Viewing IES (*.ies) files in Mac OS X


What is an IES file and how can I view it in Mac OS? X?


Any version of Mac OS X (v10.6.4 or newer recommended) and a web browser (Safari 5.x or newer recommended)


The Illuminating Engineering Society XTNL URL created a standard set of rules to describe the photometric properties of a specific light fixture (luminaire). The data set containing the photometric description is created in lighting design software and saved as an *.ies? file that includes the light distribution patterns, foot candle plots, and luminaire efficiency among many other attributes. Click here INTL URL to see an example of what these text based files look like.

Virtually all lighting manufacturers offer *.ies files for their luminaires which provides a technical baseline to compare fixtures from the same, or different, manufacturers. While numerous applications exist for the Windows operating system to view the content of an *.ies file, we have yet to find one that runs in Mac OS X.

What To Do

The internet comes to the rescue in allowing *.IES files to be viewed in a browser window! While the solution isn't perfect, we tip our hats to the guys at Visual-3d XTNL URL for posting a web based application that displays the *.IES file content.

To view a *.IES file in Mac OS X, do this:

  1. Launch your web browser of choice (e.g. Safari 5.x)
  2. Visit the online IES file viewer page at XTNL URL
  3. Follow the on screen instructions to Open your *.ies file.
  4. The photometric data is displayed in your web browser window

Example Data:
To see an example of what ICS data looks like using the online view noted above, click here XTNL URL

If you'd like to see the graphic version of the sample text based ICS data we provided a link to above, do this:

  1. click here to download a sample ics file from our website INTL URL
  2. A file named is downloaded to your computer (typically to your downloads folder unless you have specified another location). Double click that downloaded file to extract it's contents to a file named CR6.ies.
  3. Visit the online IES file viewer by clicking here XTNL URL
  4. In the IES File? View web page click the open link.
  5. In the Open Photometric Report dialog (pictured below) click choose file (note: the button may read browse in some browsers).
  6. OpenPhotometricReport.jpg

  7. Locate the file from step 2 noted above and press open in the dialog box (in some cases the button may read choose, or ok, instead of open).
  8. You'll be returned to the browser window as shown in step 5 above. Press Ok.
  9. The photometric data is displayed in the browser window. A portion of that report is pictured below
  10. OpenPhotometricReport2.jpg

While the online work around isn't perfect, at least it's a glimmer of light in the dark tunnel that is viewing IES files in Mac OS X and we hope it helps.

If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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