What is Instat?

Possible roles for Instat

Installation instructions

Terms and conditions

Instat tutorial

What is Instat?

Instat is a general statistical package. It is simple enough to be useful in teaching statistical ideas, yet has the power to assist research in any discipline that requires the analysis of data.

Instat began life around 20 years ago on a BBC microcomputer. It was first used on a training course on 'statistics in agriculture' held in Sri Lanka during 1983. The BBC micro version was marketed commercially from mid-1985, with the DOS version for PCs becoming available in 1987. From 1994 Instat was free-of-charge. Updated DOS versions were released in 1996 and 1997.

Instat has been used widely in the UK and elsewhere by a range of companies, research institutes, schools, colleges, universities and private individuals. At The University of Reading it has been used extensively on training courses run by the SSC and the School of Applied Statistics. It has also been used in many countries on statistics courses and on courses related to health, agriculture and climatology.

'Instat+' (i.e. the Windows version of Instat) has been developed mainly because of its continued use for the analysis of climatic data. Funding from the UK Met Office for a new climatic version, supplemented by support from the SSC and the efforts of other friendly collaborators, led to the Windows version, which was first used on training courses in 1999.

Possible roles for Instat

Instat could be your first statistics package

Are you currently using a spreadsheet, such as Excel, for all your statistical work? If so, there's no need to stop using Excel, but you may wish to consider adding a statistical package to your software repertoire. You could start by using Instat for free.

Are you teaching statistics, or trying to learn statistics yourself?

Instat is designed to support the teaching of statistics. It includes features to help explain many of the key concepts, such as confidence intervals, that users often find confusing. Furthermore, our teaching menu provides a resource pack of ideas, some that use Instat, but many that can be used with any statistical software.

Instat for the analysis of climatic data

Instat includes many special facilities for the processing of climatic data, supported by a 400 page guide, included with the package as a help file. These facilities have formed the basis of numerous agroclimatology training courses, in the UK, Kenya, Niger, Algeria, Syria, the Philippines and elsewhere.

Installation instructions

To install Instat click here. Click on "Run" when asked whether to run or save.


It did not work! what do I do?

The downloadable Instat installation file has the extension ".msi". If your computer doesn't understand the file when you try to run it, the following may help...

Microsoft introduced a new feature in Win2000 called Microsoft Windows Installer (MSI). This is standard in most versions of Windows 98 (second edition), Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP, and is available as a free update for Win95/98 and WinNT4. If it's not installed, you can install it from here, or from Microsoft's download pages.

There are two versions of the MSI update file. Download and run the one that is appropriate for your system, then retry the Instat installation.

You should run the update only if your computer does not recognise file extensions of ".msi", or if the installation process tells you that a later version is needed.

For Windows 95/98/ME use InstMsiA.exe (Click on "Run" when asked)
For Windows NT4/2000 use InstMsiW.exe (Click on "Run" when asked)

The Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) may also be missing from your computer. These are needed for Instat to run correctly.

To install Release 2.5 SP2 (2.52.6019.2) click here (Click on "Run" when asked)

Later releases may be available from the Microsoft website.

Terms and conditions

Click here to read the terms and conditions for the use of Instat

Instat tutorial

When Instat is installed, the tutorial is provided automatically from the help menu. The tutorial is also provided here so it can be viewed or printed separately, without first having to install the software. The tutorial provides a gentle introduction to the software, with step -by-step instructions and figures that show the menus and the results that follow.

Click here to view the tutorial


An alternative is provided by the Instat demonstration. This simulates Instat while also explaining more about the software in a "protected" way. These two introductions are designed to complement each other:


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SSC logo EU flag SADC logo

This training pack is distributed as an Open Educational Resource.
It is offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and re-use for teaching, learning and research.
Please read the conditions that apply to the use and reproduction of this material.

Prepared by the Statistical Services Centre University of Reading, UK,
for the Southern Africa Development Community Secretariat
with support from European Union.
Reading, September 2007