SPM is made freely available to the (neuro)imaging community, to promote collaboration and a common analysis scheme across laboratories. The software represents the implementation of the theoretical concepts of Statistical Parametric Mapping in a complete analysis package.
SPM (being the collection of files given in the manifest in the Contents.m file included with each distribution) is free but copyright software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public Licence as published by the Free Software Foundation (either version 2, as given in file spm_LICENCE.man, or at your option, any later version). Further details on "copyleft" can be found at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/. In particular, SPM is supplied as is. No formal support or maintenance is provided or implied.
SPM8 was released in April 2009 and represents a major update to the SPM software, containing substantial theoretical, algorithmic, structural and interface enhancements over previous versions:
Previous versions are still available for download, however you should prefer the most recent one:
- SPM5: http://www.fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/spm/software/spm5/
- SPM2: http://www.fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/spm/software/spm2/
- SPM99: http://www.fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/spm/software/spm99/
- SPM96: http://www.fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/spm/software/spm96/
You need the following to run SPM on your computer:
- MATLAB: MATLAB is a high level numerical mathematics environment developed by MathWorks, Inc. Natick, MA, USA. SPM requires only core MATLAB to run (no special toolboxes are required). See this page for more details.
- SPM also uses external C programs, linked to MATLAB as C-mex files, to perform some of the more computationally intensive operations. Pre-compiled binaries are provided with the distribution for Linux (*.mexglx, *.mexa64), Windows (*.mexw32, *.mexw64) and Mac (*.mexmac, *.mexmaci, *.mexmaci64). Hence, most of the time, SPM will work immediately using these binaries; in some instances, you might have to recompile them for your own architecture, details are provided here for each platform.
- SPM8 uses the NIFTI-1 file format for the image data. All images are written as NIFTI-1, but it will also read the old Analyze format used by SPM2. Tools are provided to import data from DICOM, MINC and ECAT7. SPM8 also uses the GIfTI file format for surface-based data.
SPM is freely available, but you will be asked to complete a registration form prior to downloading. Having completed the form, you will be directed to the download location.
- On Unix/Linux, use unzip SPM.zip or tar xvfz SPM.tar.gz
- On Windows, use 7-Zip (free and powerful file archiver) or any other archive software that you might already have installed.
- On Mac, double-click to unpack the archive
Then launch MATLAB and add SPM to MATLAB's path:
>> addpath C:/software/matlab/spm
SPM is now ready to use:
Managing your MATLAB path
To ensure SPM is automatically on your MATLAB path in the future, you can either use the command
and save the path, or (better, if you have multiple MATLAB versions) you can edit your MATLAB startup file to include the above addpath command.
(Expert tip: since the startup file can be a general MATLAB script/function you could consider more elaborate things like bringing up a GUI window with a choice of SPM versions to add to the path.)
SPM updates are made from time to time and advertised on the SPM mailing list. They can be downloaded from the following addresses:
On Unix systems (Linux, Mac), use this command line syntax to install the updates
unzip -o spm8_updates_rxxxx.zip -d spm8
On other platforms, just unpack the update archive over your SPM installation so that newer files overwrite existing files.
A list of SPM toolboxes and extensions is available on the SPM website: http://www.fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/spm/ext/.
To install one of them, follow the instructions probably provided with the package. It usually consists in simply copying the functions into a subdirectory of the toolbox directory of your SPM installation.