NI-VISA 21.0 for macOS Readme

June 2021

This file contains installation instructions and compatibility information for NI-VISA 21.0.

You can find more release information on

  • NI-VISA Release Notes: Known issues, bugs fixed since the last release, and other notes about this release
  • NI-VISA Manuals: New features, behavior changes, and other documentation



System Requirements

NI Application Software Support

Installation Instructions

Product Security and Critical Updates

New Features

Legal Information


NI-VISA is the NI implementation of the Virtual Instrument Software Architecture (VISA), a standard for configuring, programming, and troubleshooting instrumentation systems comprising GPIB, VXI, PXI, Serial, Ethernet, and/or USB interfaces.

System Requirements

NI-VISA 21.0 for macOS supports the following platforms:

  • macOS 11.x
  • macOS 10.15.x

Note  The online version of this readme supersedes the readme provided with the installation media to contain an updated list of supported macOS platforms.

NI-VISA for macOS currently supports the following resource types and utilities:

  • GPIB
  • Serial
  • Remote Client
  • Remote Server
  • ENET Serial
  • USB
  • VISA Interactive Control
  • NI I/O Trace

Note  NI-VISA for macOS supports only 64-bit applications.

NI Application Software Support

The following table lists the NI application software versions supported by NI-VISA:

NI Application SoftwareVersions Supported by NI-VISA
NI LabVIEW 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

Installation Instructions

LabVIEW Installation

You can install all of your LabVIEW products—including NI-VISA—using the LabVIEW 2021 Platform media. Refer to the LabVIEW Installation Guide on the LabVIEW Platform media for installation instructions and system requirements.

To request additional LabVIEW Platform media, visit

Note  If you purchased this product with an NI Software Suite or NI Product Bundle, use the installation media that shipped with your purchase to install this product.

Installed Files and Paths

There are three main locations where NI-VISA installs files.

  • The local /Library/Frameworks folder contains the VISA.framework folder. This folder contains all needed headers and supporting Passport libraries that NI-VISA uses.
  • In the local /Applications/National Instruments folder, there is an NI-VISA folder. This folder includes the NI-VISA Help, as well as several groups of C examples using NI-VISA. This NI-VISA folder also includes a graphical utility called NI-VISA Configuration to configure VISA options and the VISA Interactive Control (VISAIC).
  • Finally, the /Library/Preferences folder contains an NIvisa folder with .ini files. These files are used for NI-VISA settings and status codes.

Product Security and Critical Updates

Visit to view and subscribe to receive security notifications about NI products. For information about critical updates from NI, refer to Available Critical and Security Updates for NI Software.

New Features

NI-VISA 15.0

Added support for NI MAX.

NI-VISA 14.0

Added support for 64-bit versions of LabVIEW.

Added support for the System Configuration API.

Added support for viGpibControlREN on TCPIP resources that use the VXI-11 protocol.


Improved performance of viRead for a HiSLIP resource.


Improved performance of viWrite for a HiSLIP resource.

NI-VISA 5.1.2

Added support for 64-bit kernel for OS X.

Added OS X 10.7 support.


Added support for HiSLIP.

Added the VISA Interactive Control (VISAIC) stand-alone application. Refer to the NI-VISA Help for more information on the updates to VISAIC.


Added OS X 10.6 support.

Added support for 64-bit formatted I/O.

Dropped GPIB-VXI support.


Added automatic detection of LXI (TCP/IP) devices that support the mDNS and DNS-SD technologies.

NI-VISA 4.0.1

Added support for the PXI/PCI Passport on the x86 architecture.

Added native support for the NI-VISA Configuration Utility on the x86 architecture.


Added support for OS X on the x86 architecture, aka Mactel.

Added support for 64-bit data transfers in register-based operations, to support the VISA 4.0 specification.

Added support for DTR/DSR flow control. The Agilent 34401A requires DTR/DSR flow control when used via Serial. Note that not all Serial port drivers on OS X support DTR/DSR. We have tested the Agilent 34401A with NI-VISA 4.0 using the Keyspan USA-19HS and verified that it works properly.

Legal Information


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Third-Party Legal Notices

You can find third-party legal notices in the /Library/Application Support/National Instruments/Legal Information directory.

U.S. Government Restricted Rights

If you are an agency, department, or other entity of the United States Government ("Government"), the use, duplication, reproduction, release, modification, disclosure or transfer of the technical data included in this manual is governed by the Restricted Rights provisions under Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.227-14 for civilian agencies and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement Section 252.227-7014 and 252.227-7015 for military agencies.

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