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SOFT Instrument Link is a secure mechanism to integrate analytical instruments with LIMS and ELN software. SOFT stands for Secure Open-standard File Transfer.

It specifies a secure XML-based format for data exchange between LIMS/ELN software and LC-MS instruments, built on the AnIML format. The project originates in regulated bioanalysis, but is open to other areas as well. Learn more about the history.

SOFT offers a secure exchange mechanism for two main interactions:

The exchange is secured through digital signatures.


Check out the publications made by our contributors.

Documentation and examples

See the Github repository for documentation and example files.

Future improvements

The project team sees the following opportunities for future expansion of this format:

Plate reader and ligand binding assay support

Currently, SOFT supports LC-MS instruments. Support for microplate readers and ligand binding assays is under consideration, since they play a significant role in the bioanalysis domain.

File-less exchange

Today, this format is file-based. In the future, a file-less mechanism (such as SiLA or web services) could be added.