Quirkos - FAQs
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Most Frequently Asked Questions

No. To access Quirkos in either the Desktop or Web App, just log in with the email and password you provided when you registered.

No. You only need a Quirkos Cloud subscription as this grants access to Quirkos for the duration of your subscription. You would only need the offline licence if you would like to also edit your Quirkos files offline.

If you have a Quirkos Cloud subscription, yes! The Cloud version is designed to let many people work on a project at once.

However, working collaboratively on the same project at the same time is not recommended for offline projects, better to work on separate files and merge them if using the offline mode. Quirkos will warn you if the file appears to be already open by another user.

This is because the licence is linked to your particular computer and operating system. If you updated from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for example, our licence system would see this as a new computer. Just contact us (support@quirkos.com) using the e-mail address you registered with, and we will be happy to reactivate your licence key.

Our servers are hosted with SOC 1 Type II, Type II, ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and PCI-DSS compliance as well as physical security measures. If you create a password for your project, your data and login are end-to-end encrypted while you work with it, encrypted at rest, and our systems are continuously monitored. We have multiple redundant backup systems, so that data is always kept copied and available.

This depends on your location when you created the account. The service will choose the closest possible server to you, or alternatively the server that fits with the data regulations in your country (e.g. for Canadian customers, your data will be stored in Canada by default). We currently have servers in the US, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, and Singapore. If you require your data to be stored anywhere different than the default, please get in touch with us.

No! We treat your data as sensitive as it should be.Your data is not shared with third parties, and it’s end-to-end encrypted using your account password as the encryption key.

Video data is wiped before it is sent to the automated transcription service.

Our automated transcription service runs on the Quirkos server, and is otherwise disconnected from the Internet. It only processes your data in order to return a transcription, and does not use your data for further training or machine learning.

Firstly, please ensure you are on either the Quirkos Desktop app, or Quirkos Web, not the Account page.

If you are still unable to open any projects, this generally means your subscription has failed to renew, typically due to a payment failure.

To re-activate your subscription as soon as possible, you’ll need to get in touch with us, as our payment provider will only automatically retry a failed payment every few days. Please update your payment information/add sufficient funds, and then email us at support@quirkos.com, and we will process the payment for you manually.

Yes! Please contact sales@quirkos.com to request an invoice via PayPal.

We do not support other cloud storage services. Quirkos autosaves after every action, which can cause problems if the cloud service is backed up and trying to save multiple copies of the same file at once. This can result in file conflicts and corruption.

Please note that if you save your Quirkos files to Desktop or Documents, these may be cloud storage folders by default in Windows and Mac. We would recommend disconnecting your Desktop or Documents folder from cloud storage, or saving to your Downloads folder instead.

No - our payment provider requires that the site licence renews itself monthly (despite it not costing anything, as you have paid upfront) in order for it to function as intended. You won’t experience any additional charges!

Our payment provider requires that the site licence renews itself monthly (despite it not costing anything, as you have paid upfront) in order for it to function as intended. You won’t experience any additional charges!

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Quirkos comes from the Greek 'kirkos', the root of the word 'circle' and 'qu' for qualitative. It represents the Qualitative Bubbles (Quirks) that are central to the interface.

Yes, you can use Quirkos in the browser, or as normal software that you install on your computer or tablet.

You have the choice to save the data offline on your own computer, or with our secure cloud server. This gives you the freedom to work according to the security policies of your organisation.

The offline licences are indefinite, they do not expire. They include any updates for that point release (eg. 1.6, 1.8) but not for major new versions (eg. 2.0, 3.0). Our cloud licences are based on a monthly subscription fee, renewable every 3 months or year.

For students, we require a valid e-mail address from an educational institution, and proof of student status, such as a university student card.

For academic licences, an e-mail address from a registered university is usually sufficient, we will try to validate this automatically looking for common e-mail domains (such as .ac.uk, .ac.fr, .ac.edu). This is also the case for some government institutions, for example e-mails ending in .gov or .nhs.uk. Otherwise, get in touch and we will validate your status. As long as yourself or your institution are visible on the internet, there shouldn't be a problem.

If you have any problems providing these, just get in touch, we will work something out!

We release updates to fix any bugs and add new features, usually every three months. We also pledge to make sure that updates do not break compatibility with older versions, so everyone can work with the same projects.

Yes, with caveats. Our software focuses on text, the format that qualitative researchers use most often - but you can import any of the three into Quirkos Web.

Pictures need to be embedded in a .docx file, or directly copied and pasted into the source text editor. Specific parts of pictures cannot be coded, just the picture as a whole.

Audio and video can be uploaded to the Quirkos Transcribe service and automatically transcribed into text format. After a transcript is produced, you can code them as with any other text source.


