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Latest Development Version

Based on IDL 8.8. New features are usually included here first for testing purposes. To help us iron out bugs and work towards the next stable release, your feedback will be very much appreciated. See installation instructions for basic help with installing DAVE using binaries or from source.
(updated: 05-06-2024)

Latest Stable Release - DAVE 2.5

Based on IDL 8.8 . This is essentially an incremental update of the software. In this release, the data reduction capability has seen the biggest impact with the addition of new modules and significant upgrades to existing ones. The changes reflect new instrumentation or upgrades in hardware. Please, consult the integrated User Manual for help on how to proceed. See, for example, the Description of DAVE Software chapter for an overview of application features and the Getting Started chapter for a beginner's tutorial.

Additional information may be found at the main features and new features pages.

See installation instructions for basic help with installing DAVE using binaries or from source.
(updated: 08-21-2023)

Example data files used in tutorial included in the User Manual (this is part of the application integrated help which is accessible from the Help menu):

See a version history of DAVE.

Brief instructions for installing DAVE

  1. Using Binaries

    Windows. Download the appropriate zip bundle. You must unzip the downloaded file into a temporary directory. Then you may proceed in one of two ways. You can either execute the application from the downloaded folder or you can perform a local installation just like most Windows programs.

    • Local install.
      Navigate into the "dave" directory that is created after unzipping. Execute "Setup.exe" and follow the instructions presented to install DAVE. After installation an entry would be created in your start menu (as indicated during installation) from which you can launch DAVE. A desktop shortcut is also created. Administrator privileges may be required to install an application.
      Subsequently, you can uninstall DAVE by either using the "Uninstall" program from the relevant programs group from your windows start menu or through the "Add or Remove Programs" from the Windows "Control Panel" (locate the appropriate DAVE program and click on the "remove" button to uninstall it).
    • Execute without local installation
      If you wish to proceed in this fashion then after unzipping (make sure to explicitly extract the contents), navigate below the created "dave" folder and double click on "dave.vbs" to launch the application.

    MacOS X.

    Note: X11 must be installed and running for DAVE to work. X11 for MacOS X can be obtained from the XQuartz project site. Download and install the version available before proceeding with the next steps.

    • Download the stable or development version from the link above
    • Double-click on the downloaded *.zip bundle to extract its contents.
    • An application bundle called dave (stable version) or daveCVS (development version) will be created. You can now delete the downloaded zip file.
    • If you are unhappy with the location in which the extracted bundled is placed, use Finder to move the application bundle, dave or daveCVS, to any desired location (for example to the Applications folder). Note that if you do move the application bundle, you must use Finder! Also, do not rename the application bundle because it will not work any longer!
    • Finally, double-click on the application bundle to launch DAVE.
      However, if you encounter errors when launching the application bundle then consider the alternatives below.

    Procedure to launch DAVE manually using Finder:
    • Using Finder, navigate to the uncompressed package/bundle.
    • Control click on the DAVE package (called or and select the option to "Show Package Contents".
    • There should be a (bash script) item called "dave". Double-click on it to launch DAVE.

    Procedure to launch DAVE manually from terminal (command line):
    • Using a terminal window, navigate to the uncompressed package/bundle.
    • change directory (cd) into the DAVE package (called or
    • execute "ls" to list the directory contents. There should be a bash script present named "dave"
    • execute the bash script by typing "./dave" (without the quotes) to launch DAVE


    Download the appropriate version from the link above and extract the files (eg "tar zxvf downloaded_file.tgz"). Then change directory to the "dave" directory and run "./dave". Please note that DAVE must be launched from the installation directory otherwise some program modules may not work properly.

