Frequently Asked Questions
Installation + Getting Started
How much does Transana cost?
The purchase price of Transana Professional is USD $350 per copy.
Transana Basic can be purchased for USD $150 per copy.
Transana Multiuser can be purchased for USD $795 for a team of researchers collaborating on one project. A single room Computer Lab Version of Transana for of up to 35 computers is also available for USD $795.
A non-upgradable version of Transana Basic can be purchased by students for their personal use with a current student ID for USD $75. Please go to the bottom of the ‘Transana Basic’ page for more information.
What is your upgrade policy?
We offer a full-credit upgrade for one year following your purchase. That means that you can upgrade to the newest version for free during the first year after you purchase Transana Basic, Transana Professional, or Transana Multiuser unless there is a cost increase, and then you’ll only be asked to pay the difference in price.
If you upgrade more than one year after your initial purchase but less than three years, you will be able to upgrade at some level of discount.
If you purchase the discounted Student Version of Transana Basic, you will not be eligible for free or discounted upgrades.
If you purchase Transana Basic and decide within a year that you need the full features of Transana Professional, you can upgrade to the newest version of Transana Professional by paying the difference in price between the two.
To see if you are eligible for an upgrade, enter your e-mail address on the Downloads and Upgrades page.
We reserve the right to change our upgrade policy without notice.
I am a software reseller and want to purchase Transana for a client. What’s the best way to do that?
Software resellers are welcome to purchase Transana in exactly the same way everyone else does, purchasing the program through this web site.
Please enter your own name and e-mail address as the “Purchaser” during the purchase process so that you receive the transaction receipt. (In this scenario, your customer does not receive a copy of the receipt as part of the purchase process.)
Please enter your customer’s name and e-mail address as the “Researcher” during the purchase process. That way, they will immediately receive the program download instructions, they will receive future notifications of upgrades and training opportunities, and they can access technical support for their purchase on the Transana web site.
We work hard to keep the cost of Transana as low as possible, so we do not offer any reseller discount for individual copy sales. Please contact us with details for purchases of 10 or more copies of Transana.
What are the minimum system requirements for Transana?
Windows: Transana runs on Windows 10, Windows, 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. Pretty much any computer that can run one of these operating systems can run Transana.
OS X: Transana runs on OS X 10.10.5 through OS X 10.11. macOS 10.12.1, and the macOS 10.13 series. It appears that Transana does not work with macOS 10.12 but the macOS 10.12.1 upgrade resolved the problem.
Processor and Memory
Transana’s requirements for processor and memory specifications depend on the type of data you are analyzing, quality of any video data you are using, and the complexity of your analysis.
Different media formats, different media resolutions, and different media data rates make a huge difference in Transana’s performance and on the amount of processor power required to run Transana. Length of media recording does not make a difference, nor does media file size in and of itself. It’s all about resolution and video bitrate.
If your computer is having trouble showing video data smoothly in Transana, this problem can almost always be solved by re-encoding the video files using a lower bitrate and perhaps a smaller image size using Transana’s Media Conversion Tool.
To use Transana’s multiple simultaneous media files features, your video needs to be properly encoded. See the Manual page on Working with Multiple Media Files. Transana should be able to display multiple simultaneous media files on almost any computer produced since 2010.
Transana requires a minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. 1280 x 1024 or better is strongly recommended.
Dual monitors provide a great advantage in working with Transana, particularly if you have high-resolution video and need to see the details.
Hard Drive Space
The Transana program requires between 60 and 300 MB of disk space, depending on platform and version. The critical issue for Hard Drive space, however, is video. One hour of MPEG-1 video takes about 650 MB, while one hour of MPEG-2 video takes about 2 GB of disk space. How much hard drive space you will need will be driven primarily by the format, quantity and quality of any video you may want to analyze.
Transana will not work with media files stored in the Cloud or on CDs or DVDs, as access times are too slow. Adequate local, external, and network hard drive space to hold your media files is required for analysis of media files.
How do I learn to use Transana?
There is a full tutorial accessible within Transana from the Help menu. That, combined with the demonstration data files, should introduce you to all the tasks involved in the qualitative analysis of data using Transana.
