What are feature libraries?

Feature libraries are sequence repositories for auto-annotation. Use them to automatically annotate features across multiple sequences with the same name, color, and type. Benchling supports nucleotide and amino acid sequences, including degenerate bases.

A tool for collaboration, feature libraries help labs keep annotations standard across many sequences. They can be shared with another organization or user as a project would. Invite other users or organizations to use, edit, or add others to your feature library under the Collaborators tab.

Create a feature library

Click the annotations panel and click the Edit Feature Library button on the bottom right of the panel.

Name the feature library and click the Create Feature Library button.

Click Import CSV. 

From here, you will drag and drop a CSV containing the features you want to include in your library from your downloads bar into Benchling. (You can also click Upload File, locate the file in your directory, and then upload it. We support importing feature libraries from ApE as well.)

Make sure to use a CSV! Importing an Excel file will result in an error. 

The CSV file should have the format [name], [feature], [type*], [color*] with the prenominate column headers in your sheet. Benchling accepts any color formatted in Hex Color Code (eg. #FF0000) and maps it to the closest Benchling color. Type and Color are both optional. Remember to include the # symbol when adding in the color!

The 16 standard colors that Benchling supports are:


For an example, see the image below.

The csv-file you import should be formatted like below, where the Type and Color columns are optional.

Click the drop down menu and select a particular library to add the features from your CSV file to that feature library or select Create new library to create a new feature library directly.

Add existing annotations to a feature library

Create a new annotation and right click on an the annotation to add it to a feature library. Choose Add to Feature Library. Specify the feature library you would like to add the annotation to.

What's next?

After reviewing this tutorial you may want to learn how to auto-annotate a sequence (or in bulk) from a feature library.

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