Ignoring diffusion anisotropy can severely hamper the quantitative determination of water and metabolite diffusion in complex tissues. The measurement of the trace of the diffusion tensor provides unambiguous and rotationally invariant ADC values, but usually requires three separate experiments. A single-shot technique developed earlier, originally designed for diffusion trace MR imaging (Mori and van Zijl, Magn Reson Med 1995;33:41-52), was improved and adapted for diffusion trace MR spectroscopy. A double spin-echo pulse sequence was incorporated with four pairs of bipolar gradients with specific predetermined relative signs in each of the three orthogonal directions. The combination of gradient directions leads to cancellation of all off-diagonal tensor elements while constructively adding the diagonal elements. Furthermore, the pulse scheme provides complete compensation for cross-terms between static magnetic field gradients and the applied diffusion gradients, while simultaneously avoiding cross-terms with localization gradients. The sequence was tested at 4.7 T in vivo on rat brain for MRI and on rat skeletal muscle and brain for MRS. It is shown that the average ADC as determined from the measurement of the ADCs in the three orthogonal directions is in close agreement with the ADC obtained along the trace of the diffusion tensor in a single acquisition, for both water and metabolite diffusion. The large differences in water and metabolite diffusion coefficients as measured in the individual orthogonal directions illustrate the need for diffusion trace measurements when accurate and rotationally invariant diffusion quantitation is required. The pulse scheme presented here may be applied for such purposes in MRS and MRI studies.