A number of Transana ScreenCasts videos have been developed to demonstrate many aspects of the use of Transana. They are available from the ScreenCasts page.
We offer online and on-site training workshops. See the Workshops and Webinars page for the current schedule.
You can also contact Transana Support through the Contact Page.
How do I get my data ready for use with Transana?
This is covered in the Transana Tutorial. Load Transana and choose Help > Tutorial. Then look for the “Text – Preparing Text for Analysis” and “Media – Preparing Media for Analysis” pages. Your still image data is likely to work with Transana, as Transana supports most common formats. Otherwise, you will need to convert your still images to any of the common image formats such as JPG, GIF, or PNG.
When I try to install Transana on OS X, I get the message “Transana can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer.” What do I do?
The OS X operating system, starting with release 10.8, complains when you try to install software you obtain from places other than the Mac App Store. You need to let your operating system know that you want to install and use Transana and other programs that come from sources other than the App Store.
- Right-click (or Ctrl-click) the installer and choose “Open”.
- You should see a warning dialog. Click “Open” again to open the application despite being warned.
If that process does not work for you, (as it might only work on some OS X versions,) here are the steps to take:
- Open System Preferences.
- Open Security and Privacy
- On the General tab, click the lock in the lower left corner of the screen, if necessary, to allow changes to be made.
- Under Allow applications downloaded from, select Anywhere.
- Close System Preferences.
You will probably want to reset this setting after you finish installing Transana.
Upgrading Software or Hardware
I want to upgrade Transana. What do I need to do?
Your data will not be damaged by the upgrade process. Data migration in Transana is usually automatic from older to newer versions of the software, with the two exceptions noted below. Data migration from newer to older versions of Transana is not possible.
It is ALWAYS a good idea to back up your data before upgrading any program. Transana is no different in this respect.
If you are migrating from Transana 2.61 or earlier to Transana 3.00 or higher, (excluding the Multiuser version), you should manually export your data prior to upgrading Transana.
If you are migrating from Transana 2.42 single-user or earlier to Transana 2.50 or higher on Windows, you should manually export your data prior to upgrading Transana.
To export your data, load your database in Transana. Go to Tools > Export Database. Browse to a location you’ll be able to find later, and enter a file name for your database export. If you have multiple databases, repeat this operation for each database. If your database export fails, please contact us before proceeding.
Next, remove the old version of Transana. To remove Transana:
On Windows, there is an “Uninstall Transana” option in the Transana program group in the Start menu.
On OS X, drag the Transana_2 folder from the Applications directory (NOT FROM YOUR HOME DIRECTORY) to the Trash. This will not affect your Transana data.
Then install the new version of Transana.
Finally, if you needed to export your data above, you can create a new database in the new Transana, then import one of your data export files by going to Tools > Import Database and browsing to the database export file you created above. You will need to create a new database and import it for each of the databases you exported. If your database import fails, please contact us for assistance.
I just got a new computer. How do I move my Transana data?
The process is fairly easy, but does involve a number of steps.
- Prepare the old computer.A. Set your Video Root directory. On Windows, go to Options > Program Settings, and on OS X, go to Transana > Preferences. On the Directories tab, press the Browse button next to the Video Root setting and point to the directory that holds all of your media files or that holds the directories that hold your media files. (This will make it easier for Transana to find your media files on the new computer, especially if you are changing operating systems.)B. Go to Tools > Export Database. Press the Browse button and make sure you are pointed to your Video Root directory. Then enter the name you want to call the file for this database.C. If you have multiple databases, repeat the these steps for each database.
- Copy all of your media files and the exported database files you created above from the old computer to the new computer. (If your media files are on an external hard drive or a network drive, you can skip this step.) Make a note of where you copy these files, as that will be your new Video Root directory.
- Install Transana on the new computer, if you have not already done so. If you need to get a new copy of the Transana installer, see the Download Previously Purchased Release page.
- Start Transana. The configuration information that records your database names does not get transferred, so you will need to type in your database name and create a new database when prompted for a database name.
- If you are on Windows and Transana crashes here, you forgot to install the free QuickTime Player from the Apple web site as instructed in the installer.
