Chapter 5.3 Syntactic utilities for CIF

Definition and exchange of crystallographic data

First Online Edition (2006)

Part 5. Applications

  1. B. McMahon

Published Online: 1 JAN 2006

DOI: 10.1107/97809553602060000753

International Tables for Crystallography

International Tables for Crystallography

How to Cite

McMahon, B. 2006. Syntactic utilities for CIF. International Tables for Crystallography. G:5:5.3:499–525.

Author Information

  1. International Union of Crystallography, 5 Abbey Square, Chester CH1 2HU, England

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JAN 2006


This chapter reviews the general-purpose software tools available for managing CIF data that rely solely or largely on the syntactic structure of the CIF. That is, they allow the checking, extraction, editing or manipulation of arbitrary data items without regard to any specifically crystallographic computation. Some lightweight libraries are also described. The programs reviewed fall within the following categories: syntax checkers; editors with graphical user interfaces; software for data-name validation; file-transformation programs; libraries callable from scripting languages; rapid development tools; and tools particularly useful for macromolecular applications using mmCIF.


  • CifSieve;
  • HICCuP;
  • OpenMMS;
  • PyCifRW;
  • STAR::Parser;
  • beCIF;
  • cif2cif;
  • cifZinc;
  • cifdiff;
  • ciftex;
  • enCIFer;
  • mmLib;
  • printCIF for Word;
  • vcif;
  • zb;
  • zincCif;
  • zincGrep;
  • zincNl;
  • zincSubset;
  • CIF software;
  • Crystallographic Information File software;
  • ZINC;
  • computer programs;
  • data names;
  • graphical editors;
  • mmCIF software;
  • macromolecular Crystallographic Information File software;
  • software;
  • syntax checkers;
  • validation;
  • visualization