This version (18 Oct 2023 12:01) was approved by Cristina Suteu.The Previously approved version (04 Sep 2023 18:13) is available.Diff

IIO Oscilloscope


The ADI IIO Oscilloscope is a cross platform GUI application, which demonstrates how to interface different evaluation boards from within a Linux system. The application supports plotting of the captured data in four different modes (time domain, frequency domain, constellation and cross-correlation). The application also allows to view and modify several settings of the evaluation board's devices.



Download IIO-Oscilloscope

Latest releases (goto this page to download the file):

18 Mar 2016 15:24 · Lucian Sin


To build on an embedded target (e.g. aarch64), we recommend using the Kuiper Linux update scripts. This is a tried/proven method that does everything in a quick script.

To build on a development host (e.g. x86 laptop or desktop) do the following:

  1. On Ubuntu or Debian install the following dependencies (see for a maintained list):
    $ apt-get -y install libglib2.0-dev libgtk-3-dev libgtkdatabox-dev libmatio-dev libfftw3-dev libxml2 libxml2-dev bison flex libavahi-common-dev libavahi-client-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libjansson-dev cmake libaio-dev libserialport-dev
  2. Install the libiio-dev package in Debian or Ubuntu or build and install the libiio library from source, by following these instructions. Make sure you do the final make install.
Users building libiio from source, please use the following branch : libiio/tree/libiio-v0
  1. Optionally build and install the libad9166-iio and libad9361-iio libraries, by following these instructions.
  2. Download the source using git:
    $ git clone
    $ cd iio-oscilloscope
    $ git checkout origin/master
  3. Or, download a zip, and uncompress it:
    $ wget
    $ unzip
    $ cd iio-oscilloscope
  4. Build and install:
    $ mkdir build && cd build
    $ cmake ../ && make -j $(nproc)
    $ sudo make install
    1. If you did not do a make install of the libiio, the libiio install location needs to be set in your path (i.e. PATH=/usr/lib:$PATH“ or else an error “Package libiio not found..” will occur.
    2. If you don't want to do a make install, you will need to make sure that the most recently built shared libraries can be found, by setting the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environmental variable. export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=./ otherwise you may get an error like:
      $ ./osc
      ./osc: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: 
      No such file or directory

      Or, worst case, when you are debugging things, you will see your modified source code, but it will be running/executing the older shared shared object which was loaded (since it didn't find things in the library path).

Ubuntu 20 and Older

While compiling the IIO Scope for Ubuntu 20 and other older Linux distributions, you can face issues with the library gtkdatabox. To overcome this problem DON'T install the library using apt install/ other package managers. Instead download the sources from file gtkdatabox-1.0.0.tar.gz and compile and install it using commands below. This will ensure that gtkdatabox is compatible with GTK3

make install

Please not that in case some other gtkdatabox version is present in the system remove it using sudo apt remove. This action can solve error message GTK+ 2.x symbols detected. Using GTK+ 2.x and GTK+ 3 in the same process is not supported Trace/breakpoint trap (core dumped)

GTK2 Based IIO-Oscilloscope

If you'd like to build the previous version of IIO-Oscilloscope, which is based on GTK2 you will need to install the following packages:

> apt-get -y install libglib2.0-dev libgtk2.0-dev libgtkdatabox-dev libmatio-dev libfftw3-dev libxml2 libxml2-dev bison flex libavahi-common-dev libavahi-client-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libjansson-dev cmake libaio-dev libserialport-dev
Make sure that you have libgtkdatabox v0.9 installed, which was compiled with GTK2. In addition, you will need to clone a specific branch of the IIO-Oscilloscope repository, which still uses GTK2 widgets:

git clone --branch 2021_R2 

The other prerequisites and build steps are identical.


The recommended method is to use brew with tfcollin's tap:

git clone -b fix-gtk-upgrade
cd homebrew-formulae
brew install --build-from-source ./gtkdatabox-prev1.rb
# if necessary: brew link --overwrite gtkdatabox-prev1
brew install --build-from-source ./iio-oscilloscope.rb

User guide

Launching the application

Running Local

The application can run locally which means it runs on the same platform where your device is connected.

