Installing XCRYSDEN on UBUNTU(Linux) – Tutorial

XCrySDen is a crystalline and molecular structure visualisation program aiming at display of isosurfaces and contours, which can be superimposed on crystalline structures and interactively rotated and manipulated. It runs on GNU/Linux.
XCrySDen has been also ported to MAC OSX (requires X11) and Windows (requires CYGWIN).
The name of the program stands for Crystalline Structures and Densities and X because it runs under the X-Window environment.

In this tutorial I will show you how to run it on Linux and more specifically on UBUNTU.


Download the source file from this page:

Make sure you download the semi-shared package, as it will contain the required libraries. Also make sure you download the correct version(32 bit or 64 bit) depending on your operating system. 32 bit versions are not available for newer versions, the latest version that supports 32 bit is 1.24 I guess.

The file would probably be compressed an in the .tar.gz format.


You can extract the contents by right clicking on the file and choosing ‘Extract here’, or you can execute the following in the terminal:

tar zxvf xc-version.tar.gz

Once you have extracted the file, open your terminal, and change the directory to the XCRYSDEN directory.
In my case I exctracted the tar.gz file in the Home, so I used the command:

cd XCrysDen-1.5.24-bin-semishared

Now execute the command ./xcConfigure

and follow the on-screen instructions. (say no if it asks you if you have a crystal package)


Once the configuration is complete, you will be shown the following message on the terminal screen.

Now you can run ./xcrysden or just xcrysden in the terminal to launch xcrysden.


The most recen versions of XCRYSDEN for Linux, only support 64-bit and don’t have a xcConfigure file in the source package. To be honest I am not sure how to install such versions. The above tutorial works for 32-bit versions like 1.25,18 etc that have an xcConfigure file.
If you know how to install the newer 64 bit versions, please do let me know in the comments section below, so that the community can benefit from that information.

Another thing I noticed was, that if you had an unsuccessful or corrupt install of one of the versions of XCRYSDEN, then it could be difficult to make a newer version work.

That’s it!
Hope this post helps you!




PhD researcher at Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, Germany. I'm a physicist specializing in theoretical, computational and experimental condensed matter physics. I like to develop Physics related apps and softwares from time to time. Can code in most of the popular languages. Like to share my knowledge in Physics and applications using this Blog and a YouTube channel.
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