National Physical Laboratory


The VAMAS Standard Data Transfer Format allows data from any system to be read by any compatible software to allow quantitative surface analysis. In order to use the VAMAS format to transfer data between one system and another it is important that files are correctly formatted.

To aid those programmers writing software to deal with VAMAS files, NPL has developed two vital tools.

VAMAS format checking software: PC138

PC138 is a DOS program which reads files and checks that they conform to the VAMAS format. The program assesses simple errors and prompts the user to make corrections. The corrections and the corrected file can then be saved and output. The program will run in MS-DOS on computers with Windows 3.1 or 3.11, Windows 95 computers will need to be rebooted in MS-DOS mode. It appears not to work on computers with later versions of Windows.

The PC138 program may assist in confirming the validity of files intended to be in the VAMAS Standard Data Transfer Format or, if errors have occurred in programming, it may also assist in the diagnosis of those errors. The program provides the user with a diagnostic of many types of syntax error. The system also provides print outs of the file as it is received and after correction by the user interacting via the screen menus. The corrected file is written to disk ready for use in other software. This system is designed to assist in the correction of syntax errors and not whether the content is sensible.

PC138 VAMAS file checking program (Self Extracting Zip File self extracting Zip file 322 KB)

This file contains the files required to run the program, and a copy of the user's manual.

IMPORTANT: This software has not been fully subjected to NPL's Quality Assurance Procedures. No warranty or guarantee applies to this software, and therefore any users should satisfy themselves that it meets their requirements. This software will be provided free of charge, on an 'as is' basis, to anyone who believes it may be useful to them. Considerable care has been taken in preparing this software since no support can be offered. Unfortunately, we are unable to devote time to discussing its use or operation with interested parties.

VAMAS format specimen files

A set of 'known-good' VAMAS format files will prove useful for those writing software for reading VAMAS format. NPL has compiled a set of four specimen files.

VAMAS test files (Self Extracting Zip File self extracting Zip file 24 KB)

This file contains the four VAMAS specimen files, as well as a copy of the manual.

Last Updated: 5 Mar 2012
Created: 5 Mar 2012


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission