Macintosh statistical software

Free statistics software for Macintosh computers (Macs)

Updated 10/6/2019

What about cryptographic signing and error messages when you try to install free statistical software for Macs? See our “signing page.” ... and does this work on Mojave? Is it signed and 64-bit?

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Free and promising general statistics software (in no particular order)

PSPP: Promising clone of SPSS

Current Version: 1.2.0-1
Listing updated 8/27/2019
Last known software update: April 10, 2019 (Mac version)
Note: “built and tested for MacOS 10.13.6,” not later versions;unsigned software

PSPP is a free SPSS clone with a Mac port you can download from this site (it’s unsigned). This is also in MacPorts. The Mac port uses GTK+ Quartz for imaging, while the MacPorts version uses X11 and may be a bit tougher to run.

Like SPSS, PSPP is aimed at social scientists, business people, and students, with a convenient, easy to learn interface. It is not quite as easy to install as it could be, unless you run Linux, in which case it's constantly updated and easy to install.

The interface is similar to SPSS, though there are some oddities from the Linux background (including, like SPSS itself, putting menus into the windows and not in the menubar; and using its own version of the open/save dialogue box) It includes common folders in the open/save box, including Desktop, Home, and disk root, but (as one example) lacks such niceties as Dropbox and whatever custom folders you have in your normal Finder sidebar.

PSPP imports SPSS data files, long variable names, and variable and value labels. PSPP is much faster than SPSS itself; common options are included in some dialogue boxes without the need to dig deeper, another improvement over the original. Development seemed to accelerate in the last few years.

pspp

On the down side, there are not quite as many tests and functions as one may like (it's still expanding); and, while you can copy from the output window, you have to copy from the left-hand list, not from the main pane. The output window yields plain-text, delimited by spaces and pipes, just as SPSS 4 did—okay, it’s a little nicer in PSPP. Still, that’s not ideal for importing to spreadsheets or word processors, unless you’re really, really good at using BBEdit. There’s also no way to clear anything from the output window; you have to use control keys instead of command keys.

pasted

Our getting-started guide for SPSS is also helpful for getting started with PSPP.

However, the capabilities are impressive, including (but not limited to) graphing, data transformation, crosstabs, tables, various t-tests, ANOVA, regressions, factor analysis, ROC curves, and nonparametric tests. Once one gets used to using it, it’s a fine way to avoid spending thousands of dollars on the big cheese—even if it’s chasing a decade-old version of IBM’s stats package.

Jamovi: deceptively powerful

Current Version: 1.12 current or 1.08 solid
Listing updated: 8/2019; program August 2019
Cryptographically signed by Apple

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: Jamovi uses a simple spreadsheet interface with full graphics, and while it allows you to use syntax, you can also use menus. 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

The results are attractive (see above), with menus that will be familiar to any SPSS users — and with many options. Copying and pasting output is cleverly done; right-click on a section of output, and you can paste it into Word as a nicely formatted table. Paste into BBEdit, and it will be plain-text, formatted with spaces. Plots can also be copied and pasted, but seem to be limited to screen resolution; there are three built in plot themes, including an SPSS-clone one.

A syntax mode 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, ... except for importing data. Data can be imported in numerous ways, including formatted SPSS files and, according to the programmers, SAS and Stata files. When we imported an SPSS file, variable labels came through, but not value labels.

Jamovi is fairly fast, but (like PSPP) doesn’t fully use the Mac interface; its menus are kept within its own window instead of at the top of the screen, and the open/save dialogue box is very different, though it does show shortcuts for the documents, downloads, desktop, and home folders (it also has the odd new Microsoft approach to open/save/print, creating a whole new window/interface for it). You can, however, drag and drop data files onto it — saving time.

Developer Jonathon Love pointed us to the Jamovi library of extra procedures. (Stepwise regression is not built in.)

The program is almost 700 megabytes in size, due largely to the integrated software — R, Electron, Mantle, Python, and ReactiveCoca. We haven’t yet run it with our large sample dataset to compare results with other software, but since it’s based on R, it should be accurate and in line with other packages.

Dive more deeply into Jamovi (full MacStats review).