6. Set up the new computer.
A. Set your Video Root directory. On Windows, go to Options > Program Settings, and on OS X, go to Transana > Preferences. On the Directories tab, press the Browse button next to the Video Root setting and point to the directory where you copied your media files.
B. Go to Tools > Import Database. Press the Browse button and select the database you exported from the old computer and copied to the new computer.
C. If you have multiple databases, create a new database (File > Change Databases) and repeat the these steps for each database. Remember, each database import file must be imported to a new, empty database.
D. If your database import fails when you import it into a new, empty database, you may need to upgrade from version 2.42 to version 2.50 due to a problem with the database import routine in Transana 2.42 that produces a “KeyError” error message. If that’s not the case, please contact us for assistance.
7. If some of your media files were not in your video root (or in directories off of your video root), Transana will probably not be able to load these files until you update the media file location in the database. To do this, go to Tools > File Management and navigate to the directory where the media file is located in one of the upper windows. Select one or more media files in the lower window and press the “Update DB” button.
8. Finally, if you didn’t purchase a new copy of Transana for the new computer, delete Transana from the old computer. It’s okay to MOVE Transana from one computer to another, but if you’re going to be using Transana on both computers, you should buy another copy.
Can Transana produce a transcript for me?
Transana does not automatically generate transcripts because voice recognition technology is not yet sophisticated enough to be able to produce a useful transcript from naturally occuring talk. See Inching Towards Automated Transcription. Voice recognition software requires a single speaker, good audio quality, spoken punctuation, and extensive training of the software by the speaker. Most research video has, at most, one of these elements. Therefore, voice recognition simply isn’t practical.
In Transana, you use the Transcript window’s Ctrl-S function to start and stop the video, and you type what you hear. It’s a slow process, but it’s the best way to produce an accurate, usable transcript.
You can also use some voice recognition programs in conjunction with Transana. See the “Using Speech Recognition With Transana” ScreenCast on the Transcription and Time Codes ScreenCast page.
I’m having some trouble inserting time codes. How should I do it?
Getting the time coding process to work properly can be a little tricky at first. The first thing you want to do is to watch the ScreenCast on TimeCodes.
Here’s a quick overview of a good procedure, and some tips:
- Put the video in edit mode so that clicking in the transcript to position the cursor doesn’t move the video position, as it does when the transcript is in read-only mode.
- Position the video close to where you want to work, either by clicking in the visualization window or by left-clicking then right-clicking in the transcript, if some timecodes already exist.
- With the program focus in the transcript window, use Ctrl-S (play/pause with auto-rewind), Ctrl-D (play/pause with no auto-rewind), Ctrl-A (rewind 10 seconds), and Ctrl-F (fast-forward 10 seconds) to position the video precisely.
- Position the transcript cursor to the correct spot with a single left-click, then either press Ctrl-T or click the Current button in the visualization window to insert the time code.
Here are some tips from the developer:
- When time-coding, I primarily use the control-key keyboard commands in the transcript window to control video playback and position the video.
- I never use the video window controls when inserting time codes, as it has a set of rules about positioning the video based on user actions that is not helpful for the time-coding process (although it makes good sense in other circumstances.)
- In some circumstances (i.e. when I need very precise positioning) I zoom in on the visualization window and use the cursor keys (sometimes with Shift, Alt, or Ctrl pressed) there to slightly alter my position in the video. This method can provide frame accurate positioning of the video if needed.
- Remember, if you’re having trouble with precise positioning of the video, you can often slow down the video playback speed. From the Options menu, select Program Settings. Select the Transcriber Settings tab, then move the Video Playback Speed slider to the desired position.
What video and audio formats does Transana support?
Support for individual video formats may depend upon your computer, operating system, and what media players and codecs you have installed. The following are generalizations.
Transana 3.00 and later supports MPEG-1, MPEG-2, most AVI video, QuickTime MOV, MP4, and M4V formats, as well as MP3, WAV, and AAC audio on both Windows and OS X. Windows Media Video, WMV, and Windows Media Audio, WMA, formats are supported on Windows only. Older versions of Transana may or may not not support all of those formats.
