ISO 22029:2012 presents a simple format for the exchange of digital spectral data that has been designated as an EMSA/MAS standard. This format is readable by both humans and computers and is suitable for transmission through various electronic networks, the phone system (with modems) or on physical computer storage devices (such as removable media). The format is not tied to any one computer, programming language or computer operating system. The adoption of a standard format would enable different laboratories to freely exchange spectral data, and would help to standardize data analysis software. If equipment manufacturers were to support a common format, the microscopy and microanalysis community would avoid duplicated effort in writing data analysis software.