Topspin 3.1 for Mac minireview

Bruker announced in April the availability of Topspin finally on the Mac, joining Windows and Linux as supported platforms. This is a brief update from my earlier post bringing a few observations on this version of the software.

Image copyright Bruker 2011

Visually this software looks mostly like the Windows and Linux versions, except that for users of 2.1 on Win at least, the new icons are different enough to cause a fair bit of searching, and in some cases resorting to using the menu commands, as the icons weren’t intuitive enough. [ Pop quiz: Look at the graphic above and tell me where the FT icon is…].

The major difference between this Mac version and the WinLin versions is in printing. The separate XwinPlot/PlotEditor apps that get spawned under WinLin when you invoke Print do not exist on the Mac. Instead it populates the Plot tab with a preview pane. You can print once you have it looking like you want. There is also an Export… option, which enables you to choose a DPI setting, and you choose the export format by appending the appropriate suffix (.tif, .jpg, .ps). THERE IS NO PDF OPTION. Nor can you subvert the print dialog to send it to MacOSX’s own PDF engine. To get a PDF you will need to export a Postscript file and open it in MacOSX Preview and save as PDF there. This is an obvious fail that will need to be fixed in v3.2.

You don’t have to keep your data files stored in the Bruker-approved Bruker hieracrichical file system on a fileserver (e.g Z:/data/u.sername/experimentname/1/pdata/1/1r etc. The data can reside anywhere but if you’ve already got the WinLin versions of Topspin on other machines accessing the same data you may as well keep storing it that way for cross-platform convenience.

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10 Responses to Topspin 3.1 for Mac minireview

  1. Pingback: Bruker’s Topspin running on Mac « My software notes

  2. Stefano Ciurli says:

    Hi! I just installed TopSpin 3.1 on my Mac. I wonder if:
    1) there exists a complete manual to download
    2) I noticed that the hierarchy of the files is not completely free: if the datasets at certain levels down the directory hierarchy, the program does not see them correctly. Any comment or suggestion on this?

    • martin says:

      Hi Stefano,

      1) I’m not sure there is an official downloadable copy of the Topspin manual. The NMR knowledge base can be installed when your copy of Topspin is installed I think.

      2) There are two ways to open a data set under Topspin for Mac. The first was is to set up your data directory in the browser panel on the left hand side of the Topspin window. By default there is a directory listed there called /opt/topspin3.1/examples but you can add any number of directories into that panel. What you have to remember after that is that the data from that point on must conform to the Bruker file system in order to be easily navigable by clicking the triangles. For example if your Mac home directory is /Users/Topspinuser and you choose to put a subdirectory for data in your Documents folder, call it ”
      data”, and then make sure your spectra are in the right nested folders such as:
      You can just set it up the directory by right-clicking in that left hand panel and setting up a new data directory. It will offer you to rename that awkward path to a recognisable name, for example, I use /Users/Myname/Documents/data and I use “localdata” as the shortcut and I also occasionally set up network server volumes for shared data.

      The other way is the use the “File…Open” command. This will open a dialog box. Make sure you select the right data format in the pop-up at the bottom of the screen and then navigate your way to the experiment number (NOT the FID) and you’re off…

  3. Stefano Ciurli says:

    Another key issue to add is that one should NOT change the name of the folder containing the ser files, but leave them as 1, 2, 3 and so on. Otherwise, TopSpin does not recognize them correctly. Really odd.

  4. Ulrich Haunz says:


    there is lonely the command line (down) left and the command “ft”!
    There is no push button for the FT, not for Windows and not for CentOS/RedHat!
    You can get it, if you take VnmrJ 3.2 for MAC, there is a push button for the FT!

    Your sincerely,


  5. Jennifer Cleary says:

    Hi, thank you for the above comments, it has helped me set up a directory. However the directory won’t save. I have to remake it every time I open TopSpin. I was wondering if you know a way to keep it?

    Many thanks


    • martin says:

      Hi Jenny,
      I’m not sitting at a processing desk as I write but from memory such problems are usually permissions related. Make sure you have read/write permissions for the custom location you are setting up in. i.e. not in the Macintosh HD area, normally your home directory or /Users/Shared should be fine

  6. Vasantha says:

    Hi, I just installed Topspin3.5 and its working fine. But ‘Plot’ window has a great disadvantage in Mac OX. Its extremely slow, can’t do any plotting. Please do something about it.

    • martin says:

      I strongly suggest that you contact Bruker technical support with the details of your operating system level, and importantly the amount of RAM you have. I believe that the print previewing processing is quite RAM intensive.

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