able to start. In this case please update MAXQDA manually by downloading the latest setup file from the following links and running them. You can simply replace your existing MAXQDA installation with the new one:

    MAXQDA 2018 Installation files

    MAXQDA 12 Installation files

  • What are the differences between MAXQDA Standard, MAXQDA Plus and MAXQDA Analytics Pro?

    Learn more about the differences between all available MAXQDA products in our product overview. You can also find a detailed list of the features of each product in our feature comparison.

  • What’s the difference between single-user and network licenses?

    There are no differences in functionality or pricing between these two license types. They differ only in where they are installed:

    • Single-user licenses are installed on personal computers or laptops.
    • Network licenses are installed in a server-client environment and managed by a server admin using the MAXQDA license service and manager.

    Learn more about MAXQDA license options.

  • Is there a difference between student licenses and regular licenses?
    • Student licenses offer the same range of functions as non-student licenses.
    • Student licenses cannot be purchased by institutions or non-students and cannot be passed on to others.
    • Student licenses are available for students and PhD candidates who verify their student status.
    • It is not possible to upgrade a student license to a new version of MAXQDA.

    Learn more about MAXQDA student licenses

  • Can I switch from one MAXQDA product to another?

    Yes, you can extend your MAXQDA Standard or MAXQDA Plus license to a MAXQDA Analytics Pro license.

    • MAXQDA Standard can be extended to MAXQDA Analytics Pro
    • MAXQDA Plus can be extended to MAXQDA Analytics Pro
    • Extensions are not available for student licenses

    Visit our Analytics Pro extension webpage for more information.

    Upgrade to an up-to-date version of MAXQDA from an older version

    If you have a MAXQDA 2018 or MAXQDA 2020 license, you can upgrade your license to MAXQDA 2022.
    Visit our upgrade webpage for more information.

  • How do I know which price category to choose?

    You can choose from three price categories in the MAXQDA online shop: educational, reduced, and commercial. Educational prices are available for universities, technical schools, and other educational institutions including their employees. Reduced prices are available for NGOs and governmental institutions. The commercial pricing applies to everyone who does not belong to an educational or governmental institution or NGO.

  • What is the duration of a student license?

    Student licenses are available as 6 month or 24 month licenses.

    Learn more about MAXQDA student licenses

  • How do I verify my student status?

    Please visit our student verification webpage to learn more about the verification process and which documents to submit.

  • Can PhD candidates purchase student liceneses?

    Yes. PhD candidates are eligible for a MAXQDA student license.

    Learn more about student licences.

  • On how many computers can I install MAXQDA?

    That depends on which MAXQDA license you purchased.

    Single-user licenses can be installed on two machines. Both installations may not be used simultaneously or by different individuals.

    Student licenses can be installed on two machines. Both installations may not be used simultaneously or by different individuals.

    Semester licenses can be installed on one machine.

    Portable licenses can be installed on one USB flash drive.

    Network licenses can be installed on up to twice as many computers as licenses purchased, but can only be used simultaneously by one machine per license (installation is only possible in a client-server environment).

    Learn more about MAXQDA license options

  • How can I transfer my license to a new computer?

    In order to transfer your MAXQDA license to a new computer, please deactivate the license on your current computer first.

    The deactivation process disconnects your MAXQDA license from your computer, so that you can install and unlock MAXQDA on a new machine with your serial number. (Use the download link in the installation guide that you received when you purchased the license).

    Deactivate MAXQDA 2022, MAXQDA 2020 or MAXQDA 2018 (Windows / Mac)

    Open MAXQDA and in the menu click “? > License Status > Deactivate license on this computer”..

    Deactivate MAXQDA 12 (Windows / Mac)

    Open MAXQDA and in the menu click “Help > Deactivate license on this computer”.

    Deactivate MAXQDA 11 (Windows / Mac)

    Open MAXQDA and in the menu click “Help > Deactivate license on this computer”.

    • Due to technical reasons a deactivated license of MAXQDA 11 for Windows license can NOT be reactivated on the same computer.
    • If the “License Transfer” button is greyed out, please make sure to start MAXQDA with admin rights. You can do this by right-clicking on the MAXQDA icon (on your desktop or in the start menu) and choosing “Run as Administrator”.

