Productivity

Table of content

Create a template for your experiments
Make changes in a template
Insert your template into your project
Add tags that sum up your entry’s content
Add custom dates
Search through your entries
Take advantage of the filtering tool
Annotate your images
Extract Word documents
Visualize PDFs
Entry Referencing
Install our To-Do app

A key reason for digitizing your data with an electronic notebook is to boost your productivity. Save time and effort by keeping all your data digital instead of copying things backs and forth from paper to computer. In addition to that, see how you can save time with templates, tags, to-do lists, and much more!

Create a template for your experiments

Every day you rely heavily on reusing protocols and templates for your research and you might already have a folder with protocols that is lost somewhere in a common directory or computer. labfolder allows you to create, edit, and integrate your protocols directly in your electronic lab notebook. You can also even share it with your colleagues or external collaborators. This consistency will be crucial for the success of your research.

To create a template for your experiments, simply:

Make your own templates within the ELN

 

  1. Go to Manage > Templates.
  2. Click the +Add button.
  3. Select Add new template.
  4. Name your template and choose which folder to save it in.
  5. Once created, you can click on the template and start adding elements to it, just like a regular entry.

You can also generate templates from pre-existing entries and for that just click on the gearwheel present on the right-hand side of the entry header and choose Save as template.

Make changes in a template

In research, protocols are always being changed and optimized. With labfolder, you can alter your templates whenever you want and they will be automatically updated for your entire team. No more will you accidentally use a protocol that is outdated or contains incorrect information.

You can make changes to your templates

  1. Go to Manage > Templates.
  2. Select the template you want to make changes to.
  3. Simply edit it as you would an entry.

You can be safe in the knowledge that changes made will not affect any entries made using the template previously.

Insert your template into your project

According to Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), every time you use a protocol you should either re-write it in full or mention the page where it was first described. That is extremely time-consuming when using a paper lab notebook, but it becomes effortless with labfolder. To insert the needed template into your project, head back over to your Notebook.

Insert your templates into each project you would like

  1. Click the +Add button and select Use template.
  2. Choose the right template from your template folders.
  3. Click Use template and you are ready to go!

Add tags that sum up your entry’s content

Add tags to better categorize your ELN

The time of colorful post-its and flipping pages to retrieve your data ends with labfolder. Thanks to our tagging system, you can always find what you are looking for, but you should find a common tag system for your lab notebook and team.

When tagging your entries, remember that this is for your own (and others’) ease to find data quicker in the future. It is then best to use tags that describe your entry in keywords. Think about the reagents used, the technique used, and other details of the experiment that make it unique.

By tagging entries, you can not only see a short summary in the entry header of what you will find in the entry below, but you can find it quicker. This is done through the search and filter features, which we will explain more about below.

Add custom dates

You know now that in your entry header you will see the creation and last edit date for an entry. But did you know you can add custom dates? These are especially useful for annotating important steps or points in your experiments and projects.

Add custom date tags to your entries

You might want to note when an experiment was done – while it is already recorded in the edit history, you may want a way to quickly see when N was carried out. It could also be the due date for a part of the project or a date after which no more edits should be made.

Search through your entries

As briefly mentioned earlier, you can search through data within your notebook. With the search tool, you can look for contents within your entries. This refers to words and numbers used in your entries.


Search for entries, templates, tags, etc. in your ELN

By being able to search for entry content, you can save all that time otherwise spent leafing through endless paper notes!

Take advantage of the filtering tool

Not only can you search for entry content, but you can also filter data by a number of its features.

Filter your projects by project, author, date, and tag

A

Filter by Project: You can select from a list or start typing in the project names.

B

Filter by Author: You can look for authors by selecting the person or people in the drop down list or again type them into the search bar. If you select a group, then all people involved in that group will be selected for author filtering.

C

Filter by Tag(s): This is useful for finding projects where you used a specific antibody or piece of equipment. You can scroll through the alphabetized list of tags or start typing to narrow down the options. Then select the desired tag.

D

Filter by Dates: Here you can search by Created, Modified, or Custom dates between a certain date range.

By filtering your data by the above options, you will be able to expedite your data retrieval. Spend less time searching and more time doing your experiments!

Annotate your images

With images uploaded into your notebook, you are able to sketch over and annotate them. Any changes, like annotation, made to images are saved in separate layers, so the original data will never be compromised by your edits.

Annotate your images with comments

  1. To annotate, click the pencil icon on the image icon.
  2. Sketch freehand or make predefined shapes (rectangles, circles, etc.).
  3. Add text to describe annotations further.
  4. Save your image and click the X in the top right corner to close it.

Extract Word documents

With our ELN, you are able to upload all important document formats into your entries. Nevertheless, labfolder deals differently with Word documents because our lab notebook is able to recognize the content of the document (text, tables, images) and extract it to its respective entry block. If you have your protocols stored as Word documents, now you can easily insert them in your digital lab notebook and start using them immediately.

Download your entries to Microsoft Word




Visualize PDFs

When you upload a PDF such as a scientific paper or a protocol, you can open and view it in your notebook. This allows you to compile in a single tool all the information for one specific experiment, including that one paper that gave you a great idea!

 

View your entries as a PDF




Entry Referencing

In the same project, you will be doing different experiments and each experiment requires several Ns. You naturally want to connect these Ns and you can do that with labfolder’s Entry Reference tool. Within your text element inside an entry, you can reference it to one or more entries that exist in the same project or different one.

Reference certain entries within your ELN

  1. Open a text element in the entry you are working in.
  2. Click the ” (quotation marks) icon.
  3. Then select the entry which you want to link the one you are working on currently.

You will then see a reference among the text, structured like so: Entry Name – entry #N in project ‘X’ (Author, Date).

Note: Entry Referencing only works for entries that have a title.

Install our To-Do app

Multitasking is one of the most important features that a researcher needs to have. You will always run several experiments on a daily basis and it can be hard to keep track of everything you are actively doing.

When you have a plate full of tasks and experiments to carry out, it can get easy to forget what needs doing and when. Luckily we have a To-Do list app that you can install in your ELN, for free!

Set up to-dos in your ELN

  1. Go to Manage > Apps.
  2. Install the Todos apps.
  3. Head to your dashboard and you will find your To-do list.
  4. Create a list by typing whichever name you would like and pressing enter on your keyboard.
  5. Create items within the list by typing it into the space provided and pressing enter again.

There is no limit to the number of lists or items you can create. Another handy feature is that as you tick off items, the completed ones move to the bottom of the list, giving priority space to those needing to be completed.

When you are done with a list, you have the option to leave it as is, or you can delete it to make more visual space for your next list.

Next: Manage your collaboration in your ELN!