Ensembl Accounts: they’re free… are they for me?

Do you have an Ensembl account? If not, why not?

Maybe you think you have to pay for it. Maybe you think you’ll be joining up to a mailing list that will spam you relentlessly. Maybe you didn’t know we have accounts, or you don’t know what you get from them.

Quick reassurance: they’re free and there are no emails, annoying or otherwise – we promise. You now know we have them, but what can they do for you?

The two main perks are saving and sharing. Keep reading to learn more.


The bookmark this page button

Found an interesting page? Bookmark it.

All kinds of data can be saved to your user account, including bookmarks, configurations and your own custom data. Once saved to your account, you can open them from any computer you use, allowing you to access them at work, at home or from a public computer.

Favourite genomes are zebra finch, duck, chicken, turkey and flycatcher.

If you work with birds, why not have avian genomes on your homepage?

You can bookmark any Ensembl page, such as your gene of interest, a variant page or a genomic region. This allows you to jump back to these pages quickly and easily. You can even customise the Ensembl homepage to feature your preferred species.

Many Ensembl pages, such as Region in Detail, can be configured to view your features of interest. These configurations can be saved to your account, so that you can easily change a view to how you want it. This is especially useful if there are a few different ways you like to look at a view and want to switch between them. If there are lots of views you like to look at, you can make sets of these configurations. A set has one configuration for one view in Ensembl, and another configuration for another view. For example you could create a regulation set for a particular cell line, so that for every view with regulation data available, the data for that cell line would be shown.

Region and sequence views configured to show variation data

I’ve configured all these pages to show variation data, and saved it as a configuration set.

There are many ways to upload your own data to Ensembl, whether it’s custom data tracks in the Region in Detail page, BLAST/BLAT searches or variation data using the VEP. All of these data can be saved to your account, allowing you to go back to them at any time.

Table of previous VEP analyses

All of my VEP uploads are saved to my account, so I can go back to them at any time.


If you can save it, you can share it.

You can share views by sending your colleagues and collaborators email links, but Ensembl accounts makes this even easier. If other members of your team have Ensembl accounts, you can create a group. Now anything that you’ve saved to your account (bookmarks, configurations and custom data) can be shared with the group, and all members of the group can access it via their accounts. This is great for working collaboratively on projects (especially long-distance collaborations), standardising analysis in a lab and getting new group members started.

How to do it

Get started right now by clicking on the Login/Register link that you’ll see at the top right of any Ensembl page to set up your account and explore the links you’ll find.

The Login/Register link in Ensembl.

The Login/Register link in Ensembl.

If you get stuck on any of this, there’s a help page on using accounts here.