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A web app and library for visualising and comparing phylogenetic trees.


The app can be accessed at


Phylo.IO requires JQuery, D3js, UnderscoreJS, canvas-toBlob, FileSavier, circular-json and spin:

<script src="//"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/jquery-2.1.4.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/treecompare.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/spin.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/d3.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/bootstrap.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/circular-json.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/canvas-toBlob.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/FileSaver.min.js"></script>

<link rel="stylesheet" href="" integrity="sha384-v2Tw72dyUXeU3y4aM2Y0tBJQkGfplr39mxZqlTBDUZAb9BGoC40+rdFCG0m10lXk" crossorigin="anonymous">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="" integrity="sha384-q3jl8XQu1OpdLgGFvNRnPdj5VIlCvgsDQTQB6owSOHWlAurxul7f+JpUOVdAiJ5P" crossorigin="anonymous">


An instance of Phylo.IO is created using the init method:

    var treecomp = TreeCompare().init();

Settings can be assigned at initilisation by passing a settings object with any settings set to desired values (see the 'Settings' section below for more info):

    var treecomp = TreeCompare().init({
        treeHeight: 765,

Adding Trees

Add trees in Newick format to your TreeCompare object:

var tree1 = treecomp.addTree("(D:0.3,(C:0.2,(A:0.1,B:0.1):0.1):0.1);", undefined, "single");

You can add trees with a name too and add left and right as indicators for the compare functionality:

var tree1 = treecomp.addTree("(D:0.3,(C:0.2,(A:0.1,B:0.1):0.1):0.1);", "my name1", "left");
var tree2 = treecomp.addTree("(D:0.3,(C:0.2,(A:0.1,B:0.1):0.1):0.1);", "my name2", "right");

Names must be unique, this method throws an exception if a tree is added with a non-unique name. The method also throws an exception if the newick is invalid.

If no name is provided, the tree is given a default name of "Tree 1", "Tree 2", "Tree 3" etc.

Visualising Trees

There are two visualisation styles, viewing and comparison:

Viewing Trees

A single tree can be visualised using the viewTree method:

treecomp.viewTree(, "vis-container1", "vis-scale1");

This renders the tree with name "Tree 1" in the div with the id "canvas-container-div". The third parameter is optional and is the id of the div where the tree's length scale will be rendered.

Comparing Trees

Two trees can be compared using a comparison visualisation using the compareTrees method:

treecomp.compareTrees(, "vis-container1",, "vis-container2", "vis-scale1", "vis-scale2");

The tree named "Tree 1" is rendered in the div with id "canvas-container-div" and the tree named "Tree 2" is rendered in the div with id "canvas-container-div2". The scale div ids are optional and scales for each tree will be rendered in these divs if ids are provided.


There are a number of settings available to manipulate the visualisations in real time. Settings can be changed with the changeSettings method by passing an object containing the setting names and their new values:

        useLengths: false

The available settings and their default values are as follows:

    var settings = {
        //whether the tree visualisation takes into account tree branch lengths
        useLengths: true,
        //size of font on node labels
        fontSize: 14,
        //thickness of branch lines
        lineThickness: 3,
        //size of tree nodes
        nodeSize: 3,
        //multiplier for treeWidth (not width in px)
        treeWidth: 500,
        //multiplier for height of a leaf (not height of whole tree)
        treeHeight: 15,
        //whether compared tree moves to best corresponding node when node in other tree highlighted
        moveOnClick: true,
        //whether zoom slider overlay is enabled
        enableZoomSliders: true,
        //minimum zoom level
        scaleMin: 0.05,
        //maximum zoom level
        scaleMax: 5,
        //color of the text for the length scale
        scaleColor: "black",
        //function to call when a long operation is occuring
        loadingCallback: function() {},
        //function to call when a long operation is complete
        loadedCallback: function() {},
        //text for internal nodes
        internalLabels: "none", //none, name, length, similarity
        //whether the link to download the tree as an SVG is shown
        enableDownloadButtons: true,
        //whether zoom on mouseover is enabled
        enableFisheyeZoom: false,
        //zoom mode for scaling the visualisation
        zoomMode: "traditional", //semantic, traditional
        //whether the tree is scaled to fit in the render space on initial render
        fitTree: "scale", //none, scale
        //whether size control overlay is enabled
        enableSizeControls: true,
        //whether search overlay is enabled
        enableSearch: true,
        //depth to which nodes are automatically collapsed e.g 3 collapses all nodes deeper than depth 3
        autoCollapse: null // 0,1,2,3... etc
        //enable reroot functionality to find best root based on opposite tree in compare mode
        enableRerootFixedButtons: true,
        //swaps bipartitions until best resembles to opposite tree is found
        enableSwapFixedButtons: true,
        //enables to share tree as gist
        enableCloudShare: true,
        //enables buttons to ladderize trees
        enableLadderizeTreeButton: true,
        //enables all opposite tree actiosn
        enableOppositeTreeActions: true,
        //allows to align tiplabels
        alignTipLables: false,
        //allows to search for multiple leaves
        selectMultipleSearch: false,