Get Started with VISA
What Is VISA?
Virtual Instrument Standard Architecture (VISA) is a standard defined by Keysight® (formerly Agilent Technologies®) and National Instruments™ for communicating with instruments regardless of the interface. The VISA standard was formerly maintained by the VXIplug&play Systems Alliance and is now maintained by the IVI Foundation.
Instrument Control Toolbox™ supports the TCP/IP (using VXI11 and HiSLIP), TCP/IP Socket, USB, GPIB, Serial, VXI, and PXI interfaces using the VISA standard. Communication is established through a VISA instrument object, which you create in the MATLAB® workspace. For example, a VISA-GPIB object allows you to use the VISA standard to communicate with an instrument that possesses a GPIB interface.
For the full VISA specifications maintained by the IVI Foundation, see IVI Specifications.
Supported Platforms and Minimum Driver Requirements
VISA is supported on these platforms:
macOS (NI-VISA and R&S VISA only)
These are the minimum VISA driver versions you must have:
Keysight IO Libraries version 18.1.24715.0 (Keysight Connection Expert 2019)
National Instruments NI-VISA version 19.5
Rohde & Schwarz R&S VISA version 5.12
Tektronix® TekVISA is not supported for the
VISA is not supported on Mac computers with Apple silicon.
Interfaces Used with VISA
For many VISA applications, you can communicate with your instrument without detailed knowledge of how the interface works.
Connect to and Configure VISA Resource
See a list of VISA resources available to connect to using
visadevlist. This function provides a list of resource names and
aliases. You can also find a device's resource name or alias from your VISA vendor's
control software. For more information about the VISA resource name, see ResourceName.
To connect to a VISA resource, specify its resource name or alias using
After you connect to your instrument or device, you can configure its properties.
For a full list of
visadev properties and information about how
to configure them, see visadev Properties.
Use the following functions to communicate with the
|Read data from VISA resource
|Read line of ASCII string data from VISA resource
|Read one binblock of data from VISA resource
|Write data to VISA resource
|Write line of ASCII data to VISA resource
|Write one binblock of data to VISA resource
|Write command to VISA resource and read response
|Set terminator for ASCII string communication with VISA resource
|Clear buffers for communication with VISA resource
|Check status of VISA resource
|Send trigger to GPIB or VXI instruments
|Set serial DTR pin
|Set serial RTS pin
|Get serial pin status
- Get Started with TCP/IP Interface for VXI-11 and HiSLIP
- Get Started with TCP/IP Socket Interface
- Get Started with USB Interface
- Get Started with GPIB Interface
- Get Started with Serial Port Interface
- Get Started with VXI and PXI Interfaces
- Write and Read ASCII Data Using VISA
- Write and Read Binary Data Using VISA