What to know

NPCR–EDITS (Exchangeable-edits, Data-dictionary, and Information Translation Standard) tools improve data quality by standardizing the way data items are checked for validity. These programs are provided for free distribution to the public health community.


NPCR–EDITS functionality can be built into interactive data collection systems written by others to achieve real-time field-by-field editing during data entry. They can also be used in batch-editing processes for data already collected.

NPCR–EDITS supports:

  • Defining standards for data quality.
  • Checking data during collection processes.
  • Preparing data for analysis.

Components of NPCR–EDITS


EditWriter is a versatile and complete development environment for defining, testing, documenting, and distributing data standards. It also provides a means of maintaining a standard definition. You can use EditWriter to define standards, or rules, in an executable form to apply to data. The rules are expressed in the EDITS language and embedded in a binary file object known as a metafile.

Standard-setters use EditWriter to:

  • Define data items.
  • Create record layouts.
  • Specify algorithms, logic, and documentation.
  • Maintain reference tables.
  • Test individual edits for valid results.

Experts can define data standards while avoiding some of the tedious parts of software development, which EditWriter handles automatically. A standard-setter maintains a single metafile that can be applied to data on a variety of hardware and software platforms at various stages in the data processing cycle. If you are not a standard-setter for others, but are responsible for a dataset or a data-collection operation, you will find EditWriter a convenient and complete tool for creating and maintaining edit checks.

Edit Engine

The Edit Engine is a library of C language functions. It can be incorporated into many kinds of programs for data entry, data verification, recoding, reformatting, and vertical or horizontal subsetting. It is provided for Microsoft® Windows® as a dynamic link library (EDITS51.DLL) in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Additionally, applications written in C or C++ and compiled with modern compilers for Windows, Unix, and VAX/VMS operating systems can include the Edit Engine by means of direct compiling the C++ source code and static linking.

Software developers can use the Edit Engine to apply the standard contained in a metafile at any point in the process, from real-time editing at the moment of data capture to the analysis phase. There are no constraints on the appearance or function of programs, or on the structure of the target database.


GenEDITS Plus is a batch-mode application for editing any standard cancer data file with any metafile. Records gathered using different programs can be interpreted in a uniform way when validated with the same metafile. GenEDITS Plus is the fastest way to apply standard edits to your data and get an error report. Since GenEDITS Plus incorporates the Edit Engine, no programming is required when it is used, for example, to apply metafile logic during analytical operations.

Implementing and publishing a standard

After a standard is created using EditWriter, the standard is applied to data by a driver program that calls the functions of the Edit Engine to apply the data-checking logic of a metafile to data. GenEDITS Plus is one driver program. Other driver programs, written by commercial and institutional developers, are used for batch or interactive editing.

If you are setting quality standards for others to follow, you can distribute your metafile to all who must test their data against it. They can apply the logic of your standard just as you have written it. This is true even when your clients do not use the same driver programs.

NPCR–EDITS metafiles have been written for cancer registry data standards of the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

Download and installation


Download EditWriter Version (compressed file, 9MB), release date January 16, 2024.

The download includes:

  • Release notes and programmer documentation.
  • A context-sensitive user help file.
  • CStage0205.dll (for running Collaborative Stage edits).
  • Configuration files for generating reports.


Before downloading GenEDITS version, please uninstall the previous version of GenEDITS.

Download GenEDITS Plus for V23 metafiles. (release date: May 25, 2023): (compressed file, 27 MB)

Unzip and double-click on setup.exe to begin the setup program. Instructions for using GenEDITS Plus are in the Help document installed with the program.

GenEDITS Plus release notes

  • Release date: May 25, 2023.
  • GenEDITS Plus is for use with NAACCR version 21, 22, and 23 XML metafiles.
  • GenEDITS Plus uses EDITS51.DLL and works with metafiles with or without record layout definitions. Therefore, it will support NAACCR version 23 metafiles that do not have record layout definitions as well as prior NAACCR version metafiles that have record layout definitions.
  • The base dictionaries preloaded into GenEDITS Plus were final at the time of release and are subject to change over time. Base dictionaries can be replaced in the GenEDITS Plus Data Dictionary folder. Please check the NAACCR website for the latest base dictionaries and replace the dictionaries in the Data Dictionary folder as needed.
  • EDITS51.DLL does not require a record layout definition in the edits metafile. Client applications pass data to be edited as an array of key-value pairs rather than a fixed-column position flat string as in the previous version (EDITS50.DLL).

EDITS51 sample applications

Two sample applications written in C# and C++ are available for download. The included Readme document lists EDITS APIs that have been updated. The DLLs folder contains both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of EDITS51.DLL.

Download (compressed file, 137 MB).

EDITS60API beta version

EDITS60API is a web API that provides HTTP endpoints to edit functions. EDITS60API was developed using the ASP.NET Core web development framework and can be hosted on both Windows and Linux machines. It supports all client applications that can make calls to RESTful APIs, regardless of language and platform. It does not require .NET to be installed on Linux. All files needed to run the API are included in the package.

This API supports the following functions:

  • Hosting multiple metafiles.
  • Adding and deleting edit metafiles.
  • Querying metafiles to list edit sets, edits, and fields.
  • Running one or more edit sets on data submitted as key-value pairs.
  • Running a single edit on data submitted as key-value pairs.
  • Running one or more edit sets on NAACCR XML files.

The EDITS60API beta package and instructions are available for download by request at

Notice to users with large datafiles

For best results, use this application on a local network when working with large datafiles. Use of network folders, especially with large files, may diminish application performance and stability.

Notice to Citrix users‎

If you use Citrix to connect to a computer, you may not be able to install software. In this case, consult the maintainer of your computer for assistance.

Technical support

For technical support, contact