Choose an item from the menu on the left to go the manual chapter.

Getting Started:
Click here for a crash course to get aquainted with the program.


Serf is meant to go from raw digitised data to a final figure ready for publication. It accepts tab- or comma-delimited ASCII (*.txt files), AxoLab data formats (*.dat files and *.abf files until v1.83) for PC. See this page on the Molecular Devices site for the conversion of v2 (PClamp 10) to v1.83 (PClamp 9) file format. Serf also reads the Macintosh AxoGraph type 1 and type 2 formats in addition to its own formats (also *.dat and *.etf) as input. It outputs a vector drawing (*.his file; a Serf format that may be exported to other vector drawing programs). The program is build around three types of window each having its own menu and preference settings:
* Windows showing the input records (input windows). This window and the menu associated with it, are used to
   i) select the records (sweeps) to be included in the current analysis and
   ii) to indicate which part of each sweep should be used.
* Windows showing sound records in 'wav' format (sound windows). Input data in *.dat format may be converted to a *.wav file and be played back using the sound tool, provided that your computer is equipped with a sound card. However, the major function of the routines associated with the sound window is to determine a systems impulse response. See the section at the end of the Soundshelp.doc file in the program directory for details.
* Windows showing vector drawings (drawing sheets).
* Windows showing columns of numerical data (spreadsheets).
Items in the latter two types of window may communicate such that a modification in a column in a spreadsheet results in a change in the associated graph. By using copy and paste functions from the menu, data from the input window may be copied to a spreadsheet or to a drawing sheet resulting in a column of numbers or a graph respectively.
The path from input to graph may involve a single step (using the input window's menu items Extract>Create XY line plot or Extract>Create bar plot) or multiple steps using a spreadsheet to hold and manipulate temporary data. Once the data on a spreadsheet have been created, a graph can be made by selecting several columns and issuing the Modify/Stats>Line plot, Modify/Stats>Wind rose plot or Modify/Stats>Bar plot command from the menu.

What the program is NOT:

Although the program contains a spreadsheet, it is NOT another copy of Excel. The underlying philosophy of Serf is to create and manipulate graphs and figures NOT columns of data. Because the graphs are the data, there is usually no reason whatsoever to save the spreadsheet on disk. In future versions of the program the possibility to save the spreadsheet may be even eliminated althogether. The columns of numbers that gave rise to a graph can be restored any time for manipulation anyway. Then why save the spreadsheet?


How to use this manual, 4 ways to get help

Select an item from the menu on the left to go to one of the chapters. You may also get here from your program: Select Main index from the Help menu (1). To get help on one of the main window types, activate one of the windows in your program by clicking on it and then push the help iconhelp under the menu bar (2).
To go rapidly to a section in the manual dealing with a particular menu item or button (icon) in one of the tool bars, click the menu help button in your program and then select an item from the menu or click an icon in one of the tool bars (3). To know more about the options in a particular dialogue window, push the help button in the dialogue window concerned (4).
Recently a 5th way to find help is by using the menu item Help>Search the manual. This option is still in its beta phase.

In this manual, Italic text refers to a menu or to menu items.

new hisa new empty drawing sheet new spreadsheeta new empty spreadsheet open fileopen a file save filesave a file delete itemdelete item. copycopy to clipboard pastepaste text sizingenable/disable text sizing line plotcreate a line plot bar plotcreate a bar plot rose plotcreate a rose plot import bitmapimport a bitmap export bitmapexport a bitmap zoomzoom

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Thanks are due to those who have stimulated the development of this program with their useful comments.
I'd like to thank in particular Joseph Skopp at the University of Nebraska who sent me his error function routine.
This program contains the sixth public release of the Independent JPEG Group's free JPEG software. This software is the work of Tom Lane, Philip Gladstone, Luis Ortiz, Jim Boucher, Lee Crocker, Julian Minguillon, George Phillips, Davide Rossi, Ge' Weijers, and other members of the Independent JPEG Group.IJG is not affiliated with the official ISO JPEG standards committee.
Compressed Tiff files are converted to Jpeg using the freeware program tiff2jpeg