    Deactivate MAXQDA 10 (Windows / Mac)

    Open MAXQDA and click “? > License > License transfer/return > Transfer license”.

    • Due to technical reasons a deactivated license of MAXQDA 11 or MAXQDA 10 for Windows license can NOT be reactivated on the same computer.
    • If the “License Transfer” button is greyed out, please make sure to start MAXQDA with admin rights. You can do this by right-clicking on the MAXQDA icon (on your desktop or in the start menu) and choosing “Run as Administrator”.
  • I need to reinstall my operating system. How can I reactivate my license?

    MAXQDA 2022 (Win/Mac) - MAXQDA 2020 (Win/Mac) - MAXQDA 2018 (Win/Mac) - MAXQDA 12 (Win/Mac)

    Download and install MAXQDA 2018 on your reinstalled operating system using the download link in the installation guide you received when you purchased the license. Activate MAXQDA with your serial number. MAXQDA will recognize that this is the same computer and reactivate your installation without using up an additional activation.

  • MAXQDA reacts very slowly or crashes

    By far the most common cause of performance issues or crashes is related to the following question: Did you open the project file directly from a USB flash drive, network drive, external hard drive, or cloud-synchronized folder? If the answer is “Yes“, that may be the cause of your issue.

    Since MAXQDA is a database program, all changes are continuously saved. It is therefore very important that the connection to the project file is not interrupted, otherwise problems with the project file may arise in some cases. For this reason we recommend that you do not open the project file from a USB, network drive or cloud-synchronized folder, but always copy it to a local hard disk first (e.g. to the desktop). Of course you can save this file to a USB etc., but you should not open the file directly from there. You can read more about this here:

    Project data storage

    Two error messages are usually a result of this problem:

    "MAXQDA cannot open the selected file. The file may already be open, it may not have the correct file format or it may be damaged."
    "The selected file was created with an older MAXQDA 11 version and cannot be opened.“

    However, if the file can still be opened, you can use the following steps to set up a new database structure to eliminate possible errors in it:

    1. Create a new project file and save it on your local hard disk (e.g. on the desktop)
    2. Open it, go to the "Home" tab and select "Merge projects" on the far right
    3. Merge the new project file with the problematic project file

    This creates a new .mx22 project file with a new database structure, which contains all the existing data.

    If the error still occurs, you can send the project file to our Support Team for error analysis or troubleshooting. Please also send the "support file". You can access this by clicking on the "?" symbol in the upper right corner of MAXQDA and then selecting "Export support file".

  • General tips for improving performance
    1. Always make sure that you open the project file from a non-synchronized folder on a local hard disk. You can read more about this here:

      Project data storage
    2. You might also want to move your external files to a local hard drive first to see if the connection to this external folder might be the reason for the problem.
    3. For larger or many external files, we recommend you save them as "External Documents" (i.e. images and PDF files, for example, are not saved directly in the project file, but in the "Externals" folder) You can learn more about this here:

      External files
    4. Transfer all your documents into document groups, making sure the individual groups are not too large (approx. max. 100 documents per group). By activating only individual document groups (one after the other), not all documents (and their coded segments) will be included in the selected function, but only a smaller part.
  • Imports from Dedoose fail

    When exporting from Dedoose, projects can be assigned a password. Project files saved in this way cannot be imported into MAXQDA.
    A solution is to export your Dedoose project as a REFI-QDA Project and import it as such in MAXQDA. The REFI-QDA Standard makes it possible to exchange projects between all software packages that support the XML exchange format. Further information can be found in the Export and Import REFI-QDA Projects chapter in the online manual.

  • Websites are not imported correctly

    There are many different types of websites. Unfortunately, there are always individual pages that can cause problems.
    One possibility to preserve the layout is to use the MAXQDA Web Collector extension for Google Chrome which lets you save and import entire wep pages into MAXQDA. If you don't want to or can't use the web collector, you can save the webpage as a PDF file via your browser’s print function. The PDF file can then be imported normally.

    More information on the Web Collector.

  • YouTube imports: No option to download a transcript

    When importing from YouTube, MAXQDA recognizes all transcripts that the author of the video has actively added to the video. Transcripts created automatically by YouTube cannot be imported.

