Zemax file extensions

This article provides a list of the extensions used by all of the files that are a part of OpticStudio. The default or required location for each file type is also provided. 

Authored By Sanjay Gangadhara

Introduction

Designing a lens system in OpticStudio involves using many pieces of information, which in general are distributed in a variety of files and file types. Here, we provide a simple listing for all of the various file types supported by OpticStudio, sorted by category. An alphabetical listing of the file types - along with their necessary location - is also provided in this article.

CAD-related

For more information on the following CAD file types, see the article "How to import CAD objects."

Extension Description Location
IGES, IGS These are Initial Graphics Exchange Specification files. They are used to transfer 2D and 3D drawing data between CAD programs.  These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\CAD Files.
SAT Standard ACIS Text files. They are a simplified 2D/3D drawing format that may be used read by most CAD programs. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\CAD Files.
STEP, STP This file extension stands for Standard for the Exchange of Product. These files are used to store 3D image data in an ASCII format. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\CAD Files.
STL Stereolithography Tesselation Language files. These files are best for modeling general shapes that can be approximated by a set of triangular facets. Used to transfer 3D image data between CAD programs. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\CAD Files.
ZEN Used to specify face number assignments in a CAD file.  These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\CAD Files.
ZOF Zemax Object Format file. These files contain the representation of a CAD object that is used by OpticStudio internally. OpticStudio will automatically convert any CAD objects that are imported into Non-Sequential mode as IGES, STEP, or SAT files into a corresponding ZOF file. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\CAD Files.
ZPO Zemax Part Designer object file. These files are CAD entities that were generated in the Zemax Part Designer, for use in Non-Sequential or Mixed Mode. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Part Designer Objects.

 

General

Extension Description Location
CFG Configuration files. Zemax.CFG is the main configuration file which describes the user-selected options on the environment dialog box. There are numerous other files that may be present which end in CFG; for example, RAY.CFG contains the user-defined defaults for the Ray Fan plot. The configuration files associated with general analysis features, such as RAY.CFG (Ray Fan plot) or POP.CFG (Physical Optics Propagation) are located in the directory {Zemax}\Configs\. Lens-specific configuration files are located in the same directory as the corresponding lens (.ZMX) file.
ZAR Zemax Archive file. These files contain all of the files associated with a lens design in a single, compressed format. This is useful for keeping track of the files associated with a given lens design, and for sending that information to others in a compact manner. These files may be located in any directory. Upon restoration of the archive file, the associated files (i.e. glass catalogs, coatings, CAD, etc.) will be sent to the appropriate directories.
ZDA (SES) Session files. These files define the display configuration and open windows and settings for the corresponding lens (ZMX) file. If the SES or ZDA file is present in the same directory as the corresponding lens file, then when you open the lens file all of the analysis windows and editors appear in the exact same location as they were when the file was last saved, and all of the open analysis windows use the same settings as when the file was last saved. These files should be located in the same directory as the corresponding lens (.ZMX) file.
ZMX Zemax lens file. These ASCII files contain the complete description of the lens, including apertures, wavelengths, prescription data and the merit function. These files may be located in any directory.

 

Graphics 

Extension Description Location
ANN Annotation files (binary). These binary files store user-defines annotations for OpticStudio graphics.  These files may be located in any directory.
ELE Settings file for the Zemax Element Drawing. These files contain saved settings for the Zemax Element Drawing feature, that can be used to define the settings of this feature in any lens file. This file type may be located in any directory.
NOT Element Drawing note file. These ASCII files contain the notes to be appended to the notes section of the Zemax Element Drawing feature, to be used in any lens file.  These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Miscellaneous.

 

Image Analysis 

More information on Image Analysis may be found in the article "How to simulate high resolution images."