Starting with Transana 2.50, Transana includes a Media Conversion tool. If your video doesn’t work with Transana, try converting it, as described in the Media Conversion ScreenCast. This often solves the problem.
Transana might also work with additional formats. There are two issues.
First, does the media file play in the media player Transana will use? On OS X, Transana will use the QuickTime player for all formats. On Windows, Transana will use the QuickTime player for *.mov, *.mp4, and *.m4v video files and will use Windows Media Player for other media formats. If the media file will not play in the media player, it won’t work in Transana without conversion or the installation of the appropriate video and codecs.
(NOTE: Apple recently announced that it is ending support for QuickTime for Windows, but Transana’s ability to support *.mov and *.m4v files depends on the QuickTime player being available. *.mp4 files can be played through Windows Media Player.
Second, Transana needs to be able to extract the audio from your media file so that it can create the waveform file displayed in the Visualization Window. It can do this with many audio encodings. One option here is to re-encode your media files in a more Transana-friendly format. (See theMedia Conversion ScreenCast as a place to start.) Alternatively, you can work with Transana without a waveform diagram, and it may be possible for you to do manual audio extraction.
Please note that MP3 audio format is not recommended for cross-platform environments. The same spot in the same MP3 file is assigned different time code values on Windows and OS X. Thus, time codes and clips created on one platform will not represent the correct media file location on the other platform. If the time codes were produce on Windows, Mac users can convert the MP3 file to WAV format and the time codes will line up correctly. (This suggests that the QuickTime player on OS X is not processing time locations correctly for MP3 files.)
Does Transana support HD video? -OR- Why is my video playback jerky and uneven or skipping?
High Definition (HD) video is not particularly suited for analysis in Transana or any other qualitative analysis package.
Very high resolution video requires a lot of processing, most of which is unnecessary because the video displayed within Transana is much smaller than HD resolution allows. Your computer processor puts so much attention into rendering the high-quality video that it can’t display it smoothly, and not enough processing power is left for Transana’s needs.
Typically, an image width of 800 pixels or smaller is desirable (unless you need to look at subtleties such as facial expression and posture), and a video bitrate of 2,500 for single media files and less for multiple simultaneous video files works best.
Transana includes a Media Conversion tool to help re-encode video files into a format that works well in Transana. See the Media Conversion ScreenCast. Users with versions of Transana earlier than 2.50 can accomplish the same thing with video editing or conversion software.
Most users choose to use the Transana Media Conversion tool to make a lower resolution copy of their video for analysis, while keeping the HD version for other uses.
Is there a workaround that allows Transana to work with unsupported video?
Starting with Transana 2.50, Transana includes a Media Conversion tool. If your video doesn’t work, try converting it, as described in the Media Conversion ScreenCast. The process is fast and simple, so you can convert multiple media files very quickly. This often solves the problem.
I hear that QuickTime Player on Windows is a security risk and is being discontinued. What should I do?
Transana for Windows has relied on the QuickTime Player for many years to display video in MOV, MP4, and M4V formats. Older versions of Transana would crash if QuickTime was not present, although that problem was solved several years ago.
Here’s what you need to do:
Remove QuickTime Player from your computer. MOV, MP4, and M4V video files will no longer work in Transana. If you don’t need these formats and your copy of Transana doesn’t crash, you might be done.
Upgrade to Transana 3.01 or later. Old versions of Transana crash if the QuickTime player isn’t present. But versions as recent as version 3.00 can’t play MP4 video, which is a very common format (and the format that Transana’s Media Conversion tool produces) without the QuickTime Player.
In version 3.01, go to Options > Program Settings > Transcriber Settings tab. Under “MP4 Media Player Selection”, change to “Windows Media Player backend”. (Transana 3.10 and later should default to this new setting.)
MP4 videos will now work. If you have MOV or M4V video files, you will need to use the Media Conversion tool to convert them to MP4 format.
Unfortunately, it appears that Windows Media Player cannot play multiple video files simultaneously the way the QuickTime player can. That means that for the moment, if you want to use multiple simultaneous media files, you will need to install the QuickTime Player and use the QuickTime Player back end. In this case, you should only use video files that you know are safe from security issues.
