Colectica desktop applications

The Colectica platform is a set of desktop and server applications designed to help with the creation, viewing, editing, and dissemination of DDI metadata records. The desktop applications are as follows:

  • Colectica for Excel is a plugin for Microsoft Excel versions 2007, 2010 and 2013, that allows the user to document columns more fully and export that documentation as DDI metadata or a narrative report.
  • Colectica Reader is an application for validating DDI metadata and displaying the XML attractively on screen.
  • Colectica Express is a tool for managing statistical metadata, desigining surveys and questionnaires, publishing documentation, and converting metadata to DDI format.
  • Colectica Designer extends the functionality of Colectica Express with version control, integration with Colectica server applications, support for computer-assisted interviewing systems, and user authentication.


Colectica is a commercial company providing the Colectica platform and associated services.

Licensing and cost

Colectica software is closed source. Colectica for Excel and Colectica Reader may be downloaded and used for free. The Express and Designer applications are price-on-application for a perpetual licence; at the time of writing Designer was available on subscription for US$59 per month. Free trials are available.

Development activity

Version 5 of the platform was released on 6 November 2014.

Platform and interoperability

The Colectica desktop applications only run on Windows.

Functional notes

Colectica for Excel, Express and Designer can generate documentation reports in PDF, Rich Text, and HTML; the Excel version can also generate XSL-FO format. All three can import SPSS and Stata data files. The Express and Designer applications can generate variable definitions and labels for use in R, SAS, SPSS and Stata.

Documentation and user support

Manuals for the software are available. Colectica also provides helpdesk support to customers.


The desktop applications all offer graphical user interfaces.

For command-line tools, a separate Colectica Toolkit is available; the DDI 3 Validator tool from that collection is free to download and use.

Expertise required

No specific knowledge is needed to install and use the tools.

Standards compliance

The Colectica desktop applications are mainly based around the DDI Lifecycle versions 3.1-3.2 and Codebook metadata standards.

Influence and takeup

No information about takeup was available at the time of writing, though an International Colectica User Conference is held annually.

Last reviewed: 
20 November, 2014