Specify Download and Installation

Specify is available for OS X, Windows, and Linux computers. In the past we released two versions, the full version and Specify EZDB.  Starting with Specify 6.6 we will only be releasing the full version of Specify, however an EZDB updater is available for 6.6. The full version is recommended for all new installations; it requires the additional installation of Oracle’s MySQL database software. MySQL and Specify may be installed on the same workstation for users only on that computer, or a workstation with MySQL and Specify may be configured for access from users on a few additional computers, or MySQL may be installed on a dedicated server computer hosting MySQL for access from multiple Specify workstations. To consider institutional options for deploying MySQL, please see:


Starting with release 6.6, Specify uses the Java 8 Runtime Environment or “JRE” which enables Specify to run identically across Windows, Linux and Mac platforms. For Mac users, Java 8 requires an Apple computer with an Intel processor and Mac OS 10.7.3 (Lion) or above. The Java (JRE) must be installed separately at the system level on each workstation running Specify. Go to: http://java.com/en/download/index.jsp to download the Java 8 JRE for Windows or MacOS. Specify does not use a Java web browser plug-in. For new installations of Specify, the Oracle MySQL database manager first must be downloaded, installed and configured. The free and open source, MySQL Database Server Community Edition is available from Oracle at http://mysql.com/downloads. The Windows MySQL installer “MSI” file includes both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of MySQL. Once downloaded, the MySQL installer software chooses the version appropriate for your version of Windows. Windows users should use this document as a guide for installing MySQL:

For Apple Mac OS workstations, MySQL is supported by Oracle for Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and above, but because Java 8 requires Mac OS 10.7.3 (Lion) or above, Specify requires the Mac OS 10.7.3 or newer. Mac users should use this guide for installing MySQL:

Note that for Specify installations on Windows workstations when you install MySQL you will be asked to create a MySQL database “root” user password. In Specify’s documentation we refer to the MySQL “root” user the ‘Specify IT User.”  During the Specify installation process, the Specify Setup Wizard program requires the root account password in order to set up a collection database and create Specify manager and user accounts.  The Mac OS installation of MySQL also has a user account called ‘root’ but the Oracle Mac MySQL installer does not ask for a password–MySQL is installed without a password on its root account. A password must be added, the document “Installing MySQL on Mac OS X for Specify” explains how to do that using a Mac OS terminal window. (On shared or dedicated MySQL server computers, Specify does not strictly require a MySQL ‘root’ user account with full MySQL server privileges to setup Specify. The Specify ‘IT User’ in that case should be a MySQL account with root-level privileges only for the Specify collection database to be setup and managed.) On workstations, to install the full version of Specify, after you have MySQL installed and running, download and then run the Specify installation package for your desktop platform. Download links to Specify installers are below. Once Specify is installed, but before it can be used to manage collection data, there is an additional preparation step–running the Specify Setup Wizard. The Setup Wizard adds Specify’s data tables to the new database and configures the initial database setup in several ways based on information you provide. The Setup Wizard (SpWizard.exe) is included in the Specify 6 installation package and it is put into the Specify program installation “/bin” directory. Before setting up Specify for an actual, production database, read the Specify Setup Wizard step-by-step guide linked below. In it you will find several configuration choices which determine how your collection’s data will be represented within Specify. Those choices require consideration before running the Wizard.

Some software installation and Setup Wizard options may seem complicated or obscure. If you do not have local technical support for installing software or would just like to confirm your choices, contact us at the Specify Helpdesk at: (785) 864-4400, support@specifysoftware.org. We would be happy to advise on the various MySQL and Specify setup options and walk through the setup steps.

Software Applications in the Specify 6 Installation Package

Application Description
Specify.exe Specify 6 application (uses the Java JRE small memory model, best for most users)
Specify1GB.exe Specify 6 application (uses a 1 GB JRE memory model, for better performance if you have 2 GB or more of RAM)
SpBackupRestore.exe This is Specify’s database backup and restore tool, for site administrators.
SpiReport.exe Specify’s version of iReport for creating and editing label and report formats for printed output
SpWizard.exe The Specify Setup Wizard creates the first new, empty, Specify collection database in MySQL. Additional collection databases can be added later from within Specify.
ImportFileSplitter.exe The Import File Splitter reduces large Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files into separate files of 5,000 record rows or fewer to enable specimen or taxon data import through the Specify WorkBench.
DataExporter.exe The Specify Data Exporter creates a flat database table based on a user’s schema mapping, and then exports that data in various formats for external caches and databases, such as an IPT, DarwinCore compliant cache or a copy for the Specify web portal.
ExpCmdLine.exe This is a command line version of the Specify Data Exporter used for exporting collection data to an external copy or cache. This program can be used to script an automatic export of collection data to update external caches or web servers, including the Specify Web Portal an IPT server cache. New with Specify 6.5.04.

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Installation Packages for Specify 6.6.05

Specify Database Schema version 2.3 (Schema Update) Released 3 November 2016 Specify 6.6.05 Release Notes Requires prior installation of MySQL and Java 8 JRE, see installation guides and documentation.

Platform Size Download File
MS Windows XP, 7, 8 ~136 MB Specify_windows.exe
Mac OS X 10.7.3+ ~135 MB Specify_macos.dmg
Linux 32 bit ~131 MB Specify_unix.sh
Linux 64 bit ~131 MB Specify_unix_64.sh