Proposed new data file standard for flow cytometry, version FCS 3.0

Cytometry. 1997 Jun 1;28(2):118-22. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0320(19970601)28:2<118::aid-cyto3>;2-b.


In 1984, the first flow cytometry data file format was proposed as Flow Cytometry Standard 1.0 (FCS1.0). FCS 1.0 provided a uniform file format allowing data acquired on one computer to be correctly read and interpreted on other computers running a variety of operating systems. That standard was modified in 1990 and adopted by the Society of Analytical Cytology as FCS 2.0. Here, we report on an update of the FCS 2.0 standard which we propose to designate FCS 3.0. We have retained the basic four segment structure of earlier versions (HEADER, TEXT, DATA and ANALYSIS) in order to maintain analysis software compatibility, where possible. The changes described in this proposal include a method to collect files larger than 100 megabytes (not possible in earlier versions of the standard), the inclusion of international characters in the TEXT portions of the file, a method of verifying data integrity using a 16-bit cyclic redundancy check, and increased keyword support for cluster analysis and time acquisition. This report summarizes the work of the ISAC Data File Standards Committee. The complete and detailed FCS 3.0 standard is available through the ISAC office [Sherwood Group, 60 Revere Drive, Ste 500, Northbrook, IL 60062, phone: (847) 480-9080 ext. 231, fax: (847) 480-9282, E-mail:] or through the internet at the ISAC WWW site, ml.

MeSH terms

  • Database Management Systems / standards*
  • Flow Cytometry*