Protocol Editor: The Instructions (Part 4 of 4)

The instructions section is where you’re actually telling the robot what tasks to perform. The head and deck sections should be filled out before starting on the instructions, but can be added to if you find you need another container along the way.

Add Instruction

There are four types of instructions: Transfer, Distribute, Consolidate, and Mix. Select "Add Instruction" in the panel on the left, and then select whichever instruction you want.

If you already have an instruction in the list, you can choose to add your next instruction before or after the existing one.


A transfer is simply moving liquid from one place to another. You can specify the container name of where you’re moving to and from, the location within the contain (such as the well or tube rack position), and the volume to move.

Touch-tip is a true/false option. If true, it will have the pipette touch all four sides of the well after it deposits the liquid, in order to get remaining any liquid on the edge of the tip into the well.


Distribute picks all the liquid at once, and then drops it in the final well destinations in portions. This is quicker than individual transfers if you’re moving liquid from the same starting container into multiple containers (or wells within containers). You can specify different final containers, wells within containers, and volumes for each, as well as turning touch-tip on and off.

Blowout can be turned on or off to determine whether the pipette goes all the way to the bottom blowout position of the pipette.


Essentially the opposite of distribute, consolidate picks up liquid from multiple places and deposits it in the same container.

Tip: Use consolidate when all liquid is going to your liquid waste container.


The mix instruction allows you to pick up and drop the liquid multiple times, effectively mixing it, without having to transfer it to a different container. You can specify the number of mixes, as well as what amount of volume you want to pull up each time.

Add Motion to Instruction

With each new instruction, the pipette will automatically drop the used tip and pick up a new one. However, if you want to reuse the same tip, you can add another to the instruction, and the tip won’t be dropped.

Adding a motion to a consolidate instruction will add another “From” location, while adding a motion to a distribute instruction will add another “To” location. The mix instruction is similar to the transfer, it will just add another mix step using the same tip.

Add New Tool Group

If your protocol is using two pipettes, use the Add New Tool Group function to add instructions to each pipette.

You can switch back and forth between pipettes as many times as needed, making it easy to transfer volumes in exactly the desired order.

Copy & Paste

If you’re creating a protocol in which you’re running the same transfer over and over again, you can use the copy and paste function rather than creating and filling in a new instruction every time.

This will add another instruction with the same parameters, and you can specify how many copies you would like to make.

See also:

This is the last part of the Protocol Editor series! You can click here to return to The Pipettes (Part 3), The Deck (Part 2), or Creating a Protocol (Part 1).