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Manipulating and editing the eBURST diagram.

Moving the eBURST diagram:

Left clicking on a blank area of the diagram window and moving the mouse allows the diagram to be dragged around the screen. Where there are multiple unlinked clusters, clicking within an individual cluster produces a green rectangle around it and the mouse can be used to drag that individual cluster around the screen. If you have difficulty selecting a clonal complex, you can click on any line between two of the STs in the complex (the line goes green), and then left clicking allows the whole complex to be moved. Clicking on a line also allows pairs or triplets (etc) of STs to be moved together. Clicking in an area outside (or between) the clusters allows you to return to the default where the mouse drags the whole diagram around the screen.

Horizontal and vertical expansion:

Holding down the ‘Alt’ key, left clicking and moving the mouse allows the diagram to be expanded or contracted in the up-down and left-right dimensions. This can also be used to change the shape of individual selected clonal complexes in diagrams that contain multiple complexes. This is useful as sometimes autoediting produced elliptical diagrams which can be made circular using this editing feature.

Rotating and zooming:

Holding down the shift key, left clicking and moving the mouse allows the diagram to be re-sized and rotated. Individual clonal complexes can be selected and individually resized and rotated. Selecting a subgroup founder by clicking on it (making it red), and then shift-left clicking, allows the whole subgroup to be moved and zoomed. You can always return to the original diagram by clicking on ‘draw’.

You need to play with this for a while, and being under 30, with experience of PS2 games, or a flight simulator probably helps.

Manual editing the eBURST diagram:

eBURSTv3 automatically optimises the arrangement of STs (auto-editing) and produces eBURST diagrams that need minimal editing. Manual editing features can also be used and where necessary, can convert the initial auto-edited eBURST diagram into an optimal eBURST diagram for use in a publication or a Powerpoint presentation. A new feature of eBURSTv3 is the ability to save a diagram in SVG format. This allows further changes to the diagrams to be undertaken using third party SVG editors.

Moving STs:

To move an ST, first click on the circle representing the ST, and a red halo appears around the circle to show it has been selected (you may have to move the mouse around slightly to find exacting the right place to click). The selected ST can then be dragged to the required position by moving the mouse. Where there are linked STs that need to be re-positioned, dragging an external ST will move only that ST, whereas dragging an internal ST will move the whole group of linked STs. This prevents the linkages between STs being inadvertently altered while editing the diagram. All of the STs in a subgroup can now be moved together (see section 9.3).

Highlighting connections between STs:

Clicking on a line between STs highlights the connecting line in green.

Text size and font of ST labels:

In the ‘Diagrams’ menu the Colour Options opens the Properties Panel and the text style (font and font size etc) of ST labels can be changed

Colour Key:

A key displaying the default colour coding for elements of the diagram can be viewed to aid interpretation. Should any changes to the default colours be made these will not however be reflected in the key.

Changing default colours and line widths:

You can change all colours from their defaults through the ‘colour options’ section of the diagram menu.

Show ST labels:

By default, this option is checked, unchecking removes all text from an eBURST diagram. Should you be comparing two datasets coloured ‘halos’ will appear surrounding STs to show in which dataset they are represented.

Saving text output:

The textual output of eBURST groups and bootstraps can be saved to a file through the ’Save’ option of the File menu, when the Analysis TAB is selected

Saving eBURSTv3 diagrams:

eBURST diagrams can be saved in the following formats –

• Jpeg

Of particular use is the ability to save in the Scaleable Vector Graphic (SVG) format. SVG is an XML representation of vector images and as such allows the eBURST diagram to be re-edited using 3rd party applications.

To view SVG documents you need an SVG viewer which comes in the form of a plug-in for web browsers. The plug-in is freely available and can be downloaded from

To further edit eBURST diagrams saved in SVG format we recommend using either the commercial software Adobe Illustrator (, or freeware editors such as the W3C recommended Amaye – ( or Inkscape (

Printing eBURST diagrams and text:

eBURST diagrams can be printed through the File menu ‘print’ option.

Obtaining more information about groups or STs:

Further information can be obtained about the STs from within an eBURST diagram. The ST of interest should be selected by clicking on it until it becomes red. Then selecting the ‘database’ option in the ‘Diagram menu’ will open a new panel with the selected ST number already entered. Isolates of the selected ST within the MLST database are returned as the default. Ticking the ‘+ SLVs’ box returns details of the selected ST and all of its SLVs. Obviously linking from the eBURST diagram to a MLST database only works for data submitted to eBURST from an MLST database

Highlighting all SLVs and DLVs of a ST:

You can view all SLV links or all DLV links of a particular ST or entire clonal complex by using the checkboxes located in the Diagram Panel. After checking either SLV, DLV or both, select an ST by clicking it (a red halo appears around the ST) The diagram now displays lines from the selected ST to all of its SLVs (pink lines) and/or DLVs (blue lines). You can remove the lines by unchecking the boxes. Several STs can be selected in turn to show the SLVs and DLVs of multiple STs. Shift and clicking within a clonal complex shows all of the SLVs and DLVs of all of the STs within the clonal complexes. Shift and clicking on an empty area of the diagram shows all of the SLV and DLV links of all of the STs.
Hint – you can always remove all the lines if you press ‘draw’ to refresh the diagram.

Re-assigning the primary founder:

From the Diagram TAB, click/highlight the ST you wish to assign as the primary founder and then click ‘Founder’ in the ‘Diagram menu’. The new auto-edited eBURST diagram is drawn, with the user-defined primary founder’ in red, to show that you, rather than eBURST, have made this assignment of the primary founder. Note that the number of SLVs linked to the selected primary founder may well increase considerably (compared to the original eBURST diagram) as all its SLVs will now be preferentially assigned to the new ‘founder’.

eBURSTv3 has been developed and is hosted at Imperial College London