publCIF takes a crystallographic information file (CIF) and prepares a formatted paper (Preprint) in the style of Acta Crystallographica Sections C and E.

The CIF and the Preprint are presented side-by-side and are both editable. Changes made to one are applied to the other as you type.

Starting with a CIF resulting from a structure refinement, use publCIF to:

  • Add data items required for publication, using simple wizards that check your input and access both dictionary information and data used in previous CIFs
  • Prepare standard and customized geometry tables using simple spread sheets
  • Write your paper using a word-processing environment
  • Check your CIF, for both syntax and completeness
  • Print or export a Preprint of your paper

publCIF employs extensive CIF syntax and dictionary compliance checking, both as you type and when specifically requested. In addition, it provides a number of editorial tools to help you write your paper in the style required by IUCr journals.



This program is under active development. Bug reports and requests for enhancement should be directed to

Language and platform

The application is written in C++ and distributed in executable format for Linux, MacOS and Windows platforms. The Trolltech ( library of
Qt widgets is used to build the graphical user interface, including the html widgets that display formatted text in the WYSIWYG edit window. vcif is bundled with the distribution.


  • Installation:
    • Windows: download and double-click the Windows executable
    • MacOS: download the MacOS disk image
    • Linux: Place the archive where you wish to install (e.g. your home directory if it is only for your use, or a system directory such as /usr/local/ to enable all users to run publCIF). Then unpack the archive using either an appropriate graphical tool, or the command line (this may require the root password): e.g. change directory to desired location:
       cd /home/username
      then type:
       tar xzvf ./xpublcif.tgz
      You should now have a folder called xpublcif containing the publcif application files. To launch publCIF, type:
      at the command prompt (having changed directory to the xpublcif directory). You may set environment variables so that publcif can be run by calling publcif itself, rather than using the script. In .profile (if your shell is bash, ksh, zsh or sh), add the following lines (changing '/path/to/xpublcif' appropriately):
      export PATH
      export LD_LIBRARY_PATH
      In .login (if your shell is csh or tcsh), add the following lines:
       setenv PATH /path/to/xpublcif:$PATH
      setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH /path/to/xpublcif:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
  • More details: INSTALLATION

Terms and conditions of use

  Author: Simon P. Westrip.

The software is distributed here under the standard terms and conditions of use applying to software associated with International Tables for Crystallography Volume G. Queries concerning any other use should be directed to