Extension Description Location
BIM Binary image file used to define an extended source for the Image Simulation tool and associated image analysis features. These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\IMAFiles.
BMP Bitmap image file. These files are used to define an extended source for the Image Simulation and associated image analysis features. They can also serve as a reference for the Focault Analysis or may be used with the non-sequential Slide object. These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\IMAFiles.
EMF Enhanced metafile, used by Metafile graphics. These files contain graphics exported from OpticStudio in the Windows Metafile format. These files may be located in any directory.
IMA ASCII or binary image file used to define an extended source for the Image Simulation tool and associated image analysis features. These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\IMAFiles.
JPG Joint Photographic Experts Group image file. These files are used to define an extended source for the Image Simulation tool and associated image analysis features. They can also serve as a reference for the Focault Analysis or can be used with the non-sequential Slide object. These input files may be located in any directory.

 

Imported data 

Extension Description Location
F3D These are OptiWave files that contain electric field data for an input beam. These files are converted to the Zemax Beam File (ZBF) format for use in POP and Partially Coherent Image Analysis features using the tool located at File...Convert File Formats. There is no preferred location for these files. 
INT Contains interferometric measurement data used to model a Zernike or Grid-type surface. These files may be converted to DAT or GRD files using OpticStudio's built-in conversion tool located at File...Convert File Formats. There is no preferred location for these files.

 

Input data

Extension Description Location
AGF ASCII Glass Format. These are ASCII files which contain the data for glass catalogs. An ASCII format is used so that additional data may be incorporated in future releases of Zemax. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Glasscat\, or in the Glass Path provided in the File...Preferences...Folder's menu.
BGF Binary Glass Format. To accelerate the loading of AGF files, Zemax converts AGF files to BGF, which are the version specific binary images of the glass catalogs. These files will automatically be generated by Zemax from the AGF files. The location of these files is the same as for the AGF files.
BSDF Bi-Directional Scatter Distribution Function file. These files contain tabulated BSDF values which represent measured data for the angular distribution of scattering from a particular surface (see "How to use tabular BSDF data to define the surface scattering distribution" for more details). These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Miscellaneous\...
DAT

DAT files are used for a variety of applications in Zemax. They are:

  1. ASCII files which contain sag data used to model a surface via the Grid Sag surface.
  2. ASCII files which contain phase data used to model a surface via the Grid Phase surface.
  3. ASCII files which contain data for input into the Extra Data Editor, for those surfaces in which this editor is needed to define the full range of surface parameters.
  4. ASCII or binary files which contain data used to model a non-sequential source via the Source File object.
  5. ASCII files which contain coating data for use in Sequential and Non-Sequential mode.
  6. ASCII files which contain ABg scatter data.
  7. ASCII files which contain coating/scatter profiles to apply to various faces of non-sequential objects.
For the first 3 applications shown to the left, these files may be located in any directory. For the Source File object, the input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Sources\Source Files\, or in the \Sources\Source Files\ directory for the Objects Path provided in the File...Preferences...Folders menu. The input files which contain coating data should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Coatings, or in the Coating path provided in the File...Preferences...Folders menu. The ABg scatter data files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\ABg_Data. The coating/scatter profile data files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Profiles\.
GRD GRADIUMTM profile data files. These files contain refractive index profile data for stock gradient index blanks provided by LightPath Technologies, Inc. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Glasscat\, or in the Glass Path provided in the File...Preferences...Folders menu.
IND Refractive index profile data file. These ASCII files contain index vs. wavelength data for a glass, to be fit to one of the dispersion formulas supported by Zemax (see "Fitting index data in OpticStudio" for more details). The input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Glasscat\, or in the Glass Path provided in the File...Preferences...Folders menu.
TID Refractive index profile data file. These ASCII files contain index vs. wavelength and temperature data for a glass, to be fit to the Zemax thermal model and to one of the dispersion formulas supported by Zemax (see "How to fit temperature-dependent index data to the OpticStudio thermal model" for more details). The input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Glasscat\, or in the Glass Path provided in the File...Preferences...Folders menu. 
TPD Test Plate data files. These ASCII files contain test plate lists supplied by various optical fabricators, for use with the Test Plate Fitting tool. The input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Testplate\.
ZMF Zemax Lens Catalog file. These files contain compilations of ZMX format files which are used to define lenses in the stock lens catalogs. The input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Stockcat\.
ZTG Zemax Table Glass file. These ASCII files contain tabulated data for the refractive index and transmission of a glass vs. wavelength. This is useful for modeling glasses when the index data cannot be well fit to one of the dispersion models supported by Zemax. The input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\GlassCat, or in the Glass Path provided in the File...Preferences...Folders menu.

