6.2 Importing Third Party Files

Supported File Types

Origin can import a wide variety of third-party file formats:

  • To import from the menu, choose Data: Import from File. Some supported third-party file types may not be listed in your Import menu. To add or remove file types, select the Data: Import from File:Add/Remove File Types... menu option to open the Import Menu Customization dialog.
  • Third-party files can also be imported by drag-and-drop into the Origin workspace. View Importing Data by Drag and Drop for details.

Third party imports are handled by discrete X-Functions, listed in the following table. Note that these X-Functions can also be accessed from LabTalk script.

Name File Type (Extension) Latest Supported Version X-Function Name
Common Data Format CDF File version: 3.3.1 impCDF
Comma Delimited* CSV Microsoft Office Excel 2016 impCSV
Data Translation DCF, HPF DCF:1.0

HPF 1.2: Internal OriginC code support, no version specified.

EarthProbe EPA Only support EPA file import impEP
ETAS INCA MDF DAT, MDF INCA5.4(File version:3.0) impMDF†‡
European Data Format EDF,EDF+,BDF,REC,HYP Internal OriginC code support, no version specified. impEDF
Excel* XLS, XLSX, XLSM Microsoft Office Excel 2016 impExcel†‡

See Also: Importing from Excel Chapter

Famos DAT, RAW Famos 7.2 R6 (File version: 2) impFamos
Heka DAT PATCHMASTER 2x90.3 (File version:1000) impHEKA
Hierarchical Data Format H5,HE5,HDF5 HDF5 (File version:1.8.14) impHDF5†‡
IgorPro PXP, IBW Igor Pro 7 impIgorPro
Tektronix ISF ISF impISF
JCAMP-DX DX, DX1, JDX, JCM File version: 6 impJCAMP
KaleidaGraph QDA Internal OriginC code support, no version specified. impKG
MATLAB Mat Matlab 2016b (File version: v7.3) impMatlab
Minitab MTW, MPJ Minitab 13 impMNTB
MZXML mzData, mzXML, mzML, imzML mzXML3.0




NetCDF NC Version: 4.0 impNetCDF
NI DIAdem DAT DIAdem 2017 impNIDIAdem†‡
NI TDM TDM DIAdem 2017 impNITDM†‡
pCLAMP* (ABF, DAT, AB?) pClamp 10.6 (ABF 2.06) imppClamp†‡
Princeton Instruments SPE SPE 3.0 impSPE
Prism PZFX, XML GraphPad Prism 7 impPrism
SigmaPlot JNB SigmaPlot 12.5 impJNB
Somat SIE SIE InField 2.5 (File version:1.0) impSIE
Sound* WAV 8/16/24/32 bit (PCM format) impWav†‡
Thermo SPC, CGM File version: new Galactic SPC file impSPC†‡

* Supports partial file import.
† By default, these X-Functions store file metadata on import. For most, this is controlled by the Save File Info. in Workbook check box in the Import Options branch of each X-Function dialog box (impBruker and impSIE have no such box). This stored metadata can be accessed from Workbook Organizer or Column Properties (see next section).
‡ These file types support data file Re-import.

File Metadata

When you import a file, the file's date, name, and path are saved to the target workbook. Some third-party files contain additional metadata that is saved upon file import. For example, Origin will save time format information from an NI DIAdem .DAT file.

You can view the metadata associated with an imported file in the following ways:

  • View the information in the Workbook Organizer. To open the Organizer, right-click the workbook title bar and click Show Organizer in the menu.
  • View the information in the Insert Info Variables dialog box. Metadata associated with a given workbook may be inserted into a text object in that book, or into plots of workbook data, with a shortcut key combination. For more information see "Inserting Variables Extracted from Imported ASCII Files into Text Labels".
  • For basic information, enter the following script command in the Command Window:
page.info = <ENTER>
  • For more complete information, enter the following script command in the Command Window:
impinfo <ENTER>
  • View information in the Column Properties dialog box, User Tree tab. To open the Properties dialog box, double-click the column heading, then click the User Tree tab. Origin stores file information here but the tree can be edited by the user.

With some files (e.g., .WAV and Thermo .SPC/.CGM), parameters read from the file headers are added to the target worksheet for graphing or analysis purposes. For instance, the sampling interval of a .WAV file is written to the header row of the target worksheet. When you plot the imported data, the sampling interval is used to set the X axis increment.

Import Mode

For most supported third party files, you can set the import range using controls in the import dialog boxes. Import Mode options are:

  • Replace Existing Data: The data that exists in the target window will be cleared on data import.
  • Start New Rows: Append new rows, as needed.
  • Start New Columns: Append new columns, as needed.
  • Start New Sheets: Create a new sheet for each imported file.
  • Start New Books: Create a new book for each imported file.


  • Some X-Function based third party import routines do not support these Import Modes.
  • For Princeton Instruments SPE data files, the target window type as chosen by Origin will depend upon the dimensions of the data. If the data files are one-dimensional, they will be imported into a workbook. Otherwise a matrix book will be used as a target window (even if a workbook is the active window).

Secondary X-Function controls

When you import pCLAMP files, you can opt to open a special pCLAMP plotting panel on the left-side of the target workbook.

Importing Third Party Files-1.png

This is done by selecting Show Control Panel for Making Plots under the Import Options branch of the imppClamp dialog box. This panel provides controls for such things as plotting channels and episodes, or display of an auxiliary plot control panel on the graph window. The auxiliary panel's Pick Value Line (see the picture below) control allows you to drag a line on the graph to read plot values and save them to a workbook.

Importing Third Party Files-2.png

For more specific information on importing supported third party files, see the X-Function Help file (click Help, and then click X-Functions, or press F1 while the dialog box is open).

For direct access to the documentation from the Command Window, type the following at the command prompt:

help X-FunctionName

If you have a third party file that isn't currently supported, you may be able to develop your own import routine using the Origin Import Wizard (requires some Origin C coding ability). For more information, see "Importing chapter" in Origin C Guide.