Quirkos - FAQs
Skip to main content


Frequently Asked Questions

1.1 Why the name 'Quirkos'?
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.

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

1.3 Where does Quirkos store my data?
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.

1.4 How long does the licence last?
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 monthy subscription fee, renewable every 3 months or year.

1.5 How can I prove eligibility for discounts?
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!

1.6 Will there be updates for Quirkos?
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.

1.7 Does Quirkos work with pictures, audio or video?
Only text and pictures at the moment. We wanted to focus on text, the format that qualitative researchers use most often. We have innovative designs for working with multimedia sources that we hope to implement in future versions.

1.8 Does Quirkos support rich or formatted text?

1.9 What formats does Quirkos support?
Quirkos will directly open plain text files (.txt), rich text files (.rtf), Word files from recent versions (.docx), text-based PDFs and CSV ('Comma Separated Value' files from spreadsheets). However, you can 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, Word (.docx) and CSV 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.

1.10 How do I cite Quirkos?
For APA v6, try:

Quirkos 2.5.2 [Computer Software]. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.quirkos.com

1.11 Do you have accessibility audits?

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, inlcuding visual imparement and 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.

1.12 I have another question, what support do you offer?
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.

Back to the top

2.1 What are the system requirements for Quirkos?
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.

2.2 How much space is needed to install Quirkos?
You will need around 200MB of free disk space for installation, or 190MB in Linux (plus dependencies).

2.3 Can I install a 'live' installation on a USB stick?
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.

2.4 How is my offline licence validated?
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.

2.5 I upgraded my operating system, or I got a new computer, and my licence won't work!
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.

2.6 I installed the trial version of Quirkos, and didn't get around to trying it. Can I have an extension?
Probably! Just e-mail us, and we'll try to help.

2.7 There's a new version of Quirkos. How do I upgrade?
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.

Back to the top

3.1 What are the files used for Quirkos?
Offline Quirkos saves projects as .qrk files, which contain all the data for your project, including the sources. To share with others, or copy from one computer to another, you just need to move this one file.

3.2 What is the format of Quirkos files?
.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.

3.3 Can I encrypt my files?
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.

3.4 Can the file be worked on by more than one user at a time?
It 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, but the cloud version is designed to let many people to work on a project at once.

3.5 When I open a file, why does Quirkos say the file appears to already be opened by another user?
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.

3.6 Where is the save button?!
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 still should back up your files against hard-drive failure, losing USB sticks on the bus, and viruses!

3.7 Can I move files across Mac and Windows computers?
Absolutely. The file format is exactly the same across all platforms, there is no need to convert files when going between Windows, Mac or Linux computers, or between the Web or Desktop versions.

3.8 Can I work with a project file saved on a remote server?
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. 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 service allows you to automatically store your data on a remote server.

Back to the top

4.1 I'm stuck! Not sure what I've clicked on!
The home button on the top left of the screen will always take you back to the main canvas view.

4.2 What is in the report directory?
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.

4.3 How many sources can a project contain?
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.

4.4 Why is Quirkos so dark?
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.

4.5 How does a whole team work on one project file?
From version 1.5, Quirkos allows you to merge files (you can also projects files created in older versions of Quirkos). A group of people working on a project could all take copies of a project file (for example with just the sources, or 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 storage version.

4.6 When trying to open a file, it says 'May already be open'
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!

4.7 I have a problem with Quirkos crashing!
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!

Back to the top

5.1 What is 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 monthly subscription that includes both access to the software on any number of computers, and unlimited storage for your data.

5.2 How do I manage or cancel my subscription?
You can change your subscription, cancel, change contact details and download your project files using our account management system.

5.3 How can I work offline?
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 Quirkos installed from your user account page.

5.4 Is my data secure?
Yes! 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.

5.5 What happens when my subscription runs out?
If you cancel your subscription at any time, you can still download your projects in your user account for 6 months. 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 6 months your projects will be deleted.

5.6 What do I need to install?
You can either install the normal version of Quirkos on your computer - there is no difference between the online and offline versions, or use Quirkos Web in your browser.

Back to the top

6.1 What is 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.

6.2 Is Quirkos Web compatible with older versions of Quirkos?
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.

6.3 Do I need to pay extra for Quirkos Web?
No! If you have a subscription to Quirkos Cloud, you will be able to use the Quirkos Web service.

6.4 What browsers and operating systems are supported?
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.

6.5 What happens if I close the tab/window?
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.

6.6 Can I collaborate with Desktop users?
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.

6.7 How do I manage my account and subscription?
For the moment, you can login to the account page. We hope to integrate account and subscription management into the web-app soon.

6.8 Can I use Quirkos Web on a phone or tablet?
Yes! There is no need to install an app, just visit the page in your phone's normal browser. You will see different views and functionality depending on whether your device is in portrait, or landscape mode.

6.7 How do I use the automated transcription service?
You can find more information here on using the automated transcription service.

Back to the top

Still have questions?

Check out our support pages

Drop us an email at support@quirkos.com

Or tweet us @QuirkosSoftware