Frequently Asked Questions


Individual Subscription and Downloads

What subscription options are available to individual users?

One of the options is SPIE membership. Upon joining or renewing SPIE membership you automatically receive ten (10) downloads and an online subscription to one of SPIE’s eleven (11) Journals of your choice. You also get an opportunity to subscribe to additional Journals at a substantial discount. For more information about individual membership, please click here.

Individuals may also purchase downloads without a membership. Subscriptions are available for personal use and are good for one year. Subscription prices are reduced for SPIE members.


Is a subscription needed to use the SPIE Digital Library?

Anyone can search and browse the site, and view table of contents and abstracts. If you do not have a subscription, articles may still be purchased individually.

Can I have full Digital Library access as an individual?

Full Digital Library access is available to institutional subscribers only. As an individual you have other access options, such as purchasing a desired number of downloads, becoming a member which includes access to a Journal and ten (10) journal or proceedings downloads, or even adding more Journals at a discounted price to your existing membership subscription. Personal Journal subscriptions include access to all articles, editorials, reviews, etc., in that Journal.

What content can I download with my personal subscription?

You can use your downloads to download Proceedings and Journal PDFs. They cannot be used to download eBook chapters.

Can I use my downloads for eBooks?

You cannot use personal downloads for eBooks. However, you can purchase an eBook in a digital format or in print format from by clicking here.

Where can I download PDFs?

PDF links for an article are available in four locations on the Digital Library:

  1. Proceedings or Journal's table of contents.
  2. An article's abstract page.
  3. Search results list.
  4. Article listing in Topic Collections.

Proceedings or Journal's Table of Contents View

Article's Abstract Page View


Search Results List


Article Listing in Topic Collections


How do I utilize my available downloads?

Make sure to check your My Subscriptions tab to ensure you have active downloads. When you are interested in a paper, click on the PDF icon to the right of a paper’s title and follow the instructions. At the end of the process, you will be brought back to the article page and the HTML version of the article will load if one exists. If you prefer to download the PDF file, please click the PDF link again and your file will begin downloading.

Instructions on how to use personal downloads

  1. Sign in to your SPIE Digital Library personal account.
  2. Once you are successfully signed in, you will see your name in the black ribbon at the top of the page.
  3. Locate the article of interest by either searching or browsing the SPIE Digital Library. You may want to confirm that you either have available downloads by clicking on My Account and then on My Downloads and/or My Subscriptions.
  4. My Downloads View

    My Subscriptions View

  5. Once you locate the article of interest and click the PDF link, you will be prompted to download the article. Click "Download this Article" to proceed.
  6. Confirm you want to use a download from your personal subscription by clicking OK.
  7. A new pop up window will appear asking you to click the PDF link to download this article. Click OK.
  8. Click on the PDF icon.
  9. A dialogue box will appear asking you to either save or open the paper. It may look different depending on your browser's and user's settings.

How many downloads do I have left in my account?

Sign in to your personal account by clicking on Sign in text in the black ribbon at the top of any SPIE Digital Library web page. Once you are signed in (you will see your name at the top of the page), click on My Account and then on My Downloads. Currently available downloads will be displayed on the right. This view will also indicate when these downloads will expire if not used.

How can I track the articles I have downloaded?

Sign in to your account and select My Account and then My Downloads tab to view a listing of articles downloaded and a count of remaining downloads. Scroll down to the Downloaded Content section to view your downloaded papers that can be filtered by year of download via the pull-down menu.

What are "My Conference Proceedings"?

Read the Conference Proceedings FAQ to find out what "My Conference Proceedings" are, who is eligible to access them and how, when they become available, and more.

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Access to SPIE eBooks is limited to subscribing institutions and is not available as part of a personal subscription. Print or electronic versions of individual SPIE books may be purchased via