Data Formats Working Group

From canSAS


As of early 2017, for new work, it is recommended to use the NXcanSAS (multi-dimensional) standard for both 1-D and n-D data to maximize the chance that other software will be able to read your data files.

We strongly encourage all authors of small-angle scattering related software to add support for NXcanSAS.

Latest News

Lots of discussion at canSAS-XI about metadata. Discussion and actions from the meeting are available canSAS-XI/DataFormats

Jemian 2017-01: NXcanSAS released

Tobias Richter 2015-12 : Multidim moved to github a while ago

Ajj 2012-07-31 : canSAS 2012 Data Formats discussion page


nD: NXcanSAS

standard for reduced small-angle scattering data of any dimension, using NeXus (HDF5)

1D: cansas1d:1.1

standard for 1-D reduced small-angle scattering data, using XML (text)

  • v1.1: 2013-03-29
  • v1.0: 2009-05-12


  • Andrew Jackson (ESS)
  • Pete Jemian (APS)
  • Steve King (ISIS)
  • Andrew Nelson (ANSTO)
  • Jan Ilavsky (APS)


  • 2007-12-31 agree on v1.0 format
  • 2008-01-01 start implementing v1 at facilities
  • 2008-06 representative sampling of data available for inter-facility comparison
  • 2008-11-3 presentation of results at NOBUGS2008 meeting (
  • 2009-05-12 tagged SVN changeset 67 as v1.0 since it has been unmodified since January
  • 2009-09-17 Agreed that v1.1 revision should be forthcoming with corrections/additions to be identified in TRAC tickets


Jemian 11:10, 06 September 2008 (CDT) IgorPro GUI tool included in Irena Irena analysis suite
Jemian 13:08, 14 March 2008 (EDT) IgorPro tool to read cansas1d/1.0 XML files available
Jemian 13:38, 25 February 2008 (EST) starting to add case studies
Jemian 00:39, 21 December 2007 (EST) complete first draft (v0.1a) ready for comments from 1DWG
Jemian 12:00, 14 December 2007 (EST) draft status updated
Jemian 17:07, 12 May 2009 (EDT) changeset 67 tagged as v1.0

Examples and Usage

The following are example v1.1 compliant 1D data files containing [besides essential metadata] - right-click & save as to view, stylesheet is on the TRAC site:

SANS data only ISIS_SASXML_v1_1_SANS_Example.XML
Wavelength-dependent transmission ISIS_SASXML_v1_1_Transmission_Example.XML
Wavelength-dependent monitor spectrum ISIS_SASXML_v1_1_Monitor_Spectrum_Example.XML
Wavelength-dependent detector efficiency ratio ISIS_SASXML_v1_1_Det_Efficency_Example.XML

The files can be usefully displayed in many web browsers: Rendering_canSAS1D_in_Web_Browsers

Mailing List

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Please address all questions and answers to this Google group.