Downloading and installing

PCT is currently available for Mac, PC, and Linux machines. It can be downloaded from PCT releases page using the following steps. Note that there are several dependencies that are pre-requisites before PCT can function properly. For Mac and Windows machines, we have created executable files that bundle most of the dependencies and the PCT software itself into a single package. Using these is the easiest / fastest way to get PCT up and running on your machine. Note: PCT v 1.4.1 is confirmed to work on Mac OS 10.13 and higher, but may have issues on earlier OS platforms.


  1. Go to the PCT releases page.

  2. Click on the link for your operating system with the highest number (= most recent version).

Windows Executable

# NOTE 1: This method requires that you are running a 64-bit version of windows. You can check this by in Control Panel -> System and Security -> System.

# NOTE 2: When the software is downloaded, you may get a security warning indicating that you have tried to launch an unrecognized app. Selecting “Run anyway” should allow PCT to work as expected.

# Download the latest version’s executable (should be a file ending in .exe) from the Phonological CorpusTools page on GitHub ( Double-click this file to run PCT to your computer. It can then be run the same as any other program.

Mac Executable – PCT v 1.4.1 is confirmed to work on 10.13 and higher, but may have issues on earlier OS platforms

# NOTE 1: When the software is downloaded, you may get a security warning indicating that you have tried to launch an unrecognized app. If you Ctrl-click on the application and select “Open,” you should be able to override the security warning and use PCT normally.

# NOTE 2: Similarly, you may get a warning asking whether you want to give PCT access to your Documents folder. In order for PCT to function properly, you should grant this permission. See details in Local storage. If you do not give permission when first downloading PCT, the software will still download and create sub-folders in your Documents folder, but the program itself will not launch. To change your permissions at any point, you can go to System Preferences / Security and Privacy / Privacy / Files and Folders, and then specify that Phonological CorpusTools can have access to the Documents folder.

# Download the latest version’s installer (should be a file ending in .dmg) from the Phonological CorpusTools page on GitHub ( You can then double-click this file to run Phonological CorpusTools. You can move the icon to your toolbar like any other application.

Linux / Fallback instructions

  1. Dependencies: You’ll first need to make sure all of the following are installed. The third and fourth ones (NumPy and SciPy) are needed only for the Acoustic Similarity functionality to work.

  1. Python 3.3 or higher

  2. Regex

  3. NumPy

  4. SciPy

  5. Scikit-learn

  6. (NB: If you are on Windows and can’t successfully use the acoustic similarity module after installing NumPy and SciPy from the above sources, you may want to try installing them from precompiled binaries.)

  1. Get the source code for PCT. Click on either the .zip or the .gz file on the PCT releases page or the GitHub repository, to download the zipped or tarball version of the code, depending on your preference.

  2. After expanding the file, you will find a file called in the top level directory. Run it in one of the following ways:

  1. Double-click it. If this doesn’t work, access the file properties and ensure that you have permission to run the file; if not, give them to yourself. In Windows, this may require that you open the file in Administrator mode (also accessible through file properties). If your computer opens the .py file in a text editor rather than running it, you can access the file properties to set Python 3.x as the default program to use with run .py files. If the file is opened in IDLE (a Python editor), you can use the “Run” button in the IDLE interface to run the script instead.

  2. Open a terminal window and run the file. In Linux or Mac OS X, there should be a Terminal application pre-installed. In Windows, you may need to install Cygwin. Once the terminal window is open, nagivate to the top level CorpusTools folder—the one that has in it. (Use the command ‘cd’ to navigate your filesystem; Google “terminal change directory” for further instructions.) Once in the correct directory, run this command: python3 install. You may lack proper permissions to run this file, in which case on Linux or Mac OS X you can instead run sudo python3 install. If Python 3.x is the only version of Python on your system, it may be possible or necessary to use the command python rather than python3.

  1. Phonological CorpusTools should now be installed! Run it from a terminal window using the command pct. You can also open a “Run” dialogue and use the command pct there. In Windows, the Run tool is usually found in All Programs -> Accessories.

Local storage

When using PCT, certain special (PCT-specific) files are created. These include .corpus files (for PCT’s storage of your corpora), .feature files (for storage of your transcription-to-feature files), .searches files (for storing saved search paramaters), and various .txt files (usually for listing specific results or errors that PCT encounters).

Once PCT creates or downloads these files, they are saved in your local hard drive for later use. Be default, your PCT working directory is either “C:\Users\[USER NAME]\Documents\PCT\CorpusTools\” (for Windows machines), or “~/Documents/PCT/CorpusTools/” (for macOS or Linux machines). You will find several directories in this directory:

Occasionally, it is useful to access these folders directly. For example, if you want to give your corpus or feature files to another user, or access them on a different maching, you can copy the files to the relevant path in the new machine. Similarly, if you have received a file that runs with PCT (e.g. a corpus file from the developers), you will need to save it in the correct directory for PCT to recognize it. You can also directly download the built-in .corpus and .feature files from Please note that the working directory will not exist if you have never run PCT.

See Preferences for information on how to change the working directory.