Alumni & Friends - Ways to get involved and give back

(Digital) Tools of the trade

The following items may be useful to current IDS students in the development, research, and authoring of their thesis.

Writing Software


  • Free, drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office
  • Open source (You can get it for free without stealing it).
  • Windows, Mac, Linux


  • Writing environment using unique full-screen writing to allow you to stay on task.
  • Import all of your sources into the one project to have everything you need at hand.
  • Not free (reduced price for students)
  • Windows, Mac, Linux (beta)

Data Backup


  • Fully encrypted, reliable data storage and backup, essential in areas where viruses, theft and weather threaten your computer.
  • Ability to sync and share files
  • 3GB free storage (must use referral link above, otherwise 2GB)
  • Students pay half the regular price for storage.
  • Free client
  • Windows, Mac, Linux


  • Store files in a single ‘Dropbox’ folder to be uploaded to the cloud
  • Sync files between computers
  • Highly recommended to be used with an encryption solution below.


  • Offline backup, encryption and compression software
  • Runs from a USB device or hard drive
  • Windows, Linux (with Wine)

Data Encyption


  • On the fly encryption
  • Encrypt entire disks, partitions, or make encrypted virtual ‘container drives’
  • Excellent documentation
  • Free, Open Source
  • Windows, Mac, Linux


  • File encryption software for individual files
  • Compress, encrypt, decrypt, store, send
  • Free, Open Source
  • Windows Only


  • See above (backup)

Transcription Software

Express Scribe

  • Allows for speed control of audio file during transcription using keyboard media keys.
  • Free version (Pro version not free)
  • Windows, Mac

TAMS Analyzer

  • See below (QDA)

Reference Management


  • Citations manager, allows you to save citation information, and sync it to Zotero servers.
  • Plug-in for MS Office and LibreOffice allows direct insertion of citations and bibliography (automatically formatted).
  • Available as a Firefox add-on or a Standalone Program (beta – recommended).
  • Free
  • Windows, Mac, Linux


  • Online citations manager, allows you to save citation information and generate bibliographies.
  • No need to install, works from your web-browser.
  • Available free to U of T Students

Qualitative Data Analysis

Weft QDA

  • QDA software allowing you to code documents in .pdf or .txt format.
  • Poor support for PDF formatting
  • Open source (You can get it for free without stealing it; note that development has halted on this product).
  • Windows, Linux (requires compilation)

TAMS Analyzer

  • QDA software
  • Text, PDF, and image support
  • Built-in transcription software
  • Open Source
  • Mac, Linux


  • Professional QDA Software allowing you to code documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, audio, video and pictures.
  • Not free (reduced price for students)
  • Windows, Mac (via Bootcamp or a VM)