Origin (software)

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This article is about scientific graphing and data analysis software. For the digital distribution software, see Origin (digital distribution software).
Origin icon.png
Origin workspace showing spreadsheet-like GUI
Developer(s) OriginLab Corporation
Stable release 9.1 / October 22, 2013; 10 months ago (2013-10-22)
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Available in English, German, and Japanese.
Type Data Analysis
License Proprietary
Website www.originlab.com

Origin is a proprietary computer program for interactive scientific graphing and data analysis. It is produced by OriginLab Corporation, and runs on Microsoft Windows. It has inspired several platform-independent open-source clones like QtiPlot or SciDAVis.

Graphing support in Origin includes various 2D/3D plot types.

Data analyses in Origin include statistics, signal processing, curve fitting and peak analysis. Origin's curve fitting is performed by the nonlinear least squares fitter which is based on the Levenberg–Marquardt algorithm.

Origin imports data files in various formats such as ASCII text, Excel, NI TDM, DIADem, NetCDF, SPC, etc. It also exports the graph to various image file formats such as JPEG, GIF, EPS, TIFF, etc. There is also a built-in query tool for accessing database data via ADO, and an enhanced Digitizer tool to capture data from images of existing graphs.[1]


Origin Workbook with sparklines above data columns, this allows a quick glance of the data without plotting them.

Origin is primarily a GUI software with a spreadsheet front end. Unlike other spreadsheets like Excel, Origin's worksheet is column oriented. Each column has associated attributes like name, units and other user definable labels. Instead of cell formula, Origin uses column formula for calculations.

Origin also has a scripting language called LabTalk for controlling the software,[2] which can be extended using a built-in C/C++-based compiled language (Origin C).

Origin can be also used as a COM server for programs which may be written in Visual Basic .NET, C#, LabVIEW, etc.

Origin project files (.OPJ) can be read by the open-source library "liborigin".[3] There is also a free component DLL, called Orglab8, maintained by OriginLab that can be used to create and read OPJ files. It is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.[4] A free viewer application is also available to view and copy files on computers that don't have a full version of Origin installed.[5]

Editions and support[edit]

Origin is available in two editions, the regular version Origin and the pricier OriginPro. The latter adds additional data analysis features like surface fitting, short-time Fourier Transform, and more advanced statistics.[6] A Student Version[7] based on OriginPro is available starting at $69.

Technical support is available to registered users via e-mail, online chat, and telephone. A user forum is also available,[8] and posts are routinely answered by OriginLab staff and others in the user community.


Origin was first created for use solely with microcalorimeters manufactured by MicroCal Inc., a Riverside Partners company acquired by GE Healthcare in 2008.[9] The software was used to graph the instruments data, and perform nonlinear curve fitting and parameter calculation.

The software was first published for the public in 1992 by Microcal Software, which later was renamed to OriginLab Corporation,[10] located in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Release history[edit]

  • 2013/10 Origin 9.1[11] SR0 added support for Piper diagram, Ternary surface plot etc.
  • 2012/10 Origin 9 with high performance OpenGL 3D Graphing
  • 2011/11 Origin 8.6, first version in 64bit
  • 2011/04 Origin 8.5.1
  • 2010/09 Origin 8.5.0
  • 2009/10 Origin 8.1
  • 2007/12 Origin 8 SR1[12]
  • 2007/10 Origin 8[13]
  • 2003/10 Origin 7.5
  • 2002/02 Origin 7.0
  • 2000/09 Origin 6.1
  • 1999/06 Origin 6.0
  • 1997/08 Origin 5.0
  • 1995/02 Origin 4.1
  • 1993/?? Origin 2[14]

Alternatives and clones[edit]

Similar proprietary software includes:

Open-source projects inspired by Origin:

  • SciGraphica, dormant since 2005

Other open-source graphing and data analysis software:


External links[edit]