To start the IIO Oscilloscope open up the start menu of your system and search for “IIO Oscilloscope”. E.g. if you are using a Ubuntu Linux system move your mouse cursor to the left side of your screen and “Dash home” button and type “IIO Oscilloscope” into the search box.

Select the IIO Oscilloscope from the launch menu

Running Remote

The application can be used to connect to another platform that has a connected device in order to configure the device and read data from it. You can connect in 3 different ways:

  1. Manually:

    This specifies any shell prompt running on the host or target - Run IIO Oscilloscope in remote mode

    > export OSC_REMOTE=IP address of the remote platform (old)
    > export IIOD_REMOTE=IP address of the remote platform (new)
    > osc

  2. Settings → Connect and enter the IP address in the popup window, and click “OK” or “Refresh”.
  3. Settings → Connect and click “Refresh” with a blank IP number. If your network supports zeroconf1), you will be connected to the device on the network.

The application can be used to connect to another platform that runs no-OS software:

Using the application

Main Window

IIO Oscilloscope disconnect plugins Each plugin (or tab) can be detached from the main window simply by clicking on the button placed on the right side of the name of the plugin. Close the detached window to attach the plugin back to the main window.

The Main Window is designed to display a configuration panel (plugin) for each device recognized by the system. Additional plugins will be loaded for device debugging and monitoring purposes such as:

DMM Tab/Plugin

IIO Oscilloscope DMM plugin

The DMM Plugin: The Digital Multimeter continuously displays device specific data once the start button is activated.

  • Device tab: Displays the list of all available devices.
  • Active channels tab:Displays the list of channels that belong to the enabled devices. All channels can be enabled simultaneously by using the All Channels button.
  • Right side tab: Displays data readings of the enabled channels in Active channels tab.

Debug Tab/Plugin

IIO Oscilloscope Debug plugin

Debug Plugin: Is a tool for device debugging. Since “normal” users should not be doing this, features on this tab may not work unless you have started the osc application as root (try sudo osc in a terminal).

  • Device Selection: Sets the active device. Once a device is selected any other information displayed in the plugin is related to this particular device.
  • IIO Device Attributes: Allows Read/Write operation for the attributes of a device.
  • Register: Provides low level access to the registers of the device.
    • Detailed Register Map: When enabled it displays a graphical representation of a register and groups the bits by their functionality. When disabled the newly displayed option (Register Map Type) allows the selection of the register map to be used. SPI registers refer to the internal registers of the device while the AXI Core registers belong to the HDL core associated with the device.
    • Enable AutoRead: When enabled it allows the register to be read automatically as the register address changes.
    • Address: The address of the register.
    • Value: The value of the register at the given address.

Hardware Specific Tab/Plugins

There may be hardware specific plugins/tabs, specific to the platform you are running on. Here are a few:

Capture Window

IIO Oscilloscope plot window The Capture Window is where device data is displayed.

