2. Protocols 101

Create a protocol, restore a previous version, run a protocol, collaboration, lock protocols, organising your protocols

Anoä Calpas avatar
Written by Anoä Calpas
Updated over a week ago

This section focuses on the Protocol module. Here you'll learn everything you need to know to use protocols, improve reproducibility, and streamline your workflow.

Create & Share

Protocols are a key part of the Labstep workflow. This is where you'll write up methods or SOPs that you'll then use in your experiments. They interconnect all of the other modules of the platform.

Depending on your permissions, you can create, share and edit protocols easily.

To create a protocol:

  1. Navigate to the Protocol Library

  2. Click "New Protocol"

  3. Rename it

  4. Ta-da!

To build a protocol:

In your protocol, you can add Interactive Elements. Interactive Elements are tools added to protocols (and experiments) to help streamline your workflow and make it easier to record data. These elements will then be clickable and fillable once you run your protocol and start your experiments. Here's a list of all the elements you can add:

  • Steps

  • Interactive tables

  • Inventory fields

  • Data fields

  • Device fields

  • Timers

  • Conditions table

  • Files

  • Images

  • Links

  • Basic tables

  • Code snippets

  • Reaction schema/molecular structures

  • Jupyter Notebooks (premium)

For details on how each of these elements works click here.

To share a protocol:

  1. Navigate to the Protocol Library

  2. Select the box next to the protocol(s) you want to share (bulk action) or click the vertical ellipsis

  3. Click "Share"

  4. Select the appropriate permissions

  5. Either share the protocol(s) to another workspace or via a link (copy-paste or email)

Version Controlled & Locking

Protocols have powerful version control to help create an audit trail of when who and how things are changed and allow to revert back if necessary with the Time Machine feature (premium).

Locking a protocol version is another advantage as it ensures that everyone is using the same one. This helps to avoid discrepancies in data. Protocol versions are automatically locked when first used in an Experiment to ensure consistency and avoid inaccuracies by potentially using different versions of the same Protocol. You can create new versions to track changes or updates to your processes:

When running your Protocol, if you make edits, you have the option of saving this iteration as a new version or a completely new Protocol to reuse later on.

Sorting & Searching


Collections are like folders on your desktop. They enable you to organise your protocols in a quick and efficient way. You can create collections based on a specific project or a method for example. You can even have sub-collections too!


Just like collections, tags help you organise your work. These become essential as you have more people in your workspace or generate a lot of content. Tags add granularity and help you narrow the content you're looking for. It's especially useful if someone has to review protocols before they get used.


You can use filters to search through the Protocol Library. Here's a list of the filters available:

  • Deleted

  • Date Created

  • Created by

  • Assigned to

  • Tags

On top of these, you can also click on Sort By to sort protocols by:

  • Date Created

  • Name

  • Last Updated

  • Last Used

  • Most Used

Tips & Advice for Using Protocols

  • At all times you can know which version the protocol is based on and where it was used last when running it. Look for the "version used in" and "based on".

  • You restore a "Legacy" version by selecting a version and clicking on "Restore". You can also lock a version by creating a new one (click New Version).

  • No content is ever deleted on Labstep. If you think you or a collaborator has deleted a Protocol, you can recover it by clicking Filter>Deleted then ticking the box next to the appropriate protocol and clicking "Restore".

  • Combine different Filter shortcuts like Tags or Created By to find your work quicker.

  • Use the small arrows next to the Sort By to make the list ascendant or descendant.

⭐️ Conclusion

Protocols are an important part of the Labstep platform. Writing them up in Labstep has its advantages, like safety, security, collaboration, version control and interactive elements. Following the above tips and advice will help you get the most out of using Protocols for your workflow.

Knowledge Check:

  • What interactive elements you can add to your Protocol entry

  • How to create and share protocols

  • How to lock a protocol version and restore one

  • How to create a collection and a tag

  • Restoring a deleted protocol

This lesson is part of the "Labstep 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started" course. View all lessons here.

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