 

Macros

Extension Description Location
ZPL An ASCII file containg script commands in the Zemax Programming Language. This is useful for automating tasks in a lens design, generating custom plates, etc. See the article "Introduction to Zemax Programming Language (ZPL)" for more information.  These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Macros, or in the ZPL path provided in the File...Project Preferences...Folders menu. 

 

NSC Objects 

For more information on using the Phosphors and Fluorescence setting (discussed below), see the article "Overview of photoluminescence simulation in OpticStudio."

Extension Description Location
DAT Contains default coating or scatter profiles for applying to various faces of non-sequential objects. These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Coatings or in the Coating path listed in File...Project Preferences...Folders menu.
ZAS Zemax Absorption Spectrum. The absorption spectrum data for use in the non-sequential Phosphors and Fluorescence volume physics model. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Phosphors and Fluorescence Files. 
ZES Zemax Emission Spectrum. The emission spectrum data for use in the Non-Sequential Phosphors and Fluorescence volume physics model. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Phosphors and Fluorescence Files.
ZEX Zemax Excitation Spectrum. The excitation spectrum data for use in the Non-Sequential Phosphors and Fluorescence volume physics model. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Phosphors and Fluorescence Files.
ZQE Files containing Phosphors and Fluorescence quantum yield data These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Phosphors and Fluorescence Files.

 

NSC Ray Trace

Extension Description Location
ZRD Ray database file. This file type is generated after performing a ray trace in Non-Sequential Mode but will only be saved if "Save Rays" is selected in the Ray Trace Control dialog. These binary files contain complete information (such as position that the ray hits the object, direction of the ray after refraction, polarization state of the ray, etc.) for each ray that is traced in a Non-Sequential system. Filter strings may then be used to isolate specific rays in the database (see the article entitled "Identifying specific rays using filter strings" for more details). These files are saved to the same directory as the corresponding ZMX system file.

 

NSC Sources

Extension Description Location
DAT ASCII text file data used to define a Source File object. (See the article "How to model LEDs and other complex sources" for more information). These files should be located in one of the folders within the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Sources - typically in the "Source Files" folder.
IES Source IESNA files. These are source files that contain measured photometry data for a real lamp, formatted according to the Illumination Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) Standard File Format for Electronic Transfer of Photometric Data. These files are used with the Source IESNA File object in Non-Sequential mode. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Sources\IESNA.
LDT Source EULUMDAT files. These are source files that contain measured photometry data for a real lamp, provided in a common format known as the EULUMDAT format. These files are used with the Source EULUMDAT file object in Non-Sequential mode. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Sources\EULUMDAT.
RSMX Radiant Source Model files. These source files can be downloaded from the Radiant Source Model catalog (Premium Only). They can be used to generate a source file accurate in the near and far fields. (See the article "How to model LEDs and other complex sources" for more information). These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Sources\Radiant Source Model Files.
SPCD Spectrum Source file. These ASCII files contain spectral data (i.e. wavelength and weight) for a source to be modeled in Non-Sequential mode. This data is similar to the data input for the Wavelength Data dialog box but allows up to 100 wavelengths to be defined for a single source (the Wavelength Data dialog box only allows 24 wavelengths per configuration), and different files to be used for different sources. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Sources\Spectrum Files.

 

Object data 

Extension Description Location
TOB Contains data used to model a Tabulated Facted Radial or Tabulated Faceted Toroidal object. These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Tabulated Objects.

