Help:Guidelines EditorPalette

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This guide describes the recommended utilization of the most commonly used elements of the WikiPathways editor palette. Examples are taken directly from the WikiPathways archives. If you have questions about specific cases, contact the discussion mailing list.

For each figure, the original pathway is linked to from the image header.

Basic Interactions

Line / Arrow

The solid line and arrow are used to denote a variety of processes, including conversion, translocation, activation, binding and modification.

Conversion Receptor binding Translocation between compartments Activation by cAMP
Arrow.png Arrow binding.png Arrow translocation.png Arrow activation.png

Dashed line / dashed arrow

The dashed line and arrow are used to denote an uncertain process or a process that involves additional steps not outlined in the diagram.

Undefined process


The T-bar is used to denote inhibition.

Inhibition of enzymatic activity by a drug

Line types

Any interaction can have a line style of either straight, curved, elbow or segmented. The default style is straight, and is shown in the examples above. The other three line styles are used to increase readability or to allow for a specific layout.

Curved Elbow Segmented
Curved.png Elbow.png Segmented.png

MIM Interactions - Molecular Interaction Maps

The WikiPathways editor includes a set of MIM interaction types, based on the Molecular Interaction Maps notation. Refer to the formal MIM specification for details on recommended usage.

Necessary stimulation Binding Conversion
MIM-Necessary-Stimulation.png MIM-Binding.png MIM-Conversion2.png
Stimulation Catalysis Transcription-Translation
MIM-Stimulation2.png MIM-Catalysis.png Transcription.png

Data nodes

  • GeneProduct: The default data node, used for proteins, RNA and genes.
  • Metabolite: Used for any metabolite, drug or small molecule.
  • Pathway: Used to denote a connection to another pathway.
  • Protein: Used specifically for proteins.
  • RNA: Used specifically for RNA, for example miRNA.
GeneProduct Metabolite Pathway
GeneProduct.png Metabolite.png Pathway.png
Protein RNA
Protein.png DataNode-RNA.png

Graphical elements

Graphical elements are purely graphical, meaning they do not have a meaning in the network graph that defines nodes and interactions.


Labels are used to describe locations, entities, processes or context:

Labels used to indicate cell type Labels used to indicate event Labels used to describe complexes
Label-celltype.png Label-event.png Label-complex.png


Lines can be used to create more complicated graphical objects representing biological structures, or to create a pathway legend.

Multiple lines used to represent a sarcomere Lines used to create a legend
Line.png Legend.png


The arc is typically used to denote a cellular or molecular structure.

Arcs used to represent a cellular structure


The rectangle is typically used for headers, to create an outline for a legend or as a purely graphical object:

Rectangle used as a header border

Cellular compartments

Cellular compartment shapes are used to specify the cellular location of processes. Using the defined cellular compartment shapes instead of simple graphical shapes ensures that the cellular location information is encoded in the gpml.

Cell Nucleus
Cell.png Nucleus.png
Vesicle Mitochondria
Vesicle.png Mitochondria.png