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Reanalysis of Multi-Sweep Binary Axon ABF, IgorPro IBW, and WinWCP WCP Files



Thanks to a program written by Alen Eapen, bin2txtswps.exe will convert multi-sweep Axon ABF files, Igor Pro IBW files and WinWCP WCP binary files to single sweep ASCII ATF (Axon Text Files).  WinLTP can then easily reanalyse these ATF files.

Special WinLTP reanalyses include: PopSpike Area, Amplitude and Latency, Coastline, three types of Slope measurement, stimulus artefact blanking, analysis of all EPSPs in a sweep, and special analyses of trains.

Bin2txtswps.exe is an open source Python program that uses th e BDS Licensed Neo package to perform the binary to ASCII ATF file conversions. It is a separate program from WinLTP and can be run independently from the command line. The source code is freely available on github at:, and the actual bin2txtswps.exe executable program is freely available in this WinLTP 2.30 download.

bin2txtswps can be run from within the WinLTP Reanalysis program by clicking on the menu (red arrow, Fig. A):
      SweepFile -> Convert ABF, IBW or WCP Binary Files to Axon ATF Text Sweep Files...
Then, within bin2txtswps.exe, click the 'Choose Folder' button (red arrow, Fig. B) to choose the folder containing the ABF, IBW and/or WCP files.  Then click on the chosen folder and click on the 'Select Folder' button (red arrow, Fig. C).  And finally click the 'Start Conversion' button (red arrow, Fig. D) to convert the sweeps in the ABF, IBW and/or WCP binary files to single sweep ASCII Axon ATF Text Files (lower part of Fig. D).

Back in the WinLTP Reanalysis program, click the 'Start Reanalysis' button to bring up the 'Select Files to Reanalyze' dialog box, move to the folder containing the single sweep ASCII Axon ATF Text Files, select the files you want to reanalyze and click OK. WinLTP will automatically detect that the single sweep files are ATF files and proceed to automatically reanalyze them.

ABF and WCP files seem to convert with little or no problems.  However, IBW files can be problematic.  The ATF files of some IBW files may have no units (DataType) or  ScaleFactor (ie mVperUnit or gain).  If that is the case, then analyze the ATF files as 'General ASCII files' and supply reasonable units ("mV" or "pA") and reasonable ScaleFactors (say 100 mV/mV for "mV" units, or 10mV/pA for "pA" units).  Then increase the gain if the signal is too "bitty", or decrease the gain if the signal is truncated.