Past: an absurdly wide-ranging, easy to use package

Current Version: 3.24 (Windows version, 3.26)
Listing updated: 8/2019 (program updated August 2019)
Not signed by Apple (you may see a warning)

Past is free software for scientific data analysis, with functions for data manipulation, plotting, univariate and multivariate statistics, ecological analysis, time series and spatial analysis, morphometrics and stratigraphy.” That said, Dennis Helsel wrote, “While its name shows its origin (Paleontology), it is a full-fledged stat package which includes multivariate and permutation tests, with a nice interface.” There is good support for geographical and map-based statistics.

past statistics

When Dennis says “full-fledged,” he isn’t kidding — the range of this software is stunning. Yet, the download is a mere 24 MB — far, far, far less than many others. What’s more, every new version brings a wide range of new features.

Our test file imported in less than a second, but be warned that import formats are limited and exclude SPSS files. Summary statistics came in a fraction of a second on a laptop. Linear correlations were instant; Kendall’s tau took a while. If you use a really, really large file, it can choke the software, because it doesn’t seem to take advantage of multiple processors, and there’s no apparent way to stop an ongoing process, so save often if you have a massive amount of data. Our survey file never caused more than a slight pause. Dive more deeply into PAST (full MacStats review).

JASP: making R more accessible

Current Version: 0.11 (requires OS 10.12+)
Listing updated: October 2019; program updated Sept-Oct 2019
Not signed by Apple (you may see a warning)

JASP was created as “a low fat alternative to SPSS, a delicious alternative to R,” and comes out of the University of Amsterdam (presumably “low-fat” refers to cost, rather than its 650MB weight).

JASP is not yet at version 1 and may be used with caution; it also requires the free XQuartz window environment. It does use the native open/save dialogue box, surprisingly (it’s the only one of our open-source “majors” that does); and it’s easy to install. It would be very nice if it was signed.

jasp t-tests

The software looks and feels like SPSS; though it isn’t native Mac software, it feels more native than some of SPSS’ past versions. Calculations and screen drawing are far, far, far faster than in “real SPSS” — when you select the tests, they might actually be pumped out before your finger is fully off the mouse.

We loaded our test file instantly — and ran descriptives instantly. Survey researchers will be happy to know they can assign value labels — and unhappy to know they must be done variable by variable, without syntax. The labels are retroactively applied to whatever is in the output window, very rapidly. Unfortunately, too, variable labels cannot be changed so easily—nor is there a clear way to compute new variables. Presumably one has to export the data, make the changes, and bring it back again.

JASP is still being developed fairly quickly.

Dive more deeply into JASP (full MacStats review).

Other free general statistics software

SageMath

64-bit compatible
Current Version: 8.7
Listing updated: 4-1-19
Size: 3.5 GB (yes, GB)

SageMath is not specifically for statistics; it’s general math software, but it has the ability to do numerous statistical processes including graphing/plotting. It can be used for just about any type of math, and can be used either with the command line or or from a web browser. You can install it onto a server if you want, and create embedded graphics, typset-style math expressions, and more; it also includes sharing. The program was designed for both education and research. It is not a typical Mac program; it has a command line element and is accessed from browsers.

SageMath was built atop existing packages including NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib, Sympy, Maxima, GAP, FLINT, and R.

MacAnova

Configurations Available: Intel processors (10.6+)
Current Version: 5.06/5
Signed but not 64-bit
Listing updated: August 2019

MacAnova is a free, noncommercial, interactive statistical analysis program developed by Gary Oehlert and Christopher Bingham of the University of Minnesota School of Statistics. Their web site notes:

MacAnova has many capabilities but its strengths are analysis of variance and related models, matrix algebra, time series analysis (time and frequency domain), and (to a lesser extent) uni- and multi-variate exploratory statistics. MacAnova has a functional/command oriented interface. The Macintosh and Windows versions also have several window/menu/mouse type features. Although the language and syntax are S-like, MacAnova is not S or R.

MacAnova is now Intel native, and there is source code available. We found the program started up very quickly on a Intel Mini and had a fairly good menu system, which output visible code that we could copy and manipulate, or save and run later. It is almost similar to SPSS 4 in that regard, though better integrated into the system and lacking a separate output window. This is certainly worth a download. MacANOVA includes linear model and GLM routines.