  • Capture Window Settings
    • Plot Title: Click Edit→Plot Title to
    • Show Settings: Click View→Show Settings to
  • Menu (Along top of the capture/plot window).
    • File
      • Save As : Saves data to file.
      • Quit : Close the capture/plot window
    • Edit
      • Plot Title : Change the name of the window.
    • View
      • Show Settings : show/hide all settings in the left panel and allow the plot to fill the entire window.
      • Full Screen : Will make the window full screen.
  • Settings
    • Device list: Lists all available ADCs and the corresponding channels. It allows selecting the channels to be displayed.
    • Plot type
      • Time domain: Plots the signal in the time domain. Displays the raw samples.
        • Sample count: Selects the number of samples for time domain, constellation and cross-correlation plotting
        • Graph Type: Selects the type of all graphs: lines or dots.
      • Frequency domain: Plots the signal in the frequency domain. Performs a FFT on the signal and displays it.
        • FFT size: Selects the size of the FFT for frequency domain plotting
        • Window: Selects the FFT Window. Selecting a window function is not a simple task. Each window function has its own characteristics and suitability for different applications (some are more frequency accurate, others are more amplitude accurate). To choose a window function, you (the user) must select the most appropriate one. Check the details.
        • FFT Average: Selects the average weight to be applied to the FFT samples.
        • PWR Offset: Selects the offset of the FFT graph.
      • Constellation: Plots the signal as a constellation plot. The I-channel will be plotted on the X-axis and the Q-channel on the Y-axis.
        • Sample count: Selects the number of samples for time domain, constellation and cross-correlation plotting
        • Graph Type: Selects the type of all graphs: lines or dots.
      • Cross Correlation: Plots the signal as a cross-correlation plot.
        • Sample count: Selects the number of samples for time domain, constellation and cross-correlation plotting
        • Graph Type: Selects the type of all graphs: lines or dots.
    • Info
      • Markers : Displays marker measurements.
      • Devices : Displays Device info (sample rate)
  • Plot Options/Icons (along top of window)
    • Capture/stop : Starts or stops the data capture.
    • Zoom In : Zooms in on a region of the plot.
    • Zoom Out : Zooms out from a region of the plot.
    • AutoZoom : Zooms automatically for the signal to fit the screen.
    • Save As : Saves data to file.
    • FullScreen : Enters/leaves fullscreen.
    • Auto scale : When enabled the visible area will automatically be re-scaled to fit the entire plot.
    • Show grid : Shows or hides the grid in the plot window.
    • Y Max : Adjusts the upper limit of the vertical axis when Auto scale is disabled.
    • Y Min : Adjusts the lower limit of the vertical axis when Auto scale is disabled.
    • New Plot : Creates a new plot of the same type.

Activating Markers

IIO Oscilloscope markers menu

Markers are used for plot data measurement in when looking in the frequency domain or cross correlations. To activate the markers right click on the plot and select from the marker menu the type of marker you want to enable. Make sure the capture process is running and the appropriate domain is selected in order to enable the markers properly. The following types of markers are available:

  • FFT domain (1 channel enabled): Peak, Fixed and Single Tone markers.
  • FFT domain (2 channels enabled): Peak, Fixed, Single Tone and Image markers.
  • Constellation: Peak marker.

The enabling of a marker will display a set of 5 markers by default. You can add more markers by selecting Add Marker from the marker menu and remove some by selection Remove Maker.

Fixed markers are designed to have their position moved by the user. Once the fixed markers are visible on the plot right click on the marker symbol and while holding the right button pressed move the mouse to the desired location on the plot and release the right button.

To disable the markers select Markers Off from the marker menu.

Saving Captured Data

IIO Oscilloscope saveas window

Once the data is captured, it can be saved using one of the following formats:

  • Agilent VSA
  • .csv
  • .mat
  • .png

Click on File→Save As to open the dialog needed to save the data.

Channel Settings

IIO Oscilloscope channel settings

  1. Simple math operation can be applied to the channel data. Right click on the name of a channel listed in the Device list and select Math Settings to open the menu with the math operations.
  2. The graph color associated with the channel can be modified. Right click on the name of the channel and select Color Settings to open a color selection panel that will allow you to pick the desired color.

The settings can be applied only in Time domain.

Trigger settings

In time domain, it is possible to select a capture channel as the trigger source of the oscilloscope. To do so, right-click on the name of the device used for capture, and select Trigger settings. The pop-up window that will open will allow you to configure the channel used for the trigger, as well as the trigger level and edge.

Provided Waveforms

Several waveforms are provided with the application for demonstration purposes, which can be loaded into different devices. However, these are generally not meant for transceiver characterization or demodulation. If you want to do such tasks, we would recommend creation of your own waveforms from tools such as MATLAB.

Source code


The source code for the entire application is at github. You can ask questions about it on the EngineerZone.


If you want to make your own plugin, please refer to the Internals page.

More information

also referred to as multicast DNS/DNS-SD service discovery
resources/tools-software/linux-software/iio_oscilloscope.txt · Last modified: 18 Oct 2023 12:01 by Cristina Suteu