  • What is the MAXQDA TeamCloud?

    The MAXQDA TeamCloud enables teams of up to five people to collaborate across locations. All team members share their MAXQDA projects via the secure, cloud-based MAXQDA TeamCloud environment.

    There is a fixed team lead and up to four team members. The team lead starts a project cycle, invites others to the project, and makes the team project available to all team members in the TeamCloud. Members download the project, work with a local copy of the project, and upload their finished work again. The team lead imports the members' projects into the main project. The work on a team project can be completed after just one cycle, or it can go through several cycles.

  • How many users can work together in MAXQDA TeamCloud?

    The default configuration supports up to 5 users (1 team lead / 1-4 team members) per TeamCloud license. If you would like to collaborate in larger teams, please contact us. We will be happy to advise you on possible options.

  • Where is the data stored? Is data protection guaranteed?

    MAXQDA TeamCloud projects are stored exclusively on GDPR-compliant AWS servers in Germany (Frankfurt/Main). The same applies to the personal data of the TeamCloud account, which is stored in an encrypted database on servers of AWS in Germany.

  • For which MAXQDA versions is the TeamCloud available?

    The TeamCloud feature is available in MAXQDA 2022.

    The TeamCloud feature is available for users working with a subscription single user, network, or campus license.

    The TeamCloud feature is not available for users working with a portable, trial, student, teaching, or free course license, or the MAXQDA Reader.

  • Which license do I need?

    Team lead: MAXQDA 2022 subscription license + additional TeamCloud license.

    Team member: MAXQDA 2022 license. Not for Portable, Demo, Student, Teaching/Course licenses or the MAXQDA Reader.

    The team lead of a project needs to activate their TeamCloud account with a TeamCloud license. Only team leads can upload projects to the MAXQDA TeamCloud and invite team members to collaborate with them. TeamCloud licenses can only be purchased by owners of a valid MAXQDA 2022 subscription license.

    Team members do not need a TeamCloud license, only a MAXQDA license. They can use a free TeamCloud account.

    You can read more about this here in our online manual.

  • How do I log in to MAXQDA TeamCloud?

    All project members need a MAXQDA TeamCloud account. Team members can use a free TeamCloud account, the team leads need to activate their account with a TeamCloud serial number.

    TeamCloud Web App

    Create an account or log in to your account at the TeamCloud Web App.


    In MAXQDA you can log in to your TeamCloud account:

    • on the Team Project tab in the MAXQDA 2022 Welcome Screen,
    • on the TeamCloud menu ribbon in MAXQDA 2022.
  • Are there any restrictions regarding the operating system?

    No. MAXQDA works identically on Microsoft® Windows® and Apple® Mac OS®. You can therefore edit, analyze, and share MAXQDA TeamCloud projects within your project team on both operating systems.

  • Do I need an internet connection to work with TeamCloud projects?

    You need internet access to download and upload the team project. However, local work on the project in MAXQDA can be done offline. This means that you do not need an internet connection while working with your local project copy. This is only required again when you are finished with your work and want to upload your project to the TeamCloud.

  • Can I work in a TeamCloud project from multiple computers?

    To avoid data loss, you should only work from one computer during a teamwork cycle.

    If a team member wants to switch computers, the team lead should first start a new project cycle. Then the new work cycle can be started on the new computer.

    If you as the team lead want to switch computers, start the project cycle on the old computer and then go directly to the new computer without making any changes to the TeamCloud project on the old computer.

  • What is the difference between Teamwork and TeamCloud?

    Teamwork features are available to all MAXQDA users and included in your MAXQDA installation. With the Teamwork features, you can transfer elements from one MAXQDA project to another by exporting and importing codes, memos, variables etc. Another teamwork feature is to merge two MAXQDA projects with each other. All of these tasks have to be done manually, and you need to share files with your team via email or other forms of communication outside of MAXQDA. Learn more about Teamwork in MAXQDA

    The MAXQDA TeamCloud is an additional module that can be purchased together with a subscription license of MAXQDA 2022. The TeamCloud provides you with a protected cloud space through which you can share your projects with your team from within MAXQDA. Team members need to create a TeamCloud account and connect it to their MAXQDA installation. MAXQDA handles the team communications and sends automatic notifications for new or completed tasks. Learn more about the TeamCloud.

