Access to software for SFU researchers

SFU researchers have access to a wide range of software. Depending on the software product, access may be via:

  • SFU Library computers, in person and/or remotely
  • Research Commons computers (in both Research Commons locations)
  • SFU computer labs: 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 also available.
  • Download or purchase: Many software items are available to students, faculty, and staff to download or purchase for personal, departmental, or lab use. Note: Due to campus license agreements, not all downloads are available to everyone. Check out the IT Services’ Software Downloads & Licenses site for details.

The Research Commons provides consultations and other support for selected software -- look for the   icon
Contact us at for more information.

Multimedia software

Adobe Creative Cloud 2018 
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.

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.

Covidence is a web-based literature review tool that will help you through the process of screening your references, data extraction, and keeping track of your work.

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.

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  
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 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

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 Mac 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 SFU Library's Digital Humanities Innovation Lab at for more information.


Consultations, requests, and more Research Commons support

Consultations and help:

  • The Research Commons provides support for software marked with 
  • Follow links for the specific software for more information, or contact us at

Requests and suggestions:

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