Where does Transana store my data? or I've been looking for my transcript file and I can't find it
There are two kinds of data to consider when thinking about these questions.
First, there are your raw data files, the image and media files you are analyzing. Transana doesn’t store these files in the database; it just remembers where they are on your system. You will find those files in the location where you saved them.
Second, there is all your analytic data, including your documents, transcripts, keywords, quote and clip records, etc. Transana stores all of this analytic data in a database. Documents are imported into the database because editing these documents has major implications for Quotes so Transana cannot allow the data to be edited outside of Transana. Transcripts are also stored in the database and are not automatically saved as separate files.
Where that database is located by default depends on which version of Transana you use and what operating system you use. Of course, you have the option of moving the data location if you choose.
With Transana Multiuser, your database is stored on the server you connect to. You don’t have a local copy of the database files.
Single-user Transana, both Basic / Standard and Professional versions
This gets a little complicated. Sorry about that.
3.00 and later
2.40 – 2.61
2.20 – 2.30
C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_USER_NAME\Application Data\Transana 2\databases.
2.00 – 2.12
C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_USER_NAME\Application Data\Transana 2\databases.
N / A
1.0 to 1.24
N / A
For Transana 2.00 to 2.61, the actual location of the files depends on the FIRST Transana version you used, not the last. As a result, the easiest way to find your data is to look at Transana’s Database Directory setting. On Windows, select the “Options” menu, then choose “Program Settings.” On the Mac, go to the Transana menu and choose “Preferences.” Look at the setting for the database directory to see where your current database files are located.
Database File Structure:
For Transana 3.00 and later, each database is stored in a separate file named after the database with a “*.db” file extension.
For Transana 2.00 to 2.61, most of your data is stored in a file called “ibdata1” and a couple of other related files. The structure for each database is stored in a series of “*.frm” files stored in subdirectories named after your individual databases. All files must be in place or the data may not be accessible. You can’t just copy some of the files; copying the database is an all-or-nothing proposition.
How do I back up by data?
To back up your Transana data, you should always close Transana first. Then you need to do two things. You need to back up your Transana database, and you need to back up your videos.
To back up your Transana database:
First determine where the database is stored.
For Transana 3.00 and later, you can back up individual *.db files.
For Transana 2.00 – 2.61, back up the entire database folder, including all subfolders. (Transana 2 stores most of your data in a file called “ibdata1” regardless of what database it’s actually part of, so you can’t just back up one database out of many by backing up only some of the files.)
(If you are using Transana 2.30 or earlier on Windows 2000 or Windows XP, be sure that your backup software is set to back up hidden folders, as the “Applications Data” folder on those versions of Windows is hidden by the operating system.)
An alternate method of backing up your database would be to do a Database Export, then store the resulting Transana XML file elsewhere, or make it part of your backup.
As for backing up your video, that can be an issue because of the size of the files. There are many options, but that’s really beyond the scope of this web site. (Consider using an external hard drive as a way to back up your videos.) It is important to recognize that copies of your video files are not stored in the Transana database.
One final note. Always keep a copy of your backups off-site, in another location. A disaster, such as fire or flood, can happen to anyone.
I want to access my data from several computers. Is that possible? Do I need to buy more than one copy of Transana to do that?
The best approach to take depends on your reasons behind wanting to use multiple computers. The individual researcher, the research team, and the institution all have different needs, and there are different versions of Transana for addressing these different needs.
There are two primary obstacles you will run into trying to use the single-user version of Transana from multiple computers. First, you need to make your media files available to all the computers involved. Second, you will need to make the Transana database available to all computers. Media files are huge and databases need special safety precautions in place if they’re going to be available to more than one computer at once.
If you are a solo researcher who just wants to be able to work on your data from the office and from home, one option is to put Transana and your data on a laptop. Alternately, you can put your media files and your Transana database on a portable hard drive and configure your home and office computers to access the data on that portable drive. You can try copying database files from one computer to the other, but some people have trashed their databases and lost all their analytic work by doing this wrong. I don’t recommend it. (It’s much easier with Transana 3.00 and higher than with 2.61 and lower.) In addition, file sharing services like DropBox, Box, Copy, etc. ARE NOT compatible with the Transana database, although (if it’s okay with your IRB) they do work for sharing media files.
