1. Analysis and spreadsheet tools

Icon key

Free icon Free tools are completely free to use with all features.

Freeware icon Freeware tools include basic functionality for free. Additional features may need to be paid for.

open source icon Open source tools are developed in a collaborative manner and can be used, modified or shared openly. This software can be used for free and often includes a lot of support documentation.

paid tools icon Paid tools can only be used after purchasing, and agreeing to, a product licence.


There are a lot of tools available to analyse data. Which tool you use may depend on a range of factors:

  • basic or advanced functions — if you are working with a complex document you may require a tool with a range of formulas.
  • availability of training — the availability of in-person training and online help varies between writing tools.
  • industry standards — within certain industries there may be an expectation that you use a particular tool.


Looking for help with your assignment?

Relevant Digital Essentials modules:

  • Work with data and files — module on data sources, cleaning data, data storage, data analysis and presenting data.
  • Types of assignments — information on written, video, audio, presentations, posters, 3D models and coding assignments.

Spreadsheet tools

Tool Useful features and limitations UQ Library training Online training guides and courses Tool cost
Microsoft Excel Microsoft Excel is the standard spreadsheet tool commonly used in workplaces. It is recommended if you need a full range of specialized functions for data analysis and organisation tasks. Yes Excel Essential Training (Office 365) (LinkedIn Learning, 2h24m) paid tool
Free for UQ students
Google Sheets Google Sheets is a free, web-based tool for creating spreadsheets and requires a Google Account to use. To access Sheets offline you need to use the Google Chrome browser and install Google Docs offline Chrome extension No Google Sheets Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning, 1h52m) Free
Calc (LibreOffice) Calc is a free spreadsheet tool you can download to your computer. Calc does allow you to share spreadsheets so multiple users can add data, however, real-time collaboration is not supported. File formats are compatible with Excel. No Learn LibreOffice Calc 6 in Under 30 Minutes (YouTube, 22m3s) open source

Data analysis tools

Tool Useful features or limitations UQ Library training Online training guides and courses Tool cost
Matlab Matlab is downloadable software you can use for data analysis,  modelling and visualisation. UQ students can download MATLAB to their personal computers. No Learning MATLAB (LinkedIn Learning, 1h13m)
Course: MATLAB 2018 Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning, 3h15m)
Free for UQ students
Python Python is a programming language that can be used for data analysis and visualisation.  Yes LinkedIn Learning pathway - Python Free icon open source
R and RStudio R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. RStudio is an integrated development environment (IDE) to make R easier to use. Yes Pathway: LinkedIn Learning pathway - R.
Resources -  used in our different R courses.
open source
SAS SAS's Education Analytical Suite is a data analytics tool available to be downloaded by UQ students. No Getting Started with SAS Studio freeware
SPSS SPSS Statistics is a software package used for statistical analysis and is available for UQ students to via Zenworks on Library Computers and in HASS/HABS Student Computer Labs.  No Video: Introduction to SPSS for data analysis (YouTube, 16m17s).
Course: SPSS Statistics Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning, 5h49m)
Free use on selected UQ computers.
KNIME Analytics Platform Use KNIME Analytics Platform to create data workflows, perform different analysis steps and display the results as models or interactive views for interpretation. KNIME analytics platform is available as a free open source desktop application under the  GNU General Public Licence. No Resources from KNIME to get you started.
Data Science Foundations (LinkedIn Learning, 4h3m) - sections on KNIME.
open source

GIS tools

This table lists a few key GIS tools and training resources. See our Geographical information systems (GIS) guide for a more comprehensive overview of GIS resources for researchers.

Tool Useful features and limitations UQ Library training Online training guides and courses Tool cost
Carto Carto is a cloud-based GIS platform built on open source software. Students can use Carto for free via the GitHub Student Developer Pack. No  Carto tutorialsCarto tutorials open source
ESRI ArcGIS ESRI ArcGIS is a downloadable tool for building and analysing geographical information. Students may use ArcGIS within specific courses. View the UQ Map Gallery from ArcGIS . No ArcGIS Pro Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning, 3h17m). freeware
Free for UQ students
Google Earth Google Earth is a free mapping tool available online, via your desktop, or on your mobile device.  No Become a Google mapping expert Free
QGIS QGIS is a free, open-source desktop application for creating, editing and analysing geospatial information. Yes Course: Learning QGIS (LinkedIn Learning, 2h57m)
Guide: QGIS Training manual
open source

Text analysis tools

This table lists a few key text analysis software tools and training resources. Our Text mining and text analysis guide provides a more comprehensive overview for researchers. It includes information on:

  • Sources of text data.
  • Preparing text for analysis.
  • A tool comparison table.
Tool  Useful features and limitations UQ Library training Online training guides and courses Tool cost
Leximancer Leximancer is used for scientific qualitative data analysis including concept visualisation and mapping. UQ students can access a licensed version of Leximancer desktop software. No Leximancer Overview (YouTube, 1m44s).
Advanced Leximancer Features (YouTube, 2m56s).
Resources from Leximancer.
Free for UQ students
NVivo Nvivo is software used to organise and analyse text and data. The software is available on Library computers. UQ students and staff can request a licence. Yes Using NVivo in systematic reviews guide.
Getting started training manual - check under NVivo Pro.
paid tool
Free for UQ students
OpenRefine OpenRefine can be used as a powerful text search tool and to clean and transform data. It is useful for text and data analysis. No OpenRefine has short introductory videos and user documentation to get you started. open source


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