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How to Submit Vendor Data To Be Distributed With Zemax

This article describes the format and process for materials manufacturers to submit material data for inclusion in OpticStudio.
Mark Nicholson
Frequently Asked Questions


Zemax will distribute catalog lens data, test plate data, and glass data with OpticStudio for vendors and manufacturers who request that their data be distributed with OpticStudio, and send their data in a OpticStudio-readable format. 

All data files for distribution along with OpticStudio should be emailed to by a representative of the company with authority to release this data.

Stock Lens Data

In order for us to distribute your lens data with OpticStudio, we need to receive from you a folder containing the .ZMX files for each lens you want to distribute. We will then compress these files into a single .ZMF file, which is then read by the Lens Catalog tool. The .ZMF (Zemax folder) file will normally be called {your_company_name}.zmf unless you ask for a different one.

Each lens file in the folder should have the name {partnumber}.zmx, where {partnumber} is your unique identifier for the lens. The partnumber must not include spaces: use underscores or hyphens if a space character is needed.

Zemax builds an index used by the Lens Catalog tool for users to quickly search the catalog. All the data needed for this index is created when we compress the files into a .ZMF file. The data includes the effective focal length of the lens at the primary wavelength, and the entrance pupil diameter of the lens, as well as flags indicating the number of elements, and whether aspheric surfaces, GRIN surfaces and toroidal surfaces are included in the file. Any OpticStudio file can be included in a .ZMF.

Note that if your lenses use special glasses that are not currently distributed with OpticStudio, you must provide the dispersion data for all glasses used in your own glass catalog. Similarly, if you include thin-film coatings along with your lens design, you should also supply a single {my_company_coating}.dat file that includes all the coatings used. Note that OpticStudio supports an encrypted coating file format if you wish not to disclose coating design details. 

Test Plate Data

Test plate data files are ASCII text files that end in the extension .tpd, and are located in the \Zemax\Testplate directory.

The test plate file format is as follows:

! Header line 1

! Header line 2

! etc... up to 15 lines of header info is supported

partname radius diameter code

partname radius diameter code

partname radius diameter code

partname radius diameter code


where "partname" is an ID number or name for the test plate, "radius" is the radius of curvature in millimeters, "diameter" is the actual plate diameter in millimeters, and "code" is an integer value. The code should be -1 for concave only, 0 for both concave and convex, and 1 for convex only. All four values must be on one line, separated by spaces or tabs. No spaces or tabs are allowed in the partname parameter. Each test plate (or pair) should be on one line, and the lines separated by carriage returns. Each line should have a unique partname. The numeric values can be in free format, but must be in millimeters. The maximum number of test plates allowed per file is 30,000. The header lines can be used for any purpose, and typically indicate the vendor's name, address, phone, e-mail, and other contact data. The "!" is replaced by a space when OpticStudio lists the data out on test plate lists and fitting reports. See any of the .tpd files included with OpticStudio for examples.

Glass Data

To provide glass data for distribution with OpticStudio, create a materials catalog using Libraries > Materials Catalog > Save Catalog As.  You can then Cut Glass to remove unneeded materials from your copied catalog, and Insert Glass to create new material profiles.

You can include the following data:
  • Glass dispersion data, using many different dispersion models
  • Glass transmission data, for intermal transmission calculations
  • Thermal data
  • Glass selection data

The glass selection data includes several items which are very important for lens designers to select the correct glass for their designs. This includes:

  • The glass status, which should be one of Preferred, Standard or Obsolete. It is important that glasses are never deleted from the catalog: if a glass is no longer available for purchase, it should be marked as obsolete but not deleted. This ensures that users can always open their files, and have the correct dispersion data available. Catalog data should not normally use the Special or Melt flags, as these are intended for use by users to indicate data that has been modified in some way.
  • Other glass selection data, such as relative cost, stain resistance, climate resistance etc. Note that if this data is not provided, it may mean that users are not aware of special issues concerning the glass, and may therefore ignore a useful glass or (worse) select a glass that has some issue that makes it unsuitable.
  • A Comment field for each glass, that gives useful information on the glass: typical uses might include 'Replaces obsolete glass X', or 'Good UV transmission' etc.

See the Help manual for full details of all the information that can be provided.


If you would like to have your company's data distributed with OpticStudio, please submit the data to in the appropriate format.