Technically, the purchase of one copy of the single-user version of Transana allows installation on a single computer. If you will never have both copies of Transana running at the same time, there’s no need to make a second purchase. However, if you want to have someone transcribe for you one one computer while you analyze on the other at the same time, you need to purchase two copies of Transana. And if you want to access your data from more than two computers, it’s only fair that you should purchase more than one copy of Transana.
You should never try to access a single-user Transana database from more than one computer at the same time. This can lead to database corruption with the accompanying loss of all of your Transana data.
Transana has a multi-user version, designed for collaborative research. With this version, you can access the same database from multiple computers at the same time, and all researchers can see others’ changes to the data in real time. (The multi-user version has safeguards that prevent the problems described in the previous paragraph.) However, the multi-user version of Transana requires you to set up a server, which requires a level of technical skill and institutional support, or you will need a subscription to the Transana Cloud Service. One multi-user purchase allows access to your project data from many computers.
If you tell me more about your situation using the contact form and what’s behind your need for multiple computers, I can make a more specific recommendation.
Can I use single-user Transana with DropBox, Box, or similar services to share the database between computers?
No. We have seen instances where people tried to put their Transana database in a DropBox folder and the database became corrupted. The file synchronizing methodology used by these sites isn’t compatible with databases.
My research project involves people who are working in different locations. Can Transana help us collaborate on our analysis?
Yes, Transana Multiuser was designed with this purpose in mind. It has all the powerful tools of Transana Professional and allows a research team to upload, transcribe, code and analyze the same data from anywhere with an internet connection. Read about Transana Multiuser here.
Is it possible to buy Transana for use in a computer lab, where they wipe the hard drives every night?
Yes. There’s a computer lab version of Transana Professional designed specifically for labs with shared computers where users are not allowed to save their data locally. Users will need to use and save data on a network drive or on their own portable storage devices. Get in touch with us through the Contact Form for more information.
Are there foot pedals that work with Transana?
For a foot pedal to work with Transana, you need to be able to assign key codes to the different foot pedal switches. There are “programmable” foot pedals that handle this through hardware, such as the X-keys foot pedal. There are also software drivers that claim to serve the same function, but which tend to work only with certain brands of foot pedals.
Is there a way to export Transana data to a statistical package for mixed-methods analysis?
Yes. You simply right-click a Document, Episode, or Collection and choose “Analytic Data Export.” Then follow the dialogs through the process of specifying an output file name and applying a filter to the output.
This process produces a tab delimited text file that includes Quote and Clip information as well as information about the coding that has been applied to those Quotes and Clips. Still image analytic data requires a different format and is not exportable at this time.
What about a version of Transana for my iPad, Android tablet, or smart phone?
This is highly unlikely for several reasons. Tablets and smartphones are very useful tools, but they’re not adequate substitutes for full-featured computers for some tasks.
First, the keyboardless user interface of a tablet really isn’t adequate to handle the complex tasks one does with Transana.
Second, tablet devices don’t have adequate storage space for much video data, severely limiting the amount of analysis that could be done.
Finally, to create a tablet version of Transana would take a complete rewrite of the software. iOS and Android are very different software development environments than Windows and OS X. Tablets don’t easily support databases as complex as Transana’s. They don’t support many media formats, and they don’t support the sort of connectivity that would be required for accessing a network-based video library.
What is the appropriate reference for Transana that I should include in my scholarly work?
Woods, D, and Fassnacht, C. (2018). Transana v3.21. https://www.transana.com. Madison, WI: Spurgeon Woods LLC.
(Please adapt this reference to the correct version number.)
An alternative that perhaps fits the The Style Manual of the APA a bit better might be:
Transana 3.21 [Computer software]. (2018). Madison, WI: Spurgeon Woods LLC. Available: https://www.transana.com
For what it’s worth, the developers prefer the former, as they really did design the interface and functionality of the program and have done the bulk of the actual coding over the years.