Download the FieldTrip toolbox

You can download the FieldTrip toolbox here.

Prior to downloading, you might want to check whether your computer meets the MATLAB requirements.

After downloading the toolbox, you unzip it and add the directory in which all the *.m files are located to your path. See also this question about setting up the MATLAB path.

You can download the tutorial data here.


Copyright (C) 2008-2016, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, The Netherlands (DCCN, DCC, DCN)
Copyright (C) 2014-2016, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden (NatMEG) )
Copyright (C) 2012-2016, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands (MPI)
Copyright (C) 2010-2013, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam (SILS)
Copyright (C) 2008-2009, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in Glasgow, United Kingdom (CCNi)
Copyright (C) 2009-2009, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN)
Copyright (C) 2003-2008, F.C. Donders Centre, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands (FCDC)
Copyright (C) 2004-2007, Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information, The Netherlands (NICI)
Copyright (C) 2004-2005, Universitatsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany (UKE)
Copyright (C) 2003-2004, Center for Sensory Motor Interaction, University Aalborg, Denmark (SMI)
Copyright (C) 1999-2003, Department of Medical Physics, Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands (MBFYS)

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.

Frequently Asked Questions

MATLAB version

We try to develop FieldTrip in such a way that it works with the latest MATLAB release on the most popular operating system platforms, but at the same time we try to have it work with as many older MATLAB versions as possible.

However, the MATLAB syntax and the availability of functions in the standard Mathworks toolboxes changes over time. Consequently, sometimes we will use MATLAB code that is only supported from a certain version upwards. In general we attempt to support MATLAB versions up to 5 years old.

An online poll in April 2011 showed that a large quantity of our users access the FieldTrip toolbox with a Matlab version younger than 2006 (<5 years). The full results can be found here.

Mathworks toolboxes

MATLAB includes a large number of functions in standard toolboxes that come with every installation, but certain functions are included in additional (commercial) toolboxes from Mathworks, such as the signal processing or the statistics toolbox. Whether you need to buy these toolboxes depends on whether you want to use specific functionality in FieldTrip. We try to avoid using these additional Mathworks toolboxes to the extent that we will look for alternatives (e.g. from Octave) or use drop-in replacement functions for certain functions, as long as the time required to implement these alternatives is not too large.

The following functions depend on the Mathworks “images” toolbox

  • ft_sourceplot
  • ft_volumesegment
  • ft_read_mri

The following functions depend on the Mathworks “optim” toolbox

  • warp_optim
  • dipole_fit

The following functions depend on the Mathworks “signal” toolbox

  • ft_mvaranalysis
  • ft_resampledata
  • ft_preproc_bandpassfilter
  • ft_preproc_bandstopfilter
  • ft_preproc_denoise
  • ft_preproc_highpassfilter
  • ft_preproc_hilbert
  • ft_preproc_lowpassfilter
  • ft_preproc_medianfilter
  • ft_preproc_resample
  • ft_specest_hilbert
  • ft_specest_mtmconvol
  • ft_specest_mtmfft
  • ft_spiketriggeredspectrum_convol
  • ft_spiketriggeredspectrum_fft

The following functions depend on the Mathworks “stats” toolbox

  • ft_connectivitysimulation
  • ft_headmovement
  • ft_qualitycheck
  • ft_regressconfound
  • ft_sourcedescriptives
  • ft_statistics_stats
  • ft_stratify
  • ft_datatype_spike
  • ft_statfun_depsamplesFmultivariate
  • ft_statfun_indepsamplesF
  • ft_statfun_indepsamplesZcoh
  • ft_spike_isi
  • ft_spike_plot_isi
  • ft_spike_plot_isireturn
  • ft_spike_plot_jpsth
  • ft_spike_plot_raster
  • ft_spike_waveform
  • ft_spike_xcorr
  • ft_spikesorting
  • ft_spiketriggeredspectrum_convol
2013/01/23 15:57 · jmhorschig

Free toolboxes

Besides the non-free Mathworks toolboxes that are used by some functions, FieldTrip also makes use of other free toolboxes for certain functionality, such as access to specific file formats. Using these external toolboxes allows us to focus on specifically improving FieldTrip and to join forces with other open-source software projects. Whether you need these non-commercial external toolboxes depends on the dataformats that you will use and whether you want to use the specific functionality. Most of these are also developed as open source projects and they all can be downloaded from the internet. Some of them are not open source, but can be redistributed in compiled form (e.g. mex files, p-files, compiled binaries). There are also certain toolboxes that FieldTrip can use which have even more strict copyright restrictions attached (e.g. signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement), which we are not allowed to redistribute.

A considerable number of external toolboxes is included in the FieldTrip release zip file inside the “fieldtrip/external” subdirectory. These include

  • afni matlab functions (to read AFNI data)
  • biosig (to read various EEG file formats)
  • eeglab (only for independent component analysis)
  • megdp (to read Neuromag fif data)
  • spm2 (to read some MRI formats, for spatial normalization and segmentation)
  • spm8 (to read some MRI formats, for spatial normalization and segmentation)
  • ctf (to read CTF data)
  • mne (to read Neuromag fif data)
  • yokogawa (to read data from the Yokogawa MEG system)
  • dipoli (for forward EEG modeling using BEM)
  • simbio (for forward EEG modeling using FEM)

Although we distribute these toolboxes along with FieldTrip to facilitate their use, we do not develop or support them. Each of the corresponding toolboxes has its own license agreement, and in the corresponding directories you can find more information on whom is responsible for them.

Optional toolboxes

The following toolboxes are also used for specific computations, but are not included in the default FieldTrip release. You can download them seperately and place then in the “fieldtrip/external” directory (where they will be automatically found) or anywhere else on your path.

  • nlxnetcom
  • meg-pd
  • meg-calc
  • tcp_udp_ip
2011/05/12 09:28

The FieldTrip source code and example datasets are released to the general public on our ftp server. This server requires an anonymous login. This means that you use the username “anonymous” and your password as email address. In case you don't want to share your email address, you can use any string that is formatted as a valid email address (e.g.

The ftp service runs on a shared server which occasionally has a performance bottleneck. If you cannot connect, please try again at a later time (i.e. one hour later, or the next day).

If you have difficulties using the ftp server (especially using a OS X or Linux command line ftp client), you can try to turn off “Extended Passive Mode” by typing “epsv”.

Some ftp clients may have problems with specific firewall configurations. This can be due to both the firewall on your side and the firewall on our side. If you have problems downloading, please try with another ftp client.

Github as alternative to the ftp download

The FieldTrip source code repository is also available from You can use github to keep up to date with the latest updates of the source code, to revert to older versions, and to track all individual changes to the files. Furthermore, you can suggest improvements to the code by forking the fieldtrip project on github, making the change in your clone and ny sending us a pull request.

Using the Github version is the easiest if you install a git client on your computer. However, it is also possible to download the latest version of the code as a zip file.

2009/12/03 09:36