Quirkos will directly open plain text files (.txt), rich text files (.rtf), Word files from recent versions (.docx), text-based PDFs, CSV ('Comma Separated Value' files from spreadsheets), and XLSX (Excel spreadsheets). However, you can also import a source from the clipboard by copying and pasting from any other programme on your computer. Rather than trying to support every file format, this lets you get text into Quirkos from almost anything your computer can open. So you can copy from text PDFs, Word files (all versions), your internet browser, LaTeX, Libre-Office etc. Quirkos will export as SQLite, JSON, Word (.docx), CSV and XLSX files, and generate reports in HTML, PDF and .png images. This combination gives users great flexibility. Quirkos also supports the REFI-QDA qualitative exchange standard.

For APA v6, try:

Quirkos 2.5.3 [Computer Software]. (2023). Retrieved from https://www.quirkos.com

Yes, we have a VPAT accessment, however we don't find these generic assessments to be very useful. We have worked with many users with differing needs, including visual impairment and those who use screen readers, and neurodiverse users. We are always happy to take suggestions and work with organisations to meet all their user's needs. Please get in touch for more information.

The best way to get in contact with us is via e-mail (support@quirkos.com). We will always try and respond to an e-mail within a day, even over the weekend, but note we are based in the UK, so expect replies during British working hours! Before getting in touch, please make sure you are using the most recent version, and when emailing us please let us know what operating system you are using, and as much information about your issue or question as you can.

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Software Installation (Quirkos Desktop only)

For Windows, Mac and Linux we recommend at least 2GB of RAM, a 2Ghz or higher Code 2 Duo or higher processor. We find that Quirkos works best on computers with accelerated graphics (OpenGL or DirectX). Quirkos does not work on Windows XP, or versions of OS X older than 10.7.

You will need around 200MB of free disk space for installation, or 190MB in Linux (plus dependencies).

Yes you can, but note that the licence key is linked to a particular computer, so you cannot install to a USB drive and use that licence of Quirkos on lots of different computers.

Our licencing system links your licence key to your computer when it is validated from in the activation box. This makes sure your key cannot be used by someone else. This usually requires an active internet connection for validation, however, if you are on a system that does not have a suitable connection (eg. for security reasons) contact us, and we can provide an off-line activation process. After activation, only the cloud version of Quirkos requires a connection to the internet.

Just download the new version, and install to the same location as your old one (ie C:\Program Files in Windows, or Applications in macOS). This will update the software, and doesn't change your files. When you start Quirkos the next time, all your previously used files will still be listed, and there is no need to re-enter your licence key.

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Project Files

Quirkos saves projects as .qrk files, which contain all the data for your project, including the sources. In the Cloud version, you'll need to download the .qrk file if you'd like to store a local copy of the file, which you can do from your account page. To share projects with others, or copy from one computer to another, you just need to move this one file.

.qrk files are just a SQLite database file. You can import them into any programme that supports this open format, for example you can make direct edits and exports using the excellent SQLite Manager: a free plugin for the Firefox browser. This also allows users to write custom scripts based on the data.

Yes, when starting a new project you can password protect and encrypt the project file. Note that you cannot retroactively add a password to an existing project, and that you must remember that password! There is no way we can recover a project with a forgotten password, this helps protect the security of the encryption process. Encrypted files also cannot be opened directly in 3rd party programmes, you would have to save the project as a new file without the password to remove the encryption.

This can happen if the computer or programme crashes. In this case, no data will be lost, but the note that the programme has finished with the file will not be recorded, hence Quirkos thinks that the file is still open elsewhere. It is safe to continue in these situations.

There isn't one! Every time you do something, it is immediately saved. This makes sure that you don't lose any work if the computer crashes, or you have a power-cut. Under the 'Project' button you can save as a new file if you want to preserve the project at a particular state. Remember, you should still back up your files against hard-drive failure, losing USB sticks on the bus, and viruses!

Ideally not. As Quirkos is constantly saving your work, running a project hosted on a remote server or cloud platform can lead to slowdowns, and in some cases the file will not open for editing or become corrupted. It is best to download the file to your computer to work on, and upload again when you are done with your session. The Quirkos Cloud subscription allows you to automatically store your data on a remote server.

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Using Quirkos

The home button on the top left of the screen will always take you back to the main canvas view.

When creating a report, Quirkos produces a lot of separate files, which is why it asks for a directory to store the report. This will create a 'data' folder containing images of the canvas and Quirks, so you can use them directly in a presentation or article. There will also be HTML and associated files, which lets you share an exploreable and customisable dynamic report, or a PDF file formatted exactly the way you choose.