    Note 1: For some Linux distributions, users have reported a seg fault with newer versions of DAVE which has been traced to a missing libstdC++ library. This can be fixed by locating and installing the package for your distribution that provides For Ubuntu, this can be achieved by visiting; enter in the search field and select your distro; then seach, download and install the appropriate package that is found.
    Note 2: If you are experiencing any problems with fonts and/or plotting, then you need to modify the file called 'dave' and change the line:
    topdir=`dirname $0`
    so that the topdir variable points to the installation directory in which the 'dave' file is located. For example, if the downloaded DAVE archive was extracted into a directory called /home/path/to/dave, the line in the 'dave' file should be
    This modification should also enable dave to be executed from anywhere (without changing directory to the installation directory first). Thus DAVE can be launched by issuing the command '/home/path/to/dave/dave' from anywhere.
    In addition, executing the following soft link as root:
    ln -s /home/path/to/dave/dave /usr/local/bin/dave
    would give any user the ability to execute DAVE by simply typing dave on the command line irrespective of the current directory.

  2. From Source

    Note 1: A valid IDL license is required for this.
    Note 2: The recommended IDL version is the one that we are currently using for our own builds (as indicated above for the stable and development versions).
    Note 3: We can no longer support project files that work for IDL 6.4 or earlier!

    Download the appropriate stable or development source code zip bundle and extract the contents into a self-contained directory. Proceed with the following steps to build and execute DAVE.

    • Launch the IDL development environment (IDLDE).
    • In IDLDE, open a new project by selecting File ==> New Project menu item.
    • In the dialog that appears, specify an appropriate name for the new project in the Name field. In the Location section, choose the Create the new project from an existing directory. In the Directory field, use Browse button to navigate to the directory into which you extracted the downloaded source code, then select the dave and then the programs sub-directories. So the Directory field should have:
      where {IDL_SRC_DIR} is the location of the extracted source code you downloaded. Make sure to check Update IDL path when project is opened or closed and finally click on the Finish button to create the project. A new project in the specified name will be appear in the Project Explorer which is located on the left side of the IDLDE workbench.
    • The new project should be opened by default. Close all other opened projects.
    • Right-click on the new project and select the Properties option. A new dialog will be displayed.
    • In the properties dialog you can customize varioua aspects of the project. You must change the run command by selecting the IDL Project Properties on the left pane then specifying dave as the Run Command (by default the run command will be the same as the project name).Apply and close the properties dialog.
    • Build the project. Right-click on the project and then select Build Project. Repeat this step - i.e. the proect should be built twice!
    • Run the project. Right-click and select Run Project. Hopefully DAVE should launch without errors!

If you reduced, analyzed or visualized your data using DAVE, please acknowledge its use by including the following reference:

[1] DAVE: A comprehensive software suite for the reduction, visualization, and analysis of low energy neutron spectroscopic data, R.T. Azuah, L.R. Kneller, Y. Qiu, P.L.W. Tregenna-Piggott, C.M. Brown, J.R.D. Copley, and R.M. Dimeo, J. Res. Natl. Inst. Stan. Technol. 114, 341 (2009).


This software was developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology at the NIST Center for Neutron Research by employees of the Federal Government in the course of their official duties. Pursuant to title 17 section 105* of the United States Code this software is not subject to copyright protection and is in the public domain. The DAVE software package is an experimental neutron scattering data reduction, visualization, and analysis system. NIST assumes no responsibility whatsoever for its use, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic. The use of certain trade names or commercial products does not imply any endorsement of a particular product, nor does it imply that the named product is necessarily the best product for the stated purpose. We would appreciate acknowledgment if the software is used.

*Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.


This work is based upon activities supported by the National Science Foundation under Agreement No. DMR-0944772 (previously DMR-0454672 for period 2005 to 2010).

The DAVE development team consists of Richard Azuah, John Copley, Rob Dimeo, Sungil Park, Seung-Hun Lee, Alan Munter, Larry Kneller, Yiming Qiu, Inma Peral, Craig Brown, Paul Kienzle and Philip Tregenna. Additional open source utilities written by David Fanning, Ronn Kling, Mark Piper, Michael D. Galloy, and Craig Markwardt have been incorporated into some of the DAVE programs as well.

Last modified 20-September-2022 by website owner: NCNR (attn: Richard Azuah)