Frequently asked questions about PAST


Where is the manual?


Image may contain: Text, Line, Font, Number, Screenshot.How do I export graphics?

For publication quality figures, I suggest saving the graphic in the SVG vector format. Click the "Graph settings" button next to the graphic. In the graph preferences window, click the "Export picture" button (see arrow on the right). You can open the SVG file in Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw or the free program Inkscape. There you can edit the graphic and save in e.g. PDF format. SVG files are also supported by most web browsers, and can be placed directly on a web page.
From Past version 3.13, you can also save in the PDF vector format.

You can also export the picture in a number of bitmap formats (JPG, TIF etc.), but the quality is not so good and you can not easily edit the graphic. You can also copy-paste the image as a bitmap by clicking the "Copy" button under the graphic (from Past version 3.09 onwards).

How do I organize data into groups?

Many analyses require that you specify groups. This requires a separate group column, containing a group identifier for each row. In the example below (1), there is a group column called "Lithology", with two groups LS (limestone) and MS (marlstone). To tell the program that "Lithology" is a group column, first select the "Column attributes" box above the spreadsheet. This will bring up two extra rows at the top of the spreadsheet (2). Then click a few times on the "Type" cell of the group column, to bring up a small menu where you can select "Group" (3). Then click somewhere else on the spreadsheet to update, and you can deselect "Column attributes" if you wish. The group column should now be marked with a G (4).



Image may contain: Text, Font, Line, Number, Screenshot.

How do I reference Past?

Hammer, Ø., Harper, D.A.T., Ryan, P.D. 2001. PAST: Paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis. Palaeontologia Electronica 4(1): 9pp.

I can't install Past on a Mac

You must allow the system to install apps other than from AppStore or Identified developers.

  • Go to System Preferences
  • Choose Security and Privacy
  • Click the little padlock (lower left) and type your password
  • Select Anywhere in the "Allow apps downloaded from" option
  • Execute the Past.dmg

Then, restore the security options to Mac App Store or Mac App or Identified developers


Published Aug. 24, 2020 1:41 PM - Last modified Aug. 24, 2020 1:41 PM