  • Can I open .mx5 and .mx11 files with MAXQDA 2022?

    To open files from MAXQDA 11 (.mx5/.mx11) with MAXQDA 2022, please

    1. Download the free MAXQDA 2020 Reader
    2. Open your MAXQDA 11 file with the free MAXQDA 2020 Reader
    3. The MAXQDA 2020 Reader now creates a copy of your file in the .mx20 format
    4. This .mx20 file can be opened with MAXQDA 2022
    Note: Please note that .mx5 files can only be opened with Windows and .mx11 files can only be opened with macOS.
  • Can I open a project file created with an older MAXQDA version in MAXQDA 2022?

    Yes, you can open projects created with older MAXQDA versions in MAXQDA 2022.

    To open a project created with an earlier version of MAXQDA, follow these steps:

    1. Start MAXQDA and select Open Project in the start window.
    2. If the MAXQDA project is greyed out, change the file type in your Mac or Windows dialog window to the desired version of MAXQDA.
    3. Select the project you wish to open and click "open"

    MAXQDA creates a copy of the project in the new format and saves the project in the same folder as the old project.

    View detailed instructions for this action in the Switching from older versions to MAXQDA 2022 chapter of the MAXQDA online manual.

    No Teamwork Exchange between MAXQDA 2022 and older versions

    Due to the improved text handling in MAXQDA 2022, it is not possible to send project elements to older versions via teamwork exchange. If you are coding the same data in a team, it is recommended that all team members work with the same program version.

    Moving your projects to MAXQDA 2022 in a team using a mix of Windows and Mac computers

    For research teams of mixed Mac and Windows users, who are planning on using teamwork functionality relying on text character counts (intercoder agreement, merging projects, moving codes etc. from one project file to another) we kindly recommend converting their project files to MAXQDA 2022 on one computer and then distributing the new MAXQDA 2022 project files to all team members. Due to the improved text handling the converted projects might differ slightly in their character count when they are converted on a Windows or on a Mac computer.

    However, once the projets were converted on either a Mac or a Windows machine, thus ensuring each team member uses exactly the same data, MAXQDA 2022 projects are accessible from either Mac or Windows, without any further need of compatibility optimizations.

  • Can I open a MAXQDA 2022 project with MAXQDA 2020?

    How to open a MAXQDA 2022 project in MAXQDA 2020

    MAXQDA 2020 cannot open the .mx22 format of a MAXQDA 2022 project, but you can save a MAXQDA 2022 project to the .mx20 file format of MAXQDA 2020 by following these steps:

    1. Open the project in MAXQDA 2022.
    2. Select Start > Save project as from the main menu bar.
    3. Set the file type to “MAXQDA 2020 Projects”, select a file name and location, and then click Save.

    A few elements of MAXQDA 2022 will be changed, because MAXQDA 2020 does not have the functionality to handle new or changed features:

    • Text codes in PDF documents are converted to image codes.
    • emoticodes in the "List of codes" will become normal codes with the emoticode symbol at the beginning of the code name.
    • Memo titles are shortened to 63 characters.
    • Code and document summaries in code and document memos are deleted.
  • Can I exchange projects between MAXQDA for Windows and MAXQDA for Mac?

    MAXQDA 2022 / MAXQDA 2020 / MAXQDA 2018 / MAXQDA 12

    Yes, you can open and work with the same MAXQDA project file on either Windows or Mac computers. Sharing your work with others and accessing your students' or teammates' project files is a vital part of your daily work. That's why MAXQDA works with a universal project files - .mx22 (MAXQDA 2022), .mx20 (MAXQDA 2020), .mx18 (MAXQDA 2018), or .mx12 (MAXQDA 12) - which can be opened and edited with both Windows or Mac.

    MAXQDA 11

    Yes, you can export MAXQDA projects from MAXQDA 11 (Mac or Windows) and import them into the other operating system by first exporting them as a "MAXQDA Exchange file".

