Getting Started

Running the Program

Like all windows programs, OxCal can be started by double clicking on the program icon from Windows Explorer. More conveniently you can create a shortcut and put it on your desktop or start menu.

One the program has been run once you can also start it by double clicking on any input file (with a .14i extension).


The program has input and output wizards to help with the most often used functions of the progam. These should be fairly self explanitory. Everything that can be performed with the Wizards can also be performed using the toolbar and menus.

Calibrating a Single Date

To calibrate a single date simply press the button and then fill in the dialogue box:

with the name of the sample (optional), a radiocarbon date and error term.

A probability distribution will be displayed along with the ranges. If you wish to incorporate a plot into a work processor file it can be copied and pasted as with any other editor.

The display can be printed in the normal way assuming you have a printer capable of producing graphical output from windows by pressing the button.

Producing a Multiple Plot

To produce a series of plots is almost as simple. First press the button to get a new plot input window. You will see that this window has two visible panes. Drag the (radiocarbon date) icon from the right hand pane onto the (plot) icon in the left hand pane. Fill in the details of the radiocarbon date in the dialogue box. Repeat this operation as many times as you wish to build up the plot. The order can be changed, if you wish, by dragging the icons around.

Once you have specified the plot press the button to perform the calculations. You will then be presented with a results window allowing you to select how you would like the results to be presented. Try double clicking on the three icons:

Alternatively, the two log files can also be opened by pressing the button on the toolbar and the plot by pressing the button.

The results in any of these output windows can be saved to a filename of your chose or copied into another program. Close the windows when you have finished with them. When you close the input window you will be asked if you wish to save the entries you have made.

The Output Wizard helps you through these operations.