Dozens! As Quirkos only loads the current active source for display, a project with lots of sources will not slow down general use, but obviously searches and queries will take longer. However, most good computers should not see more than a few seconds delay in a large project - the last time we were working with whole novels by Charles Dickens, searches still took less than a minute! Quirkos is not really designed for projects requiring hundreds or thousands of separate sources, we consider this type of research to be more quantitative than qualitative.

By default, we've set Quirkos to use dark backgrounds with light text, and a dark canvas. This is easier on the eyes for long periods of coding (we know this from experience!) and also reduces energy use compared to white backgrounds. You can change this option in the Project Settings.

From version 1.5, Quirkos allows you to merge files. A group of people working on a project could all take copies of a project file (for example with just the sources, or coding framework) and code different parts of the project, then merge together. If you need multiple users to work on the same project file at the same time, you need to use the Cloud subscription.

This message is shown when a project file is not closed properly, usually due to a crash or computer error. It's safe to continue as long as you aren't running two instances of Quirkos at the same time!

First, make sure that you are using the latest version of Quirkos. Download and install again from our website to make sure. Second, make sure that you don't have any backup services running (like Dropbox or iCloud) that are trying to copy your project file while you work. This can cause a crash.

If you are on Windows, make sure your graphics drivers are up to date. Most of the crashes we see on Windows are actually caused by outdated graphics drivers (especially with Intel integrated graphics on some laptops).

If none of these steps help, please let us know! E-mail us at support@quirkos.com and please let us know which operating system you are using (for example Windows 10), and what version of Quirkos you are running. We will try and fix this as soon as possible!

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Quirkos Cloud

Quirkos Cloud is a subscription service for Quirkos that lets you store your projects on our remote server, automatically backing up and syncing them so you can work on any computer. It works in exactly the same way, but is a quarterly or annual subscription that includes both access to the software on any number of computers, and unlimited storage for your data.

You can change your subscription, cancel, change contact details and download your project files using our account management system.

Since projects are stored in the cloud, you need to have an active internet connection to work with them. If you know you are going to need to work away from the internet, or somewhere where the connection is unreliable, you can download the project to your computer and save it as a file. You can do this with the Download button next to each project in the Recent Project list, or click on Project and Download Project for the project you have open. You can also download projects without needing Quirkos to be installed from your user account page.

No. To access Quirkos in either the Desktop or Web App, just log in with the email and password you provided when you registered.

If you cancel your subscription at any time, you can still download your projects in your user account page for up to a year. If at any time you restart your subscription, you will be able to work on your projects again, and use Quirkos on your computer. However after your subscription has been cancelled and inactive for a year, your projects will be deleted.

You can either install the desktop version of Quirkos on your computer - there is no difference between the online and offline versions, or use Quirkos Web in your browser.

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Quirkos Web

Quirkos Web is a version of Quirkos that can work in your browser (like Chrome or Safari) without the need to install anything on your computer. It allows you to create projects, import and analyse data, produce exports and work with existing projects. It has all the main features of the desktop version of Quirkos. At the moment it only works with Quirkos Cloud stored projects.

Yes, you can keep working with any Quirkos Cloud projects, and if working on offline projects (saved to your computer) you can upload these at any time. You can also download Quirkos Web projects and work on them in Quirkos 2. However, some features (like emojis, special text formatting and pictures) will not display correctly. We aim to release an update for Quirkos 2 to support more of these futures, and a desktop and offline version of Quirkos based on the new features and layout of Quirkos Web.

No! If you have a subscription to Quirkos Cloud, you will be able to use the Quirkos Web service.

Pretty much any browser or any operating system is supported. We've done basic testing with Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, and many more. It should work fine on any modern operating system, including Windows, macOS, Linux and ChromeOS.

Projects you are working on are constantly saved, so your project will be in the same position when you login again. If your internet connection drops out, you should be able to resume working on your project when it returns. However, you may need to login again after a long period offline.

Yes, if you are working on a shared Quirkos Cloud project, Desktop and Web users can work on the same projects. However, we would recommend that everyone uses the Web version, as this has better support for images, text formatting and emoji. These will not be displayed correctly in the Desktop version of Quirkos.

You can manage your account in the Account tab after you first log into the Web app.

Yes! There is no need to install an app, just visit the page in your phone's normal web browser. You will see different views and functionality depending on whether your device is in portrait, or landscape mode.

You can find more information here on using Quirkos Transcribe, our automated transcription service.

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Try today!

Ready to give Quirkos a try? Register for a free 14-day trial of Quirkos today,
with no restrictions on features or projects.
with no restrictions on features or projects.

Want to learn more? Read more about our features or see Quirkos in action!