Specify Download and Installation

Specify 6 is available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows, and Linux computers. Hardware and software requirements to run Specify are dependent on the type of desktop computer you use.  Platform requirements and recommendations are available in this downloadable Word document:

In the past we released two versions of Specify 6, the “full” version and “Specify EZDB”.  Starting with Specify 6.6.0 we released only the full version; it is the version we recommend for all new installations.  The full version of Specify requires prior, separate installation of Oracle’s MySQL database software and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). MySQL and Specify may be installed: (1) on the same workstation for one or more users only on that computer, (2) on a workstation with MySQL and Specify configured for access from users on a few additional computers, or (3) on a dedicated server computer for access from multiple Specify workstations. To consider your institutional options for deploying MySQL and Specify, please review these documents:

Beginning with release 6.6, Specify required the Java 8 Runtime Environment (JRE) that enables Specify to run identically on Windows, Linux and macOS workstations. Specify 6.6.06, our latest release works with the latest Java 8 RE; it is not yet adopted to the September 2017 release of Java 9. For Mac users, Java 8 requires an Apple computer with an Intel processor and Mac OS 10.7.3 (Lion) or above. The 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, it need not be installed. 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 before installing Specify 6:

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 MySQL root account password in order to set up a collection database and create Specify manager and user accounts.  The macOS 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 for Specify” explains how to do that using a macOS 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 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 steps.

Software Applications in the Specify 6 Installation Packages

Application Description
Specify.exe (in 32-bit installer) Specify 6 application with 768 KB RAM memory allocated for Java and Specify
Specify1GB.exe (in 32-bit installer) Specify 6 application uses 1 GB memory for better performance on 32-bit Windows computers.
Specify.exe (in 64-bit installer) Specify 6 for 64-bit Windows with 1 GB memory for Java and Specify
Specify4GB.exe (in 64-bit installer) Specify 6 allocates 4 GB RAM for Java and Specify, recommended for 64-bit Windows with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. For large databases (500K-1M records) performance and data exporting should be improved.
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.


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Installation Packages for Specify 6.6.06

Specify Database Schema Version 2.4 (Schema update with this release.)

Released 12 October 2017

Specify 6.6.06 Release Notes

New Specify installations need to install MySQL and Java 8 JRE first, before installing Specify, see installation guides and documentation.

Platform Size Download Installer File
Windows 32-bit Installations ~140 MB Specify_windows.exe
Windows 64-bit Installations ~140 MB Specify_Windows_64.exe
macOS 10.7.3+ ~140 MB Specify_macos.dmg
Linux 32 bit ~137 MB Specify_unix.sh
Linux 64 bit ~137 MB Specify_unix_64.sh