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Software Purchasing and Recomendations

Software Purchasing and Recomendations


MSL IT can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars in software costs by directing you to the optimal licensing solution for you or your lab.  You may already have access to a licence for a piece of software and don't even know it.  Please consult us via email or a visit to our office before purchasing any software.  Below is a brief list of commonly requested software and information about it.


For UBC owned computers (PC or Mac), the most affordable way to license Adobe Products is through MSL IT.  Please consult the software licensing section on UBC IT's website for respective prices.  We highly recommend you also check out alternative software listed at the bottom of this page.  There are excellent free alternatives provided by the Open Source community.

Note: physical media purchase is an optional cost.  Usually we will simply create you a disk ourselves.

For personally owned computers, the most affordable way to license Adobe Products is through the UBC bookstore where you will get an educational discount.


MSL IT recommends and supports the following free anti-virus software.

Bioinformatics/Genomics Applications

Researchers who wish to use the WestGrid systems must apply for a WestGrid user account, giving information to establish their identity and their intended usage, and users must agree to abide by the WestGrid Conditions of Use. The WestGrid account is given to an individual and is not to be shared or delegated.

Please read the Conditions of Use page in this section. It explains who is eligible for a WestGrid account, what it may and may not be used for, and other requirements.

Please read the Getting an Account page in this section for the procedure to apply for an account.

The Resource Allocations page explains how computing and other resources are allocated between all the users.
Available Bioinformatics/Genomics Software:

Citation & Reference Managers

Not sure which Citation Manager is right for you? Take a look at the following features, and choose a workshop to attend. Remember, you can always come to more than one!  Check out the UBC Library for additional information on their recommendations, training, and workshops:


As university policy, we are to mitigate the privacy breaches due to loss or theft.  All computers whether personal or university-owned must be encrypted using full disk encryption.    



All UBC owned computers (PC or Mac) are entitled to the latest version of Microsoft Office (including Visio and Project if needed) through the UBC Microsoft Campus Agreement

Home Use Program

UBC employees with personally owned systems are entitled to access the inexpensive Microsoft Home Use Program.  If you are assigned a computer to do your work at UBC, and that computer is owned by UBC, you can purchase a Microsoft Office license for home use online directly from Microsoft (approximate cost between $10 - $40 USD). This permits you to run Microsoft Office on a personally owned machine (PC or Mac). For information on how to get Microsoft Office via the Home Use Program, please contact us.

If you purchase Microsoft Office under the Home Use program, you must uninstall and discontinue use of Microsoft Office from your personally-owned computer when you leave employment of UBC or if the Campus Agreement ends.

The Home Use Program does not apply to any other software except Microsoft Office.


All UBC owned computers with an existing license for Microsoft Windows (any version) are entitled to an upgrade to the latest version through the UBC Microsoft Campus Agreement.  If you wish to upgrade please contact us and we can coordinate a time to do so.  Note: upgrading Windows is a non-trivial procedure and can take up to a couple of days to do so.  All of your programs will need to be reinstalled and configured.

For personally owned computers there is available for free an upgrade to Windows 10 Education through the UBC Faculty of Science Microsoft Web Store.  You will need to do the upgrade yourself.  We can only offer very minimal support for personal systems.

Mathematical and Statistical Software

UBC IT offers a variety of discounted mathematical and statistical software products.  Prices and eligibility vary.  Click here for a complete list of software available.  Please contact us if you wish to licence any of these products.


ChemDraw is the world’s leading scientific drawing program. Hundreds of thousands of users benefit from its ease of use, high quality output, robust chemical intelligence, rich set of biological tools and integration in the ChemOffice Professional suite and with many third party products.

ChemDraw is available for all Chemistry and MSL personnel.  The individual registration website requires an or email account to self-register.

ChemDraw Installation - Individual Computers

Supported Operating Systems: MacOSX and Windows.
Individuals can download the software via this link:

ChemDraw Installation - Shared Lab Computers

For UBC owned shared lab computers MSL IT can assist your lab with ChemDraw installations. Simply indicate which shared machines need ChemDraw installed when contacting us.

Other Department and Lab Licences

Some extra software packages have been licenced for use by the MSL or individual MSL labs.  Please contact us to see if you are eligible.  The packages available are:

  • LabView (Physics License - Hansen Lab)
  • MatLab (Free - UBC Campus License)

Other Free Recommended Utilities

MSL IT Support recommends and supports the following free and open source software packages for your computer systems.  Many of these packages compete directly with expensive commercial software packages.  Please make sure to check the software requirements as you may be running an incompatible operating system version.  Contact us if you have any questions or do not feel comfortable installing them yourself.

Password Management

Due to the growing list of passwords, password complexity, and aging password requirements it has become a daunting task to remember them all.  We strongly recommend you use invest some time in using password management software to help ease the burden.

  • Windows & MacOSX - LastPass (Free & Premium)
  • Windows - KeePass (Open Source & Free)


Ninite is a service that enables you to download a small program that will quickly and without interaction download and update all of our recommended windows utilities.  This is by far the best way to install and update a large amount of useful utilities.  Please visit the Ninite website for more information.

Click here to download our customized Ninite windows utility easy installer.