Note from October 2018 August 2019: the web site has not been updated for a while, but the software apparently has been. Unless you really need something unique in it, though, you can probably do well elsewhere, since development is minimal.

Regress+

Current Version: 2.8 (updated May 2019; prior version was dated May 2017)
Listing updated: August 2019
64-bit, signed, works well in Mojave

Michael McLaughlin’s Regress+ is a free package that includes regression, stochastic modeling, bootstrapping and robust goodness of fit measures. The software and a tutorial are available at the Regress+ web site. Older versions are still available for older operation systems, while version 2.5 is available for OS X and 9.2.

The program is accompanied by full documentation in PDF form which doubles as a statistics reference guide.

Regress+ 2.7, née Regress+ 3.0, was a complete rewrite; it added data modeling (equations and distributions), extensive documentation, and publication quality graphics. Regress+ 2.8 was a substantial upgrade.

This program appears to cover every aspect of regression you can think of. It's graphically oriented but has strong statistics. The code is “more than 100 times faster than before [2.7].”

SOFA Statistics

Version 1.46; Listing updated August 2019; Code updated 11/2017
Windows, Linux versions at version 1.52 as of 7/2019
Not signed; 64-bit

SOFA Statistics (Statistics Open For All) emphasizes ease of use, discoverability, and clean reporting. It can connect directly to database sources, or use data brought in from spreadsheets. The usual statistical processes are available, including one-way ANOVA, t-tests, signed ranks, chi-square, and R; nested tables can be produced with row and column percentages, totals, standard deviations, means, medians, and sums.

SOFA

SOFA Statistics is written in Python, using a wxPython widget toolkit. Statistics come via the Scipy stats module. Analysis and reporting can be automated using Python scripts, either exported from SOFA or written by hand.

Data can be brought in from Google spreadsheets and CSV files. Dynamic charts use html, SVG, and Javascript. This project was under rapid development for a while, but updates have slowed down. The last blog entry was in January 2017, and there were just two in 2016, following a fairly busy 2009-2015. I was unable to open the latest SOFA in High Sierra in November 2018; the program opened and immediately crashed. Note: Same in July 2019. However, Windows and Linux versions are still good. Preparing to move to dead software page.

Statistics101

Configurations: Requires Java; should work on Intel and PPC Macs
Current Version: 4.9
Listing updated: 8/2019
Software updated: 1/30/2019
Not signed

Statistics101 is giftware to help teach probability and statistics the easy way—by simulation. “Gain deeper understanding of traditional statistics concepts and methods. Increase your awareness of the role of variability in probability and statistics. Learn and apply simple to very sophisticated statistical techniques without tables or complicated formulas.” Interprets and executes the simple “Resampling Stats” programming language. The original Resampling Stats language and computer program were developed by Dr. Julian Simon and Peter Bruce to teach statistics.

A somewhat steeper learning curve or tougher install

Salstat

Python software / Listing updated: 10/19/2018 / Software updated 2014
Last news on the web site is from 2014

Salstat dates back to the early 2000s and runs on Python; installing the free version on the Mac may require quite a bit of library-and-Python downloading, but a paid version makes everything easy. There is a reward to the work of installation, though, in a free program which makes highly presentable graphics, is relatively easy to use, provides a great deal of descriptive statistics with parametric and nonparametric tests, shows its own source code, does crosstabs, and “charts, imports CSV, HTML, XML, Excel, LibreOffice and SAS file formats, and can even scrape tables of data from web pages.” The source code listing claims a last-update date of 2014.

A post in April 2018 claimed the company was creating a new version of Salstat.

R (CRAN) / “R for Mac OS X” / R.App and R GUI

Current Version: 3.6; under active development
Signed, 64-bit, requires XQuartz
Listing updated 8/2019

This is an exceedingly flexible program, with a large number of libraries and built in routines, and the ability to run many S or S-Plus programs. R loads and runs quickly but has a steep learning curve.

R programs and algorithms are distributed by the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN). A simple and somewhat frustrating graphic user interface is included for Mac users; R Commander can be installed using the built-in package installer, which can also install file import features (which aren't installed by default). R Commander is an X11 program, which means it uses an alien interface and has odd open/save dialogues, but if you get past that it offers menu driven commands not dissimilar from, say, SPSS, just a lot more awkward to use, and without an output or data window.

