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VersaCount: customizable manual tally software for cell counting.

  • Author(s): Kim, Charles C
  • Derisi, Joseph L
  • et al.


The manual counting of cells by microscopy is a commonly used technique across biological disciplines. Traditionally, hand tally counters have been used to track event counts. Although this method is adequate, there are a number of inefficiencies which arise when managing large numbers of samples or large sample sizes.


We describe software that mimics a traditional multi-register tally counter. Full customizability allows operation on any computer with minimal hardware requirements. The efficiency of counting large numbers of samples and/or large sample sizes is improved through the use of a "multi-count" register that allows single keystrokes to correspond to multiple events. Automatically updated multi-parameter values are implemented as user-specified equations, reducing errors and time required for manual calculations. The user interface was optimized for use with a touch screen and numeric keypad, eliminating the need for a full keyboard and mouse.


Our software provides an inexpensive, flexible, and productivity-enhancing alternative to manual hand tally counters.

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