 

Optimization 

Extension Description Location
MF Merit Function file. These files contain the full list of operands, targets, and weights for a saved Merit Function. The files can be used to define a custom Merit Function for different lens files, or for defining different Merit Functions for a tolerance analysis.  These files should be located in any directory, though the default path is {Zemax}\MeritFunction.

 

Polarization

Extension Description Location
DAT ASCII file containing coating data for use in Sequential and Non-Sequential Mode. These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Coatings, or in the Coating path provided in the File...Project Preferences...Folders menu. 
ZEC Zemax Encrypted Coating file. These files contain encrypted coating data, which allow the user to specify a coating in a lens file without having to know the detailed coating information. This is useful for users who wish to distributed lens files that contain coatings but wish to keep proprietary coating information confidential.  These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Coatings, or in the Coating path given in the File...Project Preferences...Folders menu.

 

POP

Extension Description Location
ZBF Zemax Beam File. This file contains beam electric field data used with the Physical Optics Propagation (POP) analysis feature. User-defined files (ASCII or binary) are used to specify the initial POP beam. Zemax can also generate binary files which contain the electric field data for the beam at any surface along the propagation path.  These input files should be located in directory {Zemax}\POP\BEAMFILES.
ZMM Zemax Multi-Mode file. These ASCII files are used to define a multimode beam for use with the Physical Optics Propagation analysis feature. The beam is created from a coherent or incoherent sum or other beams.  These files may be located in any directory.

 

Surface data 

Extension Description Location
DAT Contains surface profile data. These ASCII files contain a list of data used to model the Grid Sag or Grid Phase surface in Sequential Mode. The data in these files may also be imported into the Extra Data Editor for modeling a surface. The input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Grid Files.
GGD Contains grid gradient index data for the Sequential Grid Gradient surface. These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Glasscat or in the Glass Path provided in the File...Project Preferences...Folders menu.

 

Tolerancing

Extension Description Location
"" Files that contain user-defined statistics to use in tolerancing can have any extension.  
TOL Saved settings from the Tolerance Data Editor. These files contain the full list of operands and perturbation values (min and max) for a saved Tolerance Data Editor. These files can be used in defining the same custom tolerances for different lens files.  The input files may be located in any directory, although the default path is {Zemax}\Tolerance.
TOP Saved settings from the Tolerance settings dialog box. These files can be used to define the same tolerance analysis settings for different lens files, or to define the tolerance analysis settings to be used with the TOLR optimization operand. For more information, see the article "How to optimize for as-built performance."

For general tolerance analysis, the input files may be located in any directory. The defult path is {Zemax}\Tolerance.

For use with the TOLR operance, these input files must be located in the directory {Zemax}\Configs.

TSC Tolerance script file. These ASCII files contain script commands which allow a procedure to be defined for evaluating the performance of a lens during tolerancing. This is useful for simulating complex lens alignment, or for monitoring and reporting specific system values during tolerance analysis. See the article "How to get any optimization operand value in the tolerance report" for an example.  These input files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Tolerance.

 

User-defined data

Extension Description Location
C/CPP C or C++ language source code files. Used to generate user-defined surfaces, sources, etc. in the form of a DLL. These files are typically located in one of the directories within the {Zemax}\DLL folder. They are not required to be in any OpticStudio directory.
DLL Dynamic Link Library file. These files are used to model user-defined surfaces, objects, scattering distributions, etc. They are compiled from source code (C/C++). (See the articles "How to compile a User-Defined surface" and "How to create a user-defined scattering function" for more information.) These files must be located in the folder the matching folder within the {Zemax}\DLL folder. For example, user-defined surfaces must be placed in {Zemax}\DLL\Surfaces.
POB Contains ASCII data used to model a user-defined Polygon object. These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Polygon Objects. 
UDA Contains data used to model a user-defined aperture in both Sequential or Non-Sequential Mode. (See the article "How to create apertures in Non-Sequential Mode" for more information). These files should be located in the directory {Zemax}\Objects\Apertures

 

 

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