The Configuration Sidebar

The Configuration side bar is an area within the Workflow Editor that allows the user to set higher system preferences to be applied to their workflows. Rather than these preferences being applied at the element level they are global preferences that affect the entire workflow.

About this tutorial

In this tutorial you will be walked through the key features of the Configuration side bar and how to use it when creating jobs in the workflow editor

Things you'll need

  • Before you get started you will need an Antha license so that you have access to Antha OS.
  • We advise that you have a read of the Using the Workflow Editor documentation to put this tutorial into perspective.

What you'll learn

How to access and set the following configurations:

  1. Driver specific preferences, e.g. deck layout preferences.
  2. How to specify a global input plate type for your workflow.
  3. How to specify a global output plate type for your workflow.
  4. How to specify a global tip type for your workflow.
  5. How to specify the device that this workflow will be simulated against and run on.
  6. How to specify an input plate layout by uploading a file or through the inventory

Configuration side bar

The Configuration tab next to the parameters tab allows the user to define higher level system preferences rather than element level preferences. There are several options available to the user here:

  1. Preferences
  2. Devices
  3. Plates (Input plate sample layout)

Configuration bar


The preference drop down opens a window in the configuration side bar that allows the user to specify automation device specific preferences, such as plate and deck layout preference. These preferences are usually determined by the driver for a specific device and may sometimes need to be altered to avoid conflicts. This section is for more advanced Antha users. However, if you would like to learn more about how to use this Preferences functionality then take a look at the Preferences Documentation.

Preferences drop down

The most common Preferences that you may want to edit will be the global plate types. Depending on what is available or economical in your lab, you may wish to restrict the kinds of plates and tips that can be used for a workflow. To do this, you can modify the inputPlateTypes, outputPlateTypes, and tipTypes preferences

Preferences drop down

Input Plate Types

One of the things you may want to specify is a global input plate type. To specify the input plate type globally for all of your elements in your workflow, click the "add new item" button under "inputPlateTypes"

Input Plate Types

From here click on the blue button with the white magnifying glass to search for a plate type from the Plate Library.

Input Plate Types

A window with the different available plates will appear. Each Plate Card contains key information about each plate available to you.

Input Plate Types

To aid in the search for the right plate, you can filter your results with keywords in the search area.

Input Plate Types

Once you find the plates you're looking for, click on the card to activate it. Only one card can be selected at once. Click "Accept" to continue.

Input Plate Types

Your newly selected plate is now visible.

Input Plate Types

To add a riser or other type of carrier to this plate type, click on the dropdown menu for carriers.

Input Plate Types

Choose the carrier you wish to add to this plate type and it will be added automatically.

Input Plate Types

Repeat this process to add additional plate types, if needed.

Once a new plate type and riser has been selected you will notice that the information in the Preferences window will have been updated to reflect that an Input Plate Type has been selected.

Output plate types

The Output Plate Types option works in the same way as the Input Plate Types option in that it globally sets the output plate type for all the elements in the workflow.

Input Plate Types

However, If an element has a parameter option to set an output plate type then this will trump the Output Plate Type selected in the Configuration side bar.

Tip types

One of the things you may want to specify is a global liquid handling tip type. To specify the tip type globally for all of your elements in your workflow, click the "add new item" button under "tipTypes"

Input Plate Types

Multiple tip types can be specified in this way.


The Devices section allows the user to specify the exact device they would like their workflow to be simulated against and then run on. This isn't just specifying the type of automation platform but a specific automation platform that will have an associated ID number. The number of options you have in this list will be dependent on the number of devices you have set up within your Antha License.


If the user does not specify a particular device at this point simulations will be carried out against a default device. However, the device can be changed at several key points in the workflow process. For more information on devices take a look at the Devices documentation.

Input plate layout (Plates)

Antha uses its scheduler to allocate samples within an input plate for the user to set up. However, if the user already has samples in a plate in a specific order either prepared manually or a barcoded item from the inventory then the sample layout of that plate can be uploaded or searched from within the inventory from here.

Input Plate Layout (Plates)

For more information on how to upload plate layout template files take a look at the Upload Files documentation

What should I learn next?

Now you know how to set more advanced configurations we would suggest for you to learn about Simulating workflows and Reports. Or you could learn more about the Preferences panel or how to Upload Files.