Macintosh statistical software

Jamovi: capable, easy free Mac statistics software

Current Version: 0.8x (requires OS 10.9+, Windows Vista+, or Linux)
Listing updated: 11/2017; program updated 9/2017

Jamovi: A free, open source package, built on top of an R foundation (Thanks, Dr. Kim-Oliver Tietze). Don’t let that put you off: unlike most interfaces for R, Jamovi uses a simple spreadsheet interface with full graphics. You can edit via spreadsheet; and your data, analyses, and options are saved in a single file, so others can reproduce your work. A large number of analyses are easy to find, or you can use R syntax.


Jamovi is in some ways a continuation of JASP. From their web site:

Originally we worked together as (lead) developers and designers of the JASP project, a project that focuses on making Bayesian statistics more accessible. However we found that our goals and ambitions consistently went beyond the scope of JASP, and decided the best way to move forward was to found a new project...

I played with the software briefly, and found that the results were attractive (see above), with menus that will be familiar to any SPSS users — and with many options. Unlike SPSS, when you add an option, it doesn’t rerun everything and create a huge amount of new output; for example, in the illustration above, we clicked on the “Adjusted R2” option and it was immediately added to the existing screen. That’s a major improvement.

Data can be imported from CSV; in the future, Excel, SPSS, and LibreOffice are to be supported directly. Installation of the software is by “drag-copy” — drag it out of the download image and into the desired folder. The interface is exactly the same, regardless of platform — Windows, Mac, Linux. Speed was quite satisfactory using our survey file.

A “syntax mode” (enable it by clicking on the three dots at the right-side of the blue stripe) shows the generated R syntax for each menu command, helping you to learn R syntax or make scripts to reproduce the same actions over and over (a feature introduced long ago, on SPSS 4 — the first SPSS that ran on the Mac.) At the moment, syntax does not allow data importing.

Jamovi is fast, but doesn’t fully use the Mac interface (for example, its menus are kept within its own window instead of at the top of the screen; more annoyingly, the open/save dialogue box is very different, though it does show shortcuts for the documents, downloads, desktop, and home folders.) You can, however, drag and drop data files onto it — saving time.

Developer Jonathon Love pointed us to the huge Jamovi library, which, in the library’s words, is a public space or ‘app store’ where you can download modules important to your work.” He wrote, “Our jamovi library is pretty significant — right at the core of what we do ... creating and empowering the community.”

The program is almost 600 megabytes in size, due largely to the integrated software — R, Electron, Mantle, Python, and ReactiveCoca. The Exploration menu wasn’t functional when we tried it out; and we haven’t yet run it with our large sample dataset to compare results with other software.

Jamovi home page (downloads) • Other free Mac statistics packagesPASTJASP

Unsigned software

The developers do not pay Apple $99 per year for an account, so they are not “signed” by Apple. You can’t open this software by double-clicking; instead, right-click (on one-button mice, hold down the control button while clicking), and select Open from the contextual menu. You will get the scary dialogue box; fill it out if you want to run the software. The system should remember your choice and should not ask you again unless you update the software, and you can double-click to run from here on.

override unsigned software

If you don’t even get that far, go to your System Preferences, click on Security & Privacy (first row, looks like a house), go to the General tab, unlock the preference (click on the lock, bottom left), and then select “Allow apps downloaded from App Store and identified developers.” This, again, only has to be done once.

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