The MINC file format and toolbox was originally conceived, written and released by Peter Neelin in 1992 due to the frustrations of dealing with multiple file formats from varying scanners and research groups. In the ensuing years many associated tools (image registration, normalisation, visualisation, etc.) were written and have also been released.

The original MINC file format and tools were based upon the NetCDF data format but problems were being encountered with multi-gigabyte datasets, as such a large rewrite of the library was undertaken in 2002–3 in which the data format was changed to HDF in order to support large files and other new features. This release series is called MINC2. Development work on MINC1 was halted at version 1.5.1 in 2006.

The current MINC2 library and tools are maintained by a group of developers in various image research labs around the world.

Minc Tool Kit

This is another development effort, lead by Dr Vladimir Fonov, based solely on the MINC2 library but it will read MINC1 data. If you are new to MINC, then we suggest that you start here but keep in mind that this package is bleeding edge. The package was officially released on April 23 2012. This toolkit contains most of the commonly used minc tools in one precompiled 64-bit binary package of Debian, Ubuntu and Mac OS X. Also contains interactive tools like register and Display, and some advanced tools such as patch-based segmentation, denoising and brain masking.

Getting Started

All BIC software source releases are stored on packages.bic.mni.mcgill.ca/ in the tgz directory.

The current stable release of MINC2 is:

Prebuilt binaries are also available for a number of operating systems with various levels of support. They are listed below in approximately the order in which they are supported. Send an email to a.janke@gmail.com if you are interested in a platform that is currently listed here.

Ubuntu Maverick 10.10

Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS

Ubuntu Karmic 9.10

Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04

Ubuntu Intrepid 8.10

Debian Lenny

OSX 10.5

OSX 10.4

vmware Ubuntu image



Documentation and information on the associated MINC tools for registration, B0 correction, pipeline analysis and others are kept on wikibooks:


All MINC documentation is stored on wikibooks such that anyone can contribute. This wikibook like all documentation is always in development, but contains the latest information and documentation.


The MINC package itself and most of the associated tools are licensed under a modified BSD license. The MINC license is shown below but be aware that some packages are released under differing licences such as the GPL. Check the COPYING file in the chosen package for details.

   Copyright 1993-2000, 
   McConnell Brain Imaging Centre
   Montreal Neurological Institute
   McGill University.

   Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its
   documentation for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted,
   provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies.  The
   author and McGill University make no representations about the
   suitability of this software for any purpose.  It is provided "as is"
   without express or implied warranty.