Installation and updates

Brainstorm is available in two distinct forms: an open-source Matlab application (Matlab license required) and a stand-alone Java executable (Matlab license not required). Both are available for download in the same package.


Brainstorm with Matlab

Brainstorm stand-alone

Matlab Compiler Runtime


Working with MEG/EEG recordings involves a lot of computational resources and large display windows. Therefore we recommand that you use a computer with a decent processing capacity and a screen larger than 13".

You would also add to your comfort by using an external mouse instead of your laptop pad. Most of the manipulations are done with the mouse, and some involve an intensive use of the scrolling operation. A mouse wheel or the "two-finger move" on MacBooks are perfect for this, but this operation is not always easy to perform on some laptops.


  1. Go to the Download page, complete the quick and free registration process
    (it helps us keep track of our users' demographics)

  2. Download the latest archive
  3. Unzip it somewhere on your computer, for example:

    • Windows: Program Files\brainstorm3

    • Linux: /usr/local/brainstorm3 (or ~/brainstorm3 if you are not admin)

    • MacOS: Applications/brainstorm3

  4. Create a new folder "brainstorm_db" for the Brainstorm database, for example:

    • Windows: My documents\brainstorm_db

    • Linux: /home/username/brainstorm_db

    • MacOS: Documents/brainstorm_db

Start Brainstorm

With Matlab

  1. Start Matlab
  2. Do NOT add brainstorm3 folder to your path: this will be done automatically

  3. Go to the brainstorm3 folder
  4. Type "brainstorm" in the command window
  5. When asked for the location of the Brainstorm database folder, pick the folder "brainstorm_db" you have just created
  6. We recommend you visit the Tutorials pages to learn how to use most features of the software.

Without Matlab

  1. Download the MCR R2012b (8.0) for your operating system: Mathworks website

  2. Install the MCR:
    • Windows: Double-click on the .exe and follow the instructions

    • Linux: From a terminal, unzip .zip, then run ./install

    • MacOS: Click on the zip file to unzip it, then click on "InstallForMacOSX".
      It is not clear on the Mathworks website, but the current MCR requires a version of
      MacOSX >= 10.6.4 (Snow Leopard), with Apple Java installed (see link).
      If you can't install the MCR on your Mac, you can chose between: updating MacOSX or installing a full copy of the Matlab environment.

  3. Run the program in brainstorm3/bin/R2012b/
    • Windows: Double-click on brainstorm3.bat

    • MacOS: Double-click on brainstorm3.command and wait for instructions

      • If nothing happens, open a terminal and follow the Linux instructions.
    • Linux: From a terminal, cd brainstorm3/bin/R2012b/

      • Make sure that the file "brainstorm3.command" is executable:
        => chmod a+x brainstorm3.command

      • Run: ./brainstorm3.command

      • If nothing happens, run: ./brainstorm3.command MCR_DIR
        MCR_DIR is where the MCR 8.0 is installed (ex: /Applications/MATLAB/MCR/v80)

  4. If you can't get to run properly the compiled version, you can try with the MCR 2013b version.

  5. When you start Brainstorm for the first time on Linux or MacOS, you will be prompted to select the folder where you installed the MCR
  6. When asked for the location of the Brainstorm database folder, pick the folder "brainstorm_db" you have just created
  7. Visit the Tutorials section to learn how to use most features of the software.


Brainstorm is quickly improving and evolving. We have chosen not to go through a stable-release policy but rather, we established a quick and easy way to update the software seamlessly for you. Although this approach has its shares of risks of possibly seeing new bugs emerging from the most recent update, it has the great advantage of being dynamic and of rapidly disseminating new, important features. We encourage our users to report bugs through our forum, and our experience shows fixes are completed quickly enough to avoid disruptive downtime to our users.

For these reasons, we recommend that you update Brainstorm regularly using the following options:

Installation (last edited 2014-05-06 21:36:54 by agrippa)