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What is this?


cdfread is a program that implements the routines to read mass spectra and mass chromatograms from data files in netCDF ("Andi-MS") format.

The program has a command-line interface and a simple graphic display based on gnuplot. It supports mouse zoom and manual peak annotation.

The main purpose of the program is to provide platform-independent routines to access netCDF files, e.g. to select any given spectrum or any mass chromatogram. Centroid and profile data are supported. - Please note that this is NOT a full-fledged data evaluation suite ... albeit it is now in a state where you could write something like that around it without too much effort ;-).

CDFread on a Linux Laptop


At a glance

Getting CDF files

To get CDF files from your data acquisition package:

Technical Details

System Requirements

The software runs at least under Linux and the 32-bit flavours of MS-Windows.

The graphic display makes use of gnuplot, a free software for scientific data plotting. You need version 4 or later.

To re-compile cdfread from scratch, a standard-compatible C compiler is required, and a few libraries - notably the netCDF library, and the public part of the original ANDI-MS (netCDF) distribution. Detailed instructions are provided in the documentation.

Status: Production!

The software is in use since 2001. It has been updated a few times, but no major changes were introduced. I have good reasons to believe that it is in a stable state.

How to get it


This software is Free Software and are published under Version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPL). You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms, which ensures that its source code is free and that any derivatization, or implementation of it in other software, will also remain free.

The difference between "free software" and "freeware" is of legal importance. If you do not understand any portion of this license, please seek appropriate professional legal advice. If you do not or if - for any reason - you can not accept all of the conditions of the GPL, then you must not use nor distribute this software.

Support This Project


Since early 2009, this project is hosted at To download, you have several possibilities:


The author is Jörg Hau.

I gratefully acknowledge a number of people that have, direct or indirect, contributed to this software:

Related Software

A derivative of cdfread is cdf2ascii, which is part of the COMSPARI software. It allows to convert netCDF files into plain ASCII files, with lots of processing options.