This page covers the usage of iTOL annotation editor for Google Sheets, and only highlights the major differences from the Microsoft Excel version. Please also visit the main help page for detailed description of various datasets and other annotation options.

Prerequisites

  1. iTOL user account: if you don't have an iTOL account, please create it first. Upload the trees you want to annotate into your iTOL account. Annotation editor will not work if there are no trees available. See iTOL's tree management help page for details.
  2. API access enabled in iTOL: login to your iTOL account, and then click your name in the top right corner. In the popup menu, click 'Enable/disable API access'. Copy the API key which will be displayed in the popup window.
  3. iTOL annotation editor add-on for Google Sheets: visit the Chrome Web Store and install the add-on
  4. Grant access to the add-on: During installation, iTOL annotation editor will require the following permissions:
    1. View and manage spreadsheets that this application has been installed in: main permission required so that the add-on can change and read the sheet data
    2. Connect to an external service: required so that the add-on can connect to iTOL to fetch your data and save it back
    3. Display and run third-party web content in prompts and sidebars inside Google applications: required for displaying various dialogs, like the main editor sidebar, annotation selector or error navigator
api

Getting the iTOL API access key

First steps

Create a new spreadsheet in Google Sheets, and access the iTOL annotation editor through the Add-ons menu.

  1. iTOL annotation editor sub-menu in the Add-ons
  2. Set your iTOL API key: select this option to specify your iTOL API key, obtained in the pre-requisites step 2 above. This needs be done only once, unless you disable the API access in iTOL, and then create a new key.
  3. Show control sidebar: show the main controls sidebar (4). If you accidentally close the sidebar, use this function to display it again.
  4. Main controls sidebar: it shows the currently selected tree, annotation type, various options dependent on the annotation type and the control buttons
  5. Select a tree: select this menu item, or click the button in the control sidebar to display the list of your iTOL workspaces, projects and trees. Select the tree you wish to annotate, and click the Load selected tree button. Once loaded, the tree name will appear in the control sidebar. You can click the tree name to open your web browser and load the tree in iTOL.
  6. Create or edit annotation: This is core functionality of the editor, and is explained in detail below.
  7. Save to iTOL: Once you are finished with your annotation editing, click this button to save all the data back to iTOL. Once saved, you can refresh the tree view page in your browser to display the updated data.
  8. Main data editing area
ui

Annotation editor user interface

login

Selecting a tree from your iTOL account

Creating or editing tree annotations

After selecting a tree from your account, click the 'Create or edit annotation' button (or use the corresponding add-on menu item) to display the dialog shown on the right. It consists of 4 tabs:

  1. New dataset: create a new dataset on the selected tree
  2. Existing datasets: if the selected tree has some existing datasets, you can load and edit them through this tab
  3. Colored ranges: edit or create new tree colored ranges
  4. Labels: load and edit the labels for tree leaves and internal nodes

There are two checkboxes available:

  1. Include all tree leaves: If checked, tree leaves will be pre-loaded into the sheet editing area, so you don't have to type them manually
  2. Sort nodes: When nodes are pre-loaded into the sheet (for example, when editing an existing dataset or tree labels), these will appear in the same order as they are shown in iTOL when the default sorting is applied

Select the desired function and click the button in the annotation selector to initialize the sheet editing area and the dataset options.

selector

Annotation selector

Entering and saving data

After selecting the annotation type to edit, the editing area will contain the header describing the columns. Column A will always contain the tree node IDs. Type the node ID you wish to annotate into column A, and fill other columns as required (depending on the dataset type, described below).

If you pre-loaded the tree leaf IDs from iTOL, or if you are editing an existing dataset, column B will contain the current node labels (which can differ from the ID). These are displayed for your information only, and do not need to be filled otherwise. If you wish to edit the actual labels, use the 'Labels' tab in the Annotation selector.

When finished with editing, click the Save to iTOL button. If editing an existing dataset or tree labels, a warning message will be shown, to prevent you from accidentally overwriting the current data in iTOL.

warning

Data overwrite warning

Trial mode warning

If you don't have an active subscription or institutional access, iTOL annotation editor will function in trial mode. All functions are available for testing, with one important limitation: only the first 5 rows of your data will be processed and saved on the iTOL server. Existing data in iTOL will be overwritten with these 5 rows, and the rest will be deleted. For example, if you are editing the labels on a large tree, only the first five labels will be saved, and the rest will be gone.

In trial mode, please use separate trees and data uploaded specifically for evaluating the iTOL annotation editor, since data truncation could occur.

To get full unlimited access, visit your iTOL account page.

For unlimited institutional access, have your librarian or other responsible person get in touch with us.

trial

Trial usage warning

Editing tree labels

Select Labels tab in the Annotation selector and load the tree labels into Excel. Tree IDs will be in column A, and their corresponding label in column B. To assign labels to internal nodes, use iTOL's last common ancestor method, if your tree does not have internal node IDs present. Alternatively, you can click on any node in the iTOL web tree display, and click the node ID on the bottom of the popup to copy it to your clipboard. Paste it into the Tree node ID column, and assign the desired label.

editing

Editing tree labels

Editing colored ranges

Select Colored ranges tab in the Annotation selector and load the current ranges into Excel, or to initialize an empty color range input sheet. Tree IDs have to be entered into column E, and their corresponding range color into column G. You can also provide the label for the colored range in column H.

To assign colored ranges to internal nodes/clades , use iTOL's last common ancestor method, if your tree does not have internal node IDs present (row 4 in the example on the right). Alternatively, you can click on any node in the iTOL web tree display, and click the node ID on the bottom of the popup to copy it to your clipboard. Paste it into the Tree node ID column, and assign the desired colored range.

Using the color picker

Whenever you need to provide a color annotation, you can type it directly into the cell, using any iTOL supported format ( hexadecimal, RGB or RGBA). Alternatively, you can use the Color picker button in the control sidebar. Select a cell where you need a color, and click the Color picker button. After selecting a color, its hex code will be entered into the active cell, and the cell background will reflect the selected color.

ranges

Editing colored ranges

Creating or editing datasets

To create a new blank dataset, go to the New dataset tab in the Annotation selector, choose the desired dataset type and options, and click Create a blank dataset.

If your tree already has some datasets present, you can load and edit them through the Existing datasets tab.

Tree IDs have to be entered into column A, and their corresponding data into columns C and onward, depending on the dataset type. To assign data to internal nodes/clades , use iTOL's last common ancestor method, if your tree does not have internal node IDs present. Alternatively, you can click on any node in the iTOL web tree display, and click the node ID on the bottom of the popup to copy it to your clipboard. Paste it into the Tree node ID column, and assign the data as required.

Dataset label and legend color must be set (or can be changed for existing datasets) in the control sidebar, above the function buttons.

dataset

Blank dataset template

Dataset types

All available dataset types are described in the detail on the main iTOL annotation editor help page. The descriptions of columns refer to the Microsoft Excel version, where the data is entered from column E onwards. In the Google Sheets version, all data is entered from column A onwards.

Video tutorial

Video tutorial demonstrates the usage of the Microsoft Excel version of the editor, but apart from different positions of various control buttons, all the functionality is identical. If you want to try the steps shown in the tutorial, you can download the phylogenetic tree and the example dataset and upload them to your iTOL account. Please check the iTOL help page if you need assistance with uploading, or contact me directly.