Benchling has released a new version of the transfer table. This article describes the new features and functionality. Read more about the historical transfer table and the differences between the historical and new transfer table.

What are transfer tables?

Transfer tables allow you to manage sample transfer into or between containers directly within your notebook or workflow entry.

Transfer tables are separated by individual container types, and each transfer table can only transfer into a specified container schema.

Each row in a transfer table corresponds to a transfer. A transfer may simultaneously transfer a sample to multiple containers. You may specify the barcodes to which the sample must be transferred or automatically generate barcodes.

If you can't find transfer tables in the insert menu, please use the in-app help function to contact Benchling to enable these.

Add a transfer table to your notebook or workflow entry

Adding a transfer table to your entry can be done by entering your notebook via the “insert” menu on the formatting panel.

Next, you will be prompted to create new containers or use existing containers. For either option, you will need to choose the Source that the sample is being taken from (Entity, Container, Plate), the Destination that the sample is going to (Container or Box), and the Container Schema. If you choose to create new containers, you can choose whether to create autogenerated barcodes or custom barcodes.

For this example, we are using the Eppendorf Tube container schema that we've previously configured.

If you choose to use existing containers, you will not be prompted to create barcodes because you'll be using the barcodes of the existing containers.

You have now created a blank transfer table that will allow you to transfer samples directly within your workflow.  Note that each row you add to this table represents a sample transfer.  The table columns are:

  • Source Container (if the sample is being taken from another container)
  • Source Entity
  • Destination Location, Box, or Plate (depending on the Destination you chose)
  • Destination Position (the location of your new container within the Box or Plate)
  • Destination Container (this will be automatically filled after you select the Transfer button to create your new containers)
  • Volume
  • Concentration
  • Any additional columns for container fields specific to the container type you are working with

Fill out a transfer table

Once you have created a transfer table, the next step is to input relevant information to conduct a sample transfer.

Step 1a: Add an entity to your transfer table directly

Click into the Source Entity cell and type to search for existing entities. You can add more rows by dragging down the three horizontal line icon at the bottom of the table.

Step 1b: Add an entity from a structured table, worklist, or spreadsheet

If you have entities that you'd like to import from other locations, click on the “+” button on the top left corner of your transfer table and click on

  1. Add from structured table if you would like to add entities from Registration tables or Transfer tables in your current entry
  2. Add from worklist to add entities from an existing worklist
  3. Add from spreadsheet to import multiple samples in bulk into your transfer table, using a spreadsheet that matches your table

Step 2: Search for location

Double click in the “Destination” Column to type and search for a location, box, or plate.

Step 3: Select position to fill the sample (if applicable)

To do this, you may either:

  • Manually type the well position coordinate (e.g. A4)
  • Autopopulate the next available position(s) in the location(s) you have specified (Across rows or down columns)

Step 4: Fill the volume, concentration, and container fields (if applicable)

Click into the appropriate cells for volume, concentration, and container fields if you have them. You are not required to have a volume nor a concentration for a container.

Step 5: Click Transfer

Click Transfer and your sample will be transferred to your specified containers!

Considerations when utilizing the Import from Spreadsheet Option

To bulk add transfers via a spreadsheet, click the “+” button at the top right of the transfer table for the workflow step you are working on - then click on Add from Spreadsheet.

You will then see a window that will allow you to import from either a (1) spreadsheet or (2) raw text input.


For a spreadsheet upload, the first row should specify column headers, which must be unique. Each row after that should specify an input sample. Each column must represent a field in your input transfer table.

For a raw text upload, enter comma- or tab-separated text in the box that appears. Pasting from Excel is supported.  The first row should specify column headers - which must be unique. Each row after that should specify a transfer.  Each column must represent the column headers in the transfer table.

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