There are now numerous front ends for R, several of which are mentioned earlier on this page.

R has a massive range of tests, PDF and PostScript output, a function to expand zip archives, and numerous other unexpected features. For much more information about R, including advantages, drawbacks, resources, and tips, see our incredibly outdated R statistics software for the Mac page.

R Studio

Current Version: 1.1x
Listing updated: 4/2018; program updated 3/2018
Signed by Apple

R Studio is commercial open-source software, designed for creating and managing R applications rather than, say, doing exploratory research or testing the odd hypothesis. With frills, it can get expensive, but without frills, it’s free. The Mac version seems to be developed at the same time as Linux and Windows versions. It’s a bit of a porker (500MB plus R itself at around 130MB) and requires a separate R download; R itself is updated regularly and has a signed Mac package.

r studio

When you first load R Studio, it tells you to go back and install R. Once you've done that and restarted, it finds R easily enough, and presents you with an integrated development environment (IDE). If you try to do something, such as importing SPSS data, that isn’t possible without further downloads, it automatically connects to the Internet and installs whatever you need. The user interface is Mac-standard in most ways — you get a menu at the top of the screen (as well as menus in the window itself), and the open/save dialogues are thankfully quite normal.

Though you can manage your R installation from R Studio, it’s a tool for dealing directly with syntax, and for managing projects; it’s not a beginner’s tool (as, say, Jamovi can be). R Studio never claims to be anything but an IDE, with many options and good operating-system integration.

Specialty tools

MacMCMC

Current Version: 1.0
Listing updated: 2/2019 (program updated 2/2019)
Signed, 64-bit; good for El Capitan through Mojave
Currently just 4.6 MB, no license; intended to become open source at a later date

From the writer of Regress+ comes a free, powerful program to analyze any kind of data. MacMCMC is part of a two-part set—the other part being a free ebook. Data can be imported from plain text (UTF-8). There are 27 built-in distributions, including 16 continuous, 8 discrete, and three homogeneous mixtures — Normal, Bivariate Normal, and Poisson; users can also define their own distributions. There are 15 built-in functions. Reports include MAP, mean, median, mode, and Gelman-Rubin; credible intervals; trace; plots of marginals; and trace comparison for selected chains. The program has other features, described on its web site, along with a sample input, data, model, and output.

Advantages of MacMCMC, in addition to its price, include being a complete standalone Mac program (hence its small size and fast operation); 100% Bayesian inference; parallel processing; and access to low-level options. Users can check for updates from a dropdown menu. The basic method of using the program is to set up the model via a simple text format, easily figured out from the examples or the ebook; load data (in ASCII format); run Compile, run Setup, change any parameters desired, and then run. That yields a plain-text report and a graph which can be adjusted as needed.

G*Power

Current Version: 3.194 / requires OS 10.7-10.13
Older versions: 680x0; PowerPC; OS X (Universal Binary); Windows and DOS
Listing updated: 8/2019 (program updated Feb, 2019)
Signed, 64-bit; no mention of Mojave

G*Power was developed by Axel Buchner to provide power analyses for the most common statistical tests in behavioral research: t-tests, F-tests (including ANOVA, regression, etc.), and Chi-squared tests. G*Power computes power values for sample sizes, effect sizes, and alpha levels; sample sizes for given effect sizes, alpha levels, and power values; and alpha and beta values for given sample sizes, effect sizes, and beta/alpha ratios. It is a remarkably small program, just over 2 MB in size. Updates (for both Mac and Windows) are slow, with nothing but bug-fixes since March 10, 2014. Version 3.1 itself dates back to 2009, though there were numerous improvements from 2009 to 2014.

gretl

gretl can do general statistical routines and many specialized ones; it is in our “special purpose and general math programs” page.

GMT (“The Generic Mapping Tools”)

open sourceCurrent version: 5.45
Program updated: Jan 4, 2019
Listing updated: 9-2-2019

Command-line tools that run on Unix-like systems, including Mac OS X. See https://github.com/GenericMappingTools/gmt for details. Many of the main developers, including Paul Wessel, use Mac OS X. From their site, GMT is...

