IES Standard File Format

IES standard file formats can be created and modified.

You can create a photometric data file in the IES format using the IES LM-63-1991 standard file format for photometric data. (IES stands for Illuminating Engineering Society.) However, only the information relevant to AutoCAD is described here. For a complete description of the IES standard file format, see IES Standard File Format for Electronic Transfer of Photometric Data and Related Information, prepared by the IES Computer Committee (

The luminous intensity distribution (LID) of a luminaire is measured at the nodes of a photometric web for a fixed set of horizontal and vertical angles. The poles of the web lie along the vertical axis, with the nadir corresponding to a vertical angle of zero degrees. The horizontal axis corresponds to a horizontal angle of zero degrees and is oriented parallel to the length of the luminaire. This type of photometric web is generated by a Type C goniometer and is the most popular in North America; other types of goniometry are supported by the IES standard file format but are not discussed here.

The photometric data is stored in an ASCII file. Each line in the file must be less than 132 characters long and must be terminated by a carriage return/line-feed character sequence. Longer lines can be continued by inserting a carriage return/line-feed character sequence.

Each field in the file must begin on a new line and must appear exactly in the following sequence:

  1. IESNA91
  2. [TEST] The test report number of your data
  3. [MANUFAC] The manufacturer of the luminaire
  5. 1
  6. The initial rated lumens for the lamp used in the test or -1 if absolute photometry is used and the intensity values do not depend on different lamp ratings.
  7. A multiplying factor for all the candela values in the file. This makes it possible to easily scale all the candela values in the file when the measuring device operates in unusual units—for example, when you obtain the photometric values from a catalog using a ruler on a goniometric diagram. Normally the multiplying factor is 1.
  8. The number of vertical angles in the photometric web.
  9. The number of horizontal angles in the photometric web.
  10. 1
  11. The type of unit used to measure the dimensions of the luminous opening. Use 1 for feet or 2 for meters.
  12. The width, length, and height of the luminous opening. It is normally given as 0 0 0.
  13. 1.0 1.0 0.0
  14. The set of vertical angles, listed in increasing order. If the distribution lies completely in the bottom hemisphere, the first and last angles must be 00 and 900, respectively. If the distribution lies completely in the top hemisphere, the first and last angles must be 900 and 1800, respectively. Otherwise, they must be 00 and 1800, respectively.
  15. The set of horizontal angles, listed in increasing order. The first angle must be 00. The last angle determines the degree of lateral symmetry displayed by the intensity distribution. If it is 00, the distribution is axially symmetric. If it is 900, the distribution is symmetric in each quadrant. If it is 1800, the distribution is symmetric about a vertical plane. If it is greater than 1800 and less than or equal to 3600, the distribution exhibits no lateral symmetries. All other values are invalid.
  16. The set of candela values. First, all the candela values corresponding to the first horizontal angle are listed, starting with the value corresponding to the smallest vertical angle and moving up the associated vertical plane. Then, the candela values corresponding to the vertical plane through the second horizontal angle are listed, and so on until the last horizontal angle. Each vertical slice of values must start on a new line. Long lines may be broken between values as needed by following the instructions given earlier.

Example of Photometric Data File

The following is an example of a photometric data file.