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Installation and Licenses

Can my organization distribute files in SnapGene format?

Absolutely. This format was developed as an international standard for visualizing, annotating, and sharing DNA sequences. Files created using SnapGene or the free SnapGene Viewer can be distributed without restriction by academic or commercial groups. The SnapGene Viewer is freely available, so your colleagues or customers will be able to open the files.

My computer died. How do I transfer the license to a new computer?

Install SnapGene on your new computer. In the Registration window, click the “Help” triangle. You will see instructions for transferring the license from your old computer.

How do I transfer a license from one computer to another?

In the currently running copy of SnapGene, open the Registration window, and click the “Help” triangle. You will see instructions for unregistering that computer. The license will then become available for installation on another computer.

Can I try a demo version of SnapGene?

Yes. To test drive SnapGene, please download a free trial. No payment information will be requested. We will provide a software key that is valid for 30 days. If you choose not to purchase, the files you created will remain fully accessible with the free SnapGene Viewer.

If multiple accounts on the same computer are using SnapGene, does each account need a separate license?

No. You will need to register separately for each account, but only one license will be consumed for a given computer.

With a multi-license pack, can I use some licenses with macOS and others with Windows?

Yes. Each license will activate one computer, and you can choose either operating system.

After I have owned permanent licenses for a year, can I delay before purchasing additional updates?

Yes, but you receive the best value by renewing your contract right away, because the price is calculated based on the previous expiration date. For example, if you wait 12 months after your contract expires and then purchase another 12 months of updates, the price will be the same as if you had purchased 24 months of updates when your contract first expired.

Why is my Mac treating SnapGene as a PowerPC application?

The message, which states that SnapGene cannot be opened because PowerPC applications are no longer supported, results from a bug in the Mac operating system. This problem can almost always be solved by rebooting your computer. If the issue persists, please contact us.


Can SnapGene read files created by my current molecular biology software?

We are continually enhancing the ability of SnapGene to read other file formats. The goal is to import not only DNA sequences, but also feature annotations. To see if your format is supported, please visit our File Compatibility page.

How can I copy a sequence from a file and preserve the history?

Select the sequence, and choose “New File from Selection” from the File menu.

Will I lose data if my subscription expires?

No. Regardless of the status of your license or subscription, you will always be able to open your files with the latest version of the free SnapGene Viewer.

Can I incorporate SnapGene into my data analysis or lab management software?

Yes. For information about how to read and write SnapGene files, please contact us.

Why can't I import sequences from NCBI (GenBank)?

On September 30, 2016, NCBI changed how records are accessed. SnapGene 3.2.1 and later versions use the correct format for import requests, but older SnapGene versions do not. We recommend updating your support package. Meanwhile, as a workaround, you can search on the NCBI website and then export a record as a .gb file that SnapGene can open.


Why do I see missing or garbled text after printing to a PDF file?

The Adobe PDF printer may try to use system fonts instead of the custom SnapGene font. To correct this problem, open the preferences for the Adobe PDF printer, choose the “Adobe PDF Settings” tab, and turn off the option labeled “Rely on system fonts only; do not use document fonts”. Click here for more information.

Restriction Enzymes

How can I selectively display restriction enzymes from my favorite supplier?

Open the Preferences window and choose the Enzymes tab. You will be able to arrange the enzyme suppliers in order of priority.

How can I see a list of enzymes that don't cut my sequence?

Open the Noncutters window. You can find the “Noncutters” command in the Enzymes menu at the top, or in the menu associated with the uppermost button in the side toolbar.


How do I display introns?

The easiest way to display an intron is to select a sequence that lies within an existing feature, and choose “Delete Feature Segment” from the Features menu. If your feature is a coding sequence, the translation will be automatically adjusted.

How can I associate a translation with a coding sequence feature?

When you make or edit the feature, click the check box labeled “Translate this feature in Sequence view”. The adjacent “Options” button will allow you to customize the translation.

How can I divide a feature into segments?

The easiest way to make a feature segment is to select the relevant sequence, and choose “Create Feature Segment” from the Features menu. You will then have the option of specifying the name and color of the segment.


My primer shows up at irrelevant binding sites, or does not show up at the binding sites of interest. How can I adjust the number of binding sites?

To control how binding sites are displayed, choose “Hybridization Parameters” from the Primers menu.

I have a list of primers in an Excel file. Can I import those primers into SnapGene?

You will need to export the primers to a list. In Excel, list the primers with a Name column and a Sequence column, plus an optional Notes column. Export the data by using Save As with the format Tab Delimited Text. Then in SnapGene, use Primers → Import Primers from a List.

Can I configure SnapGene to show primer Tm values suitable for PCR polymerases such as Phusion®, Phire®, and Q5®?

For most PCR polymerases, the optimal annealing temperature for the PCR reaction is about 0–5°C below the Tm for the primers.

For some PCR polymerases such as Phusion®, Phire®, and Q5®, the optimal annealing temperature is about 6‑12°C above the primer Tm. The reason is that these polymerases are fused to a processivity–enhancing dsDNA-binding domain that stabilizes the primer-template complex. The approach recommended by NEB and Thermo Scientific is to use older thermodynamic parameters to calculate the Tm for polymerases such as Phusion®. Those older parameters are less accurate, and they tend to give Tm values about 6–9°C higher than the newer parameters. NEB then recommends using an annealing temperature 0-3°C above the inaccurately high Tm values, or about 6–12°C above the actual Tm. The SnapGene team has decided not to provide inaccurate Tm values. Instead, we recommend that when a polymerase such as Phusion® or Phire® or Q5® is used, the annealing temperature should be about 6–12°C above the primer Tm as calculated by our software.


How can I obtain a protein sequence from a SnapGene file?

Whenever a translation is selected, the Copy Protein command is available in the Edit menu and the main toolbar. To copy an entire protein sequence, select an ORF or a translated feature. To copy part of a protein sequence, select a range of codons.

Sequence Traces

What base caller does SnapGene use for sequence traces?

SnapGene does not use a base caller. Instead, it reads the called bases that are already present in a sequence trace file.

Citing SnapGene

How should I cite SnapGene or SnapGene Viewer?

To cite SnapGene or SnapGene Viewer in a publication, please use: SnapGene® software (from GSL Biotech; available at snapgene.com).

Knowledge Base