... about 80 command-line tools for manipulating geographic and Cartesian data sets (including filtering, trend fitting, gridding, projecting, etc.) and producing PostScript illustrations ranging from simple x–y plots via contour maps to artificially illuminated surfaces and 3D perspective views; the GMT supplements add another 40 more specialized and discipline-specific tools. GMT supports over 30 map projections and transformations and requires support data such as GSHHG coastlines, rivers, and political boundaries and optionally DCW country polygons. GMT is developed and maintained by Paul Wessel, Walter H. F. Smith, Remko Scharroo, Joaquim Luis and Florian Wobbe, with help from a global set of volunteers, and is supported by the National Science Foundation. It is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3 or any later version.

Graphviz and Instaviz

open sourceConfigurations: PPC (older versions), 10.5+ (current)
Current Version: 2.20.3
Software updated prior to 7-7-13
Listing updated 9-2-2019

Graphviz is the AT&T open source drawing package. The Mac OS X version and the overall project have their own web sites. The OS X version uses the Aqua user interface. Prepare for a steep learning curve but it may be worth it if you have graphs you do frequently; not what I'd suggest for the occasional one-off though. Note that graphviz does not seem to have had any development for around six years, but Instaviz, an IOS version, is available on the Apple store; it has shape recognition so finger sketches can become graphs for flowchart.

The Graphviz (Mac version) description on their web site was last updated in April 2008. InstaViz, on the other hand, is selling for $8 on the App Store, and was last updated with version 3.8 in 2016.

gnuplot

open sourceConfigurations: PPC (older versions), Intel (current)
Current Version: 4.6.3
Listing updated: 7-7-13
Program updated: 4-18-13

gnuplot is open source scientific plotting software. It is available online from many sources

OpenEpi

Current Version: 2.2.1
Last update: 4-6-2013
Listing updated: 4-24-2018

open sourceKevin Sullivan’s open source OpenEpi software is available in four languages; unlike most software, it can be run from a web server or on a regular computer. The programs are written in Javascript and html and should be compatible with Macs and Linux and Windows machines. Test results are provided for each module to allow people to check reliability of their own setup. The software is set up for epidemiology and has numerous key statistics for that field, along with the usual means, medians, t-tests, ANOVAs, powers, etc.

StatCrunch

StatCrunch is a freely available for web-based use, currently without advertisements, with a $5 per user fee for use on your own server, or $5/six months. It has the usual range of basic statistics, from t-tests to regression to ANOVA and nonparametric tests, with a wide range of graphs also available, and works from Excel or text files. StatCrunch will also store your data within reason. For those with low budgets or infrequent needs, StatCrunch's fairly easy to use interface and price are extremely attractive (it also makes sharing data easy).

Libraries

Matplotlib

Free - open source - for Mac OS X
Current version: 1.2.1
Report updated: 7/2013

open sourceMatplotlib is a pure python plotting library with the goal of making publication quality plots using a syntax familiar to matlab users. The library uses Numeric for handling large data sets and supports a variety of output backend.

On August 28 2012, John D. Hunter, the creator of matplotlib, died from complications arising from cancer treatment, after a brief but intense battle with this terrible illness. Please consider making a donation to the John Hunter Memorial Fund.

SciPy

open sourceSciPy is a library of scientific tools for Python which supplements the Numeric module. SciPy includes modules for graphics and plotting, optimization, integration, special functions, signal and image processing, genetic algorithms, ODE solvers, and others.

VTK (Visualization Toolkit)

May be compiled from source code for OS X, Linux, etc
Latest version: 7.1
Listing updated 1/2017

open sourceThe Visualization ToolKit (VTK) is a system for 3D computer graphics, image processing, and visualization with several interface layers. In VTK applications can be written directly in C++, Tcl, Java, or Python.

“VTK supports a wide variety of visualization algorithms including scalar, vector, tensor, texture, and volumetric methods; and advanced modeling techniques like implicit modelling, polygon reduction, mesh smoothing, cutting, contouring, and Delaunay triangulation. Moreover, we have directly integrated dozens of imaging algorithms into the system so you can mix 2D imaging / 3D graphics algorithms and data.”

Also see:

About our test survey file

Our test survey file: The “survey file” has 1,000 cases, with 40 questions on a five-point scale, two irrelevant variables (screen width and height), and a couple of demographics (shown here as “job type” and “new or old hire”). We are planning to run the same tests on each package as time goes on.


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