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Markers and Links

Markers and links can be created and adjusted with the mouse (see mousemode and Marker Placement) or with certain commands (bumps, vseries measure). Markers and links can be saved to and read from marker files.

Markers and links are shown in the ball style when initially created and when read from a file.

Marker Files

Marker file format (.cmm) is the same in ChimeraX as in Chimera. It includes marker set name(s), marker positions, marker notes, links, colors, and radii. However, ChimeraX does not yet save labels on markers as marker notes, and marker notes are not shown as labels when read from a file. Marker files can be opened and saved using the File menu or the commands open and save, respectively.

The format is actually XML, plain text that can be read or created by other programs or “manually” in a text editor. Libraries for parsing XML are available in many programming languages. The following marker file describes two markers connected by a link:

<marker_set name="marker set 1">
<marker id="1" x="-6.1267" y="17.44" z="-3.1338"  radius="0.35217"/>
<marker id="2" x="1.5395" y="16.277" z="-3.0339" r="0" g="1" b="1"
               radius="0.5" note="An example note"/>
<link id1="2" id2="1" r="1" g="1" b="0" radius="0.17609"/>
</marker_set>

The r, g, and b attributes are red, green, and blue color components, respectively, with possible values ranging from 0 to 1.

Extra attributes can be present within the marker, link, and marker_set tags, as a mechanism for retaining information from or passing information to other programs. For example, the following marker description includes a frame attribute:

<marker id="3" x="195.43" y="166.62" z="174.03" r="1" g="1" b="0" radius="5"
 note="cap domain" nr="1" ng="1" nb="0" frame="5"/>
Extra attributes from an input file are retained and included in files written back out.


UCSF Resource for Biocomputing, Visualization, and Informatics / November 2017