Download and Installation

The Engineering Vibration Toolbox for Python

Installing the Engineering Vibration Toolbox on Python is as easy as using the Pip Installs Packages. While you can read the references there the easy way to install is to simply type

pip install --user vibration_toolbox

Usage is very different from the Matlab/Octave versions and has advanced capabilities not found in the other versions.

The Engineering Vibration Toolbox for Matlab

The Engineering Vibration Toolbox can be installed by downloading vtbud.m and executing it from within Matlab. Executing it after installation later updates or removes the toolbox per user selection.


You will get an error if vtbud.m is not in your path. Installation of the Vibration Toolbox via the easy method may be broken if you have multiple instances of vtoolbox files installed. If you duplicate or otherwise modify the files, please rename them and move them outside the toolbox folder. If that happens, open vtbud.m in the Matlab editor and press the F5 key.

This will download, expand it in the desired location, and add the path to it to your default Matlab path.


After installation has completed you must delete the vtbud.m file that you saved. The location is listed in your Matlab console.

Alternatively, copy and paste this into your Matlab command console:

»  urlwrite('','vtbud.m');vtbud;delete vtbud.m;

and press RETURN.


If your current working directory is not writable (you don’t own it in the sense of computer security), this line will fail. In that case you need to use the Matlab cd command to change to a different directory or manually download vtbud.m before you run this line.


Do not store any data or personal files inside the vtoolbox directory. They may be deleted or overwritten.

The current revision status of the Engineering Vibration Toolbox for Matlab can be viewed in the github repository or more easily in the vtbud.txt file on this website.


A list of updates since 1/1/98 can be obtained for your current version by typing help vtbud in Matlab. That can be compared to the most up-to-date release.

They will load/run on all platforms supported by Matlab. The binary files are all .mat files, and the different extensions represent different parts of a project group. To load them type:

» load filename -mat

where » is the Matlab prompt. [1] The filename must include the extension unless it is .mat.

If you can’t execute any of the .m files (try for example typing vtbud from the Matlab prompt), they are either not in the Matlab path, or did not get transferred in the correct format (unlikely these days). Use the cd command (like DOS) from within Matlab to move to the vtoolbox directory. If you can see the files using dir, and still cannot execute them, then try transferring the text files again, being sure that they are transferred in ASCII (text) format.

Removing the Engineering Vibration Toolbox:

Type vtbud from the Matlab prompt.

The Engineering Vibration Toolbox for Octave

Please read the Readme.rst file for information not covered elsewhere.

Installing, Updating, and Removing The Toolbox

Windows Installation

The availability of a simple Octave installer for Windows has been sporadic. At the moment (30-March-2016) there is one available. I do recommend that path when available, but when it’s not, Cygwin is a reliable alternative.

In order to install Octave via Cygwin:

  1. Download and install Cygwin.
  2. You may have to run setup multiple times to install the parts you need. Install, at minimum:
    1. Octave (Math section- octave: GNU Octave language…)
    2. xinit (X11 section)
    3. unzip
  3. Go to the Windows Menu. In Cygwin-X run XWin Server
  4. A green X should appear on the dock. You should be able to bring up a menu to launch Octave
  5. Click on this to download the vibration toolbox to your Downloads folder.

Copy and paste this into your Octave window

system('curl -4 -L>vtbud.m')

Linux and Mac Installation

  1. Run Octave.
  2. Copy and paste this into Octave.
[s, success, message]=urlwrite('','')
pkg install

Alternatively, you can also download vtbud.m and run it to perform the install for you (copy and paste this at the Octave prompt)

system('curl -4 -L>vtbud.m')

Note: If you use the Download button on github, you must rename the downloaded file to and manually use pkg install after renaming the downloaded zip file to

To update:

To update, run vtbud in Octave if you have updated since Feb 23, 2016.

Otherwise, run Octave and paste the following to the prompt:

pkg uninstall vtoolbox
[s, success, message]=urlwrite('','')
pkg install

To remove:

Because it takes so little space (trivial compared to a small Word document), I would suggest simply deactivating it

In Octave

pkg unload vtoolbox

To remove it completely, in Octave

pkg uninstall vtoolbox
[s, success, message]=urlwrite('','')
pkg install

You may have to look around and make sure no files,, or similar exist.

Why the semi-colons? It’s my way of making sure you don’t leave the last command unexecuted.

Troubleshooting installation:

vtbud was initially buggy and is still quite new. If vtbud isn’t working, please perform a clean install with the following

The first delete is to make sure you aren’t able to run an old version of vtbud.m. The second is to make sure it is updated in the future.

Printing plots

The print command can be used to generate graphics files for embedding into your favorite word processing program. Type help print for details. By default the file used end up in the current directory which is likely your home directory. The command pwd can be used to determine your current directory. On Windows using Cygwin, this might be a bit complex. The file is likely located in C:\cygwin64\home\ username where username is your account name. Alternatively, cygwin64 may be something else similar. I suggest finding this directory with the Windows File Browser and pinning it to the Quick Access area (Windows 10) by dragging it there.


Support for the Engineering Vibration Toolbox for Octave has come from a number of sources. First and foremost, Daniel J. Inman, who initially tasked me and Donald J. Leo to write version 3.0 of the software for his text Engineering Vibration by Dr. Daniel J. Inman (Prentice Hall, 1994). I also thank the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Wright State University for providing the computer resources for developing the Matlab 4 version of the software. Perhaps the people who have given the most are my students who painfully experienced every piece of beta code, often at the least opportune times. Thanks is also given to Dr. Maurice Petyt and Robert C. Chiroux For their patience in testing numerous 4.0 beta versions of this software. Finally, John W. Eaton and others for writing/coordinating/developing/supporting Octave. Please see the Octave website for more information on Octave and how you can support its development.


The Engineering Vibration Toolbox for Octave is licensed under GPLv3. For professional use with Matlab, users should contact the Engineering Vibration Toolbox author directly for licensing.

Using the Engineering Vibration Toolbox

Typing help vtb#, where # is a number, will provide a table of contents for the files related to chapter ‘?’. Typing help codename will provide help on the particular code. Note that the filename is codename.m.

Engineering Vibration Toolbox commands can be run by typing them with the necessary arguments just as any other Octave/Matlab commands/functions. For instance, vtb1_1 can be run by typing vtb1_1(1,.1,1,1,0,10). Many functions have multiple forms of input. The help for each function shows this flexibility.


Please send comments and questions regarding the Engineering Vibration Toolbox by email to Joseph C. Slater. Please use the vtbud.m function to check for updates (Type vtbud at the Matlab prompt).

Disclaimer and Other Stuff

This site is provided to distribute updates to the Engineering Vibration Toolbox. Joseph C. Slater is the copyright holder of the Engineering Vibration Toolbox. Neither the author, Prentice Hall, nor Wright State University make any warranty with regard to merchantability or fitness for any given purpose with regard to the software. All rights are retained. No permission is given to anyone other than myself, the MathWorks and Prentice Hall to distribute this software in any manner whatsoever. Instructors may distribute this software to students registered for a course using the text Engineering Vibration, and/or alternatively may install the software on networked computers. The only thing I ask is that Engineering Vibration be the adopted textbook for use where the software is installed.

Please send questions or comments about this page to Joseph C. Slater.

Matlab is a registered trademark of the MathWorks, Inc. Mac(intosh) is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. PostScript is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems, Inc. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. Unix is a registered trademark of AT&T.

[1]If the prompt looks funny on this web page, set the Character Encoding (Firefox), Font Encoding (Safari), or Encoding to Unicode: UTF-8.
[2]This may not be necessary as compatibility with Matlab has been improving over the years.