Benchling has released a powerful new version of the transfer table. This article describes the historical inventory table, which is used for the Batches functionality on Benchling. Read more about the new inventory table and the differences between the historical and new inventory table.

Note: Inventory tables were previously called transfer tables.

What are inventory tables?

Inventory tables allow you to manage sample transfer into or between containers directly and allow you to update container attributes within your notebook or workflow entry.

Inventory tables are separated by individual container types, and each inventory table can only transfer or update containers of a specified container schema.

Each row in an inventory table corresponds to a transfer or a container update. 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. A container update allows you update the quantity or archive the container.

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

Add a Inventory table to your notebook or workflow entry

Adding an inventory 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 select creating/filling containers or updating the containers attributes. You also need to select a container schema and whether this container will be housed inside a Plate or Box.

You have now created a blank inventory table that will allow you to transfer samples or update container information directly within your workflow . The following are the table columns for each of the actions:

Creating/filling containers

  • Sample (this refers to the entity being transferred)

  • Location (if you selected the Plate/Box checkbox, this must be a Plate or Box)

  • Number of containers

  • Position (the location of your new container within the Box or Plate))

  • Containers (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

Updating container attributes

  • Container

  • Contents (this will be automatically filled after you select a container)

  • Location (this will be automatically filled after you select a container)

  • Position (this will be automatically filled after you select a container)

  • Quantity (this will be automatically filled after you select a container)

  • Units (this will be automatically filled after you select a container)

  • Add/Deduct by ( this will change the quantity of the container)

Fill out a inventory table

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

1. Add an entity to your transfer table directly

Select "Add row" to search for an existing entity, batch, or entity within a specific container. Entities or batches must be configured to be containable in order to be added to an inventory table.

2. Add an entity from a structured table, worklist, or spreadsheet.

  • Add samples to add entities from Registration tables in the same Notebook entry.

  • Add from worklist to add entities from an existing worklist

  • Add from spreadsheet to import multiple samples in bulk into your transfer table, using a spreadsheet that matches your table

3. Search for location

Double click in the “Location” Column. A modal will pop up to search for a location, box, or plate. If you selected the checkbox requiring this container to be created within a Plate or Box, you will only be able to add a Plate or Box.

4. Enter the number of containers

Enter the number of containers you'd like to create, per entity, in the Number of containers cell.

5. 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)

6. 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.

7. 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.

Update Container's attributes

Select the update container or plate well attributes option when you insert the inventory table to update a container's quantity or archive the container.

Add/deduct Quantity

To change the quantity of a container, first select the container in the Container column and then add a numerical value to the Add/deduct by column. To add quantity, add a "+" before the numerical value. To deduct quantity, add a "-" before the numerical value. Click Submit to change the quantity.

Archive container

To archive a container, select the container in the Container column, then click on Archive containers. This will open a modal in which you can select the containers you want to archive and the reason for the archival. You can also archive the content of the container by toggling the checkbox Archive contained samples.

Did this answer your question?