The CLAN Programs are downloaded, installed, and used as a single application. Functionally, however, CLAN has two parts. The first part is the CLAN editor which can be used to edit files in either CHAT or CA (Conversation Analysis) format. The editor also provides a wide range of additional functions, such as audio and video playback, linkage to audio and video, fonts for Roman and non-Roman orthographies, data validation, adding codes to files, and shipping data to other programs. The second part of CLAN is the set of data analysis programs. These programs are run from a separate window called the Commands window. The results of the analytic programs are sent to the CLAN Output window.

TLA-team: CLAN is a well-supported tool set to create and analyse CHAT files, the format that has been created for the CHILDES project originally. It is the functionality of the CLAN tool set that motivates researchers not only in child language research to still use the slightly outdated CHAT format. Tools such as ELAN allow users to transform the CHAT format.