Specify 6 is available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows, and Linux. Hardware and software requirements to run Specify are dependent on the type of desktop computer you use. Configuration recommendations are available here:

Specify 6 Hardware & Software Compatibility

If you are going to connect your PC to a network Specify database you will not need to install any database management software.

These are the current standalone Specify 6 installation guides for each operating system:

If you have an older system (8+ years old), please follow the MySQL 5.7 instructions below:

With the release of Specify 6.8, Specify now recommends MariaDB as a drop-in replacement for MySQL 5.7. MariaDB and Specify may be installed: (1) on the same workstation for one or more users only on that computer, (2) on a workstation with MariaDB/MySQL and Specify configured for access from users on a few additional computers, or (3) on a dedicated server computer for access from multiple Specify workstations. To consider your institutional options for deploying MariaDB/MySQL and Specify, please review these documents:

Beginning with release 6.7.02 (28 March 2019), Specify requires the Java 8 Runtime Environment from Amazon known as Amazon “Corretto”. This is a change from using Oracle’s Java 8 runtime package (JRE) due to changes in Oracle’s licensing terms that make updates and patches no longer free to use for Specify or other non-personal applications. We have provided detailed guidance on this switch from Oracle’s Java JRE to Amazon’s here. Please review that document and consult with your IT systems support group for any strategy your institution may have to respond to Oracle’s new licensing terms for Java. Amazon Corretto 8 is a 100% compatible JRE package based on the same source code as Oracle’s JRE, and Amazon has committed to licensing Corretto at no cost and to keep it updated, indefinitely. Amazon’s JRE package Corretto 8 enables Specify to run identically on Windows, Linux and macOS workstations. Corretto 11 is not yet supported or compatible with Specify (April 2020).

If you have any questions or issues installing and setting up Specify let us know at [email protected].

Note that in these Specify installations when you install MariaDB you will be asked to create a MariaDB “root” user password. In Specify’s documentation we refer to the MariaDB/MySQL “root” user the ‘Specify IT User.” During the Specify installation process, the Specify Setup Wizard program requires the MariaDB/MySQL root account password in order to set up a collection database and create Specify manager and user accounts.

On shared or dedicated MariaDB/MySQL server computers, Specify does not strictly require a MariaDB/MySQL ‘root’ user account with full MariaDB/MySQL server privileges to setup Specify. The Specify ‘IT User’ in that case should be a MariaDB/MySQL account with root-level privileges only for the Specify collection database to be setup and managed.

Download links to Specify installers are below. Once Specify is installed, but before it can be used to manage collection data, there is an additional preparation step–running the Specify Setup Wizard. The Setup Wizard adds Specify’s data tables to the new database and configures the initial database setup in several ways based on information you provide. The Setup Wizard (SpWizard) is included in the Specify 6 installation package and it is put into the Specify program installation “/bin” directory. Before setting up Specify for an actual, production database, read the Specify Setup Wizard step-by-step guide linked below. In it you will find several configuration choices which determine how your collection’s data will be represented within Specify. Those choices require consideration before running the Wizard.

Some software installation and Setup Wizard options may seem complicated or obscure. If you do not have local technical support for installing software or would just like to confirm your choices, reach out to the Specify Helpdesk at [email protected]. We would be happy to advise on Specify setup options and steps.

Applications in the Specify 6 Installation Packages

Application Description
Specify Specify 6 for 64-bit Windows with 1 GB memory for Java and Specify
Specify4GB Specify 6 allocates 4 GB RAM for Java and Specify, recommended for 64-bit Windows with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. For large databases (500K-1M records) performance and data exporting should be improved.
SpBackupRestore This is Specify’s database backup and restore tool for site administrators.
SpiReport Specify’s version of iReport for creating and editing label and report formats for printed output
SpWizard The Specify Setup Wizard creates the first new, empty, Specify collection database in MariaDB/MySQL. Additional collection databases can be added later from within Specify.
ImportFileSplitter The Import File Splitter reduces large Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files into separate files of 5,000 record rows or fewer to enable specimen or taxon data import through the Specify WorkBench.
DataExporter The Specify Data Exporter creates a flat database table based on a user’s schema mapping, and then exports that data in various formats for external caches and databases, such as an IPT, DarwinCore compliant cache or a copy for the Specify web portal.
ExpCmdLine This is a command line version of the Specify Data Exporter used for exporting collection data to an external copy or cache. This program can be used to script an automatic export of collection data to update external caches or web servers, including the Specify Web Portal an IPT server cache.

Install Specify 6 (Latest Version)


View the Specify Database Schema Version 2.10

Specify 6.8.03 Release Notes

New Specify installations need to first install MariaDB 10.6.5 or Oracle’s MySQL Community Server 5.7.x (not 8.0.x) and Amazon’s Corretto 8 (Java JRE) before installing Specify 6. See installation guides and documentation for more information on preparing a workstation for Specify 6.

Existing installations of Specify 6 will need to have a version of MySQL that is 5.7.x (not 8.0.x), or MariaDB 10.4 or newer for the database to properly update.

Platform Size Installer
Windows 64 bit 163 MB Specify_Windows_64.exe
macOS 10.7.3+ 162 MB Specify_macos.dmg
Linux 64 bit 160 MB Specify_unix_64.sh

Built with the support of the multi-platform installer builder INSTALL4J.