The course will provide participants with the basic information required to program and run experiments with z-Tree. In the second part of the course, I will introduce more advanced tools for programming in z-Tree, and answer specific questions possibly raised by participants in relation with their current and perspective research.

During classes, participants will have to replicate on their PC the described procedures, so to make classes as interactive as possible.

We adopt z-Tree version 3.4.

The course will be taught in English, and classes will take place at the BLESS lab in via Ranzani 14/b, Bologna, on April 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 9, 2014 (3pm-5.30pm every day).


No specific knowledge of programming and computer science is required. A background in experimental economics is recommended in order to fully understand the purpose of programming in z-tree and the practical examples we will go through during the course.

Before starting the course, participants need to get a licence for using z-Tree. The program is licensed free of charge. To get a licence, download the English license contract or the German license contract, print two copies, sign them, fill in postal and email address, and send them to University of Zurich, Sally Gschwend, Department of Economics, Bluemlisalpstrasse 10, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland. You will then receive login and password for downloading z-Tree. If you do not receive the information by email within reasonable time, please send an email to Petra Meier

Maximum number of participants: 32


  1. Introduction
  2. Installing z-Tree
  3. Individual decision-making experiments. Example: lottery.
  4. Games with symmetric players and simultaneous moves.
  5. Games with asymmetric players and sequential moves.
  6. Games with more than 2 players.
  7. How to:
  8. Miscellanea

Reading List:

The main references are:

Fischbacher, Urs. 2002. "z-Tree 2.1 Tutorial." Available on-line at:

Fischbacher, Urs. 2006. "z-Tree 2.1 Reference Manual." Available on-line at:

Fischbacher, Urs. 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich Toolbox for Ready-made Economic Experiments", Experimental Economics 10(2), 171-178.

Additional reading material will be provided at the beginning of the course. Lecture notes will be available on the course web-site.

Lecture notes

full printable version (pdf)

Useful links

z-Tree home page: the official z-Tree web page.
z-Tree Wiki: it contains the most update documentation on z-Tree, plus some tutorials, and useful tips and tricks.
z-Tree forum: a page developed by a group of volunteers, to collect and sort all the solutions found along the way by z-Tree programmers.
Ernesto Reuben's page: contains some useful examples, and a openzleafs.exe, a handy file to launch multiple instances of z-Leaf.

There exists also a mailing list for z-Tree users. To join this list refer to one of the following instructions:

Downloadable files

Last updated: April 14, 2014