    Open the project in MAXQDA 11, select "Project > Export MAXQDA exchange file" and save the MAXQDA exchange file to a convenient location (e.g. your desktop). Then, open MAXQDA 11 on another platform and choose "Open existing project > OK". At the bottom of the Finder window or Windows dialog window, select the MAX-Exchange file type (*.mex), select the MAXQDA exchange file and click "Open".

  • How can I save my project?

    MAXQDA is a database program, which means that almost all changes are automatically saved (e.g. data imports, the creation and application of codes etc.) in the project files. That's why MAXQDA does not have a “save” button. Once an action is performed, it's immediately saved. It's also why MAXQDA double-checks before deleting important project elements, such as codes.

    Documents and memos that are currently being edited, for example when you are writing notes in a text document or transcribing audio/video files, are automatically saved every 5 minutes. This time interval can be adjusted in the project settings. Open maps in MAXMAps are automatically saved every minute and also when they are closed. Logbook entries are saved when you close the logbook window.

    Caution when saving to external resources

    If you are saving your MAXQDA project files in external resources like network drives, USB flash drives, or any cloud synchronized folder, please read the following FAQ: "Caution: Why you should not open MAXQDA projects from USB drives, network drives, or cloud services (Dropbox, iCloud, etc.)".

  • Can I store my MAXQDA projects in cloud based services, like Dropbox?

    MAXQDA is a database program and needs a stable and uninterrupted connection to the project file. While you are working with a project file MAXQDA is constantly reading and writing data directly into the database.

    Opening projects from external resources

    To avoid data loss and database corruption, we strongly recommend against opening MAXQDA projects directly from external resources like a network drive, USB flash drive, external hard drive or any cloud-synchronized folder.

    An interruption of the connection between MAXQDA and the project files due to a weak network connection or a background synchronization process can lead to the corruption of your project database. If a cloud based synchronization service like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, Mega, Onecloud, Box, etc. starts a background synchronization process of your project while you are currently working with the project in MAXQDA it may effect the database consistency. It may also happen that you are reopening a recently closed MAXQDA project while your cloud service is still synchronizing the file, which also may lead to a damaged database.

    If you still decide or have to open your MAXQDA project from an external resource, we cannot guarantee that the project file will not be damaged through disrupted connection.

    The above also applies to TeamCloud projects. Therefore, make sure that your TeamCloud workspace is located in a local directory on your computer when you work with TeamCloud projects.

    Storing projects in external resources

    You can still use any of the above mentioned external storage resources to save backups to or to share projects with other users.
    Just copy the project file to a local and non-synchronized location on your computer before opening it with MAXQDA. After editing, close the project file, and only then copy it back to the synchronized area.

  • Can I import NVivo or Atlas.ti projects into MAXQDA?

    Yes, you can import and export project data from and to NVivo, Atlas,ti and several other QDA software programs into MAXQDA using the universal "REFI-QDA Project" exchange format. You can learn more about this features in the REFI-QDA Project chapter of our online manual.

  • How do I uninstall MAXQDA?

    Follow the instruction below to uninstall MAXQDA from your computer. If you want to deactivate your license or transfer your license to a different computer, please make sure to do so before you uninstall MAXQDA.

    Windows 7

    Open START > All programs > MAXQDA > Uninstall.

    Windows 8

    Press the Windows button and start typing "Control Panel" to search and open your computers control panel. Under "Programs" you will find the option to "Uninstall a program". Select MAXQDA from your list of programs and click "Uninstall" at the top of the list.

    Windows 10

    Open START > Settings > System > Apps & features. Select MAXQDA and click "Uninstall" at the top of the list.


    Open your applications folder and drag the MAXQDA icon into your trash can.

  • I can not insert timestamps

    If inserting a timestamp is not possible, please make sure that the cursor positions in the transcript and media file are identical and that the chronology of timestamps is retained.

    If, for example, the current playback position of an audio file is at 3 minutes, but before the current text position a timestamp already exists at 4 minutes, no further timestamp can be added.

  • Does MAXQDA provide automatic transcription?

    No. MAXQDA does not support automatic transcription of your media files. But you can use MAXQDA to manually transcribe your files or import transcripts.

    You can read more about this in our online manual.

