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Research software on Research Commons computers


During COVID-19, Research Commons' services continue.

SFU graduate students are encouraged to book consultations with the Research Commons staff and partners. Consultations are available by phone, via email, or through online video-conference.

Not finding what you're looking for? Please get in touch with us at so we can discuss your research support needs. 


General information about access to software for graduate students

SFU Library computers offer a suite of research software. Additional software is available on the computers in the Research Commons.  

*Consultations and support are available for software showing an asterisk (*). Contact for further information.

SFU IT Services maintains lists of software available at the student computer labs on Burnaby, Surrey, and Vancouver campuses. Remote access to computer lab software is available.

Many software items are available to students, faculty, and staff to download or purchase for personal, departmental, or lab use. Due to campus license agreements, not all downloads are available to everyone. Check out the IT Services’ Software Downloads & Licenses site for details.

Have a suggestion for software you'd like to see on the Research Commons computers? We want to hear from you! Please email us at

Multimedia software

Adobe Creative Cloud 2018 [Available on all Library and Library lab computers]
The Creative Cloud suite includes Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, InDesign, Bridge, Dreamweaver, Audition, Acrobat, After Effects, Animate, Prelude, Media Encoder, and Muse. Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Acrobat Distiller are also available.

Sketchup Makeup [Available only on Research Commons computers.]
Sketchup Makeup is a free 3-dimensional modeling program designed for rapid prototyping, engineering schematics, architectural design, and for game wireframe meshes.

VLC media player
VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

Data and statistics software

Beyond 20/20 Professional Browser
The Beyond 20/20 Professional Browser is a desktop environment for data distribution. It presents data in a friendly, easy-to-understand format and enables data users to view, chart, map, analyze, export, print, and save data, quickly and easily. Multi-dimensional data and micro-data files can be analyzed on the desktop using Professional Browser, and disseminated on CD-ROM.

EViews offers access to statistical, forecasting, and modeling tools through an object-oriented interface.

FME Desktop [Available only on Research Commons computers.]
FME Desktop is designed to manage, migrate, integrate, and restructure large data sets.

A statistical discovery software from SAS for linking statistics with graphics on the desktop and producing visual representations of data.

A mathematical software package used principally for symbolic computation in algebra and calculus; performs algebraic operations on symbolic expressions, differentiates and integrates them as formulae, and solves many types of equations symbolically.

MATLAB is a technical computing language and interactive environment for algorithm development, data visualization, data analysis and numeric computation.

Minitab is a statistical and graphical analysis software package. It can be utilized interactively to provide data manipulation and statistical analysis for data sets. Data values are held in a temporary worksheet of rows and columns for viewing and manipulation.

NVivo is a software package that helps with management and analysis of qualitative information. NVivo allows users to track and code data, and create models to help organize research. Also available for download on personal computers for SFU researchers.

SAS is a widely-used statistical software product used for analyzing and modeling data.

SPSS (also known as IBM SPSS Statistics) is a software package used for statistical analysis. It can execute descriptive and inferential statistics quickly and easily.

Tableau Desktop [available on computers in Burnaby Library Lab 2105]
Tableau Desktop is a data visualization package; it allows users to manipulate views of datasets and present them in different ways. Students can request a one-year student license as part of the Tableau for Students program. Request your license.


ArcGIS is a GIS application for the visualization and analysis of geographic data via the creation of maps. Also available for download on personal computers for SFU researchers.

Google Earth Pro* [Available only on Research Commons computers.]
A powerful geovisualization program that allows for the import of geospatial data files. 

IDRISI [Available only on Research Commons computers.]
IDRISI is an integrated raster-based GIS and image processing software used for the analysis and display of spatial information.

QGIS* [Available only on Research Commons computers.]
QGIS, an open source GIS application, is an alternative to ArcGIS. Available on Macs and PCs in the Research Commons. 

Programming software

Python* [Available only on Research Commons computers.]
Python is a popular language for scientific computing, and great for general-purpose programming as well.

R / RStudio*
R is a freely available open source statistical language that is used for data manipulation, data visualization, and statistical analyses. It is powerful, platform independent, and extensible.

Citation management software

Free citation management software that lets users collect, organize, cite, and share citations, as well as format bibliographies in a wide variety of styles. See our Citation Management Software guide for more details.

Free citation management software that lets users collect, organize, cite, and share citations, as well as format bibliographies in a wide variety of styles. See our Citation Management Software guide for more details. 

Sciences software

Mnova (Mestre Nova) is a cutting-edge NMR data processing and presentation package, with extra features like spectral estimation (NMR prediction) built in. The style is user-friendly, and Mnova supports all the common NMR data formats.

ChemDraw is the drawing tool of choice for creating professional and meaningful drawings of molecules and reactions.

Special text editors

LyX [Available only on Research Commons computers.]
LyX is a graphical layout editor and document processor, one of many front-ends to the TeX markup language.

MikTeX [Available only on Research Commons computers.]
MikTeX is an editor designed specifically for the editing of TeX documents. Notepad++ is also suitable for this purpose.

OxygenXML is an editor designed specifically for the editing of XML documents. Notepad++ is also suitable for this purpose.  SFU staff, students, and faculty can obtain an Oxygen license through the Library.  Contact Rebecca Dowson for more information.

Version control software

TortoiseSVN [Available only on Research Commons computers.]
TortoiseSVN is a Subversion client, integrated into the Windows shell that will interact with remote and local SVN source control repositories.