  • Unable to play media files

    If MAXQDA does not play audio and/or video files, we recommend resetting the settings. To do so, open MAXQDA's main preferences, navigate to the "Interface" tab and select "Reset interface settings". MAXQDA will then have to restart.

  • Which media file formats can I analyze with MAXQDA?

    MAXQDA supports the the following formats as standard:

    AudioWindows: MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, M4A
    Mac: MP3, WAV, AAC, CAF, M4A
    VideoMP4, MOV, MPG, AVI, M4V, 3GP, 3GGP
    Windows: additionally WMV
    For video, a MP4 file with the video codec H.264 / AVC is recommended.

    You can find detailed descriptons about working with audio and video in MAXQDA in the "Audio and Video" chapter of the online manual.

  • How do I use the F4 key for transcription with MAXQDA for Mac?

    If you are using Mac, the F4 key is usually used for system features, like opening up the launchpad application or changing the brightness of the screen. If you want to use F4 to play and pause audio in MAXQDA for Mac, you can find an option to do so in "System Preferences > Keyboard".

    Open "Keyboard" and activate the option to "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard functions keys".

    With this option activated you can play and pause audio and video in MAXQDA - as long as the media player is turned on - with the F4 and F5 keys.

    You just need to remember to deactivate this setting again, should you want to use these keyboard keys for those they are usually assigned to when you're not working with MAXQDA.

  • Which foot switches are suitable for transcribing audio or video files?

    With MAXQDA you may transcribe audio and video files directly within the program. That means that you don’t need any additional transcription software. MAXQDA offers all the common features for transcribing: Variable playing speed, rewind interval, automatic timestamps, etc.

    To save time during transcription, you can also use a foot switch with MAXQDA. But please note: The foot switch should activate the F4 key when pushing and releasing it.

    The following foot switches can be used for your transcription with MAXQDA

    "Science" switch
    "Science II" switch
    Office or Infinity footswitch (three button)

    Please note: On macOS Big Sur and newer the footswitches cause a right-click when unpressed after being pressed in order to play the audio file.
  • Is the trial version a full version of MAXQDA?

    Yes, the trial version is a fully functional version of MAXQDA Analytics Pro. You have access to all its functions and can create, edit, and save projects of any size. The trial version is valid for 14 days and will expire automatically.

  • Can I start my project with the trial and continue with the full version?

    Yes, you can. Your projects will be saved to your hard drive. You can continue your to work on projects you created with the trial version in the full version. You can also move your project to a different computer which has MAXQDA installed on it and continue working from there.

  • I didn't receive an email with my trial download link

    You should receive an email with the download link no later than an hour after you have made your request. Be sure to check your spam folder. If you still can't find the e-mail, please request it again while making sure your email address is typed correctly. If you still haven't received an email once you have tried this, please contact us at

  • Do I need to activate the trial version?

    You do not need to activate the trial version with a serial number. Simply click on Start MAXQDA Analyticso Pro trial trial or Continue your free trial at the top of the activation window to start (or continue) your 14-day trial period.

    You can unlock the trial at any time with either a serial number or by connecting it to a network license.

  • Are there any differences between MAXQDA on Mac and Windows?

    MAXQDA 2022 - MAXQDA 2020 - MAXQDA 2018 - MAXQDA 12
    No differences between Windows and Mac

    Since MAXQDA 12, MAXQDA is the same software product for both Windows and Mac. Any differences are owed to the operating system itself (i.e. the feel and look of system buttons or drop down menus, audio and video capabilities).

    MAXQDA 11 - Small differences between Windows and Mac

    In MAXQDA 11 you will notice minor differences between the Windows and the Mac OS X version of our software:

    for Windows

    for Mac
    file typemx5mx11
    Support foot pedals for transcriptionScience
    Science II
    Import from NVivo or Atlas.ti
    Contact our
    online support
    Printing PDF and images with code stripes-
    Complex retrieval of coded segments for
    audio and video clips
    Intercoder agreement also for audio/video/images/tables
    Exclude word combinations in MAXDictio word frequencies-
    Intersection and proximity of codes for audio and video files-
    Import and Export OpenOffice files from ODT-Format-