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Useful scripts for biologists using Zim.
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Zim BioTools

Collection of useful scripts for biologists using Zim Desktop Wiki. One day it might become a plugin.


You need Python (which is most likely installed) and Biopython packages, so the command below should be enough:

sudo apt-get install python-biopython
mkdir -p ~/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/zim/plugins
cd ~/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/zim/plugins
git clone


Simple gene fetcher (

This is a simple custom tool to fetch aminoacid sequences from NCBI and append it to a notebook page Zim.

Example of output:

@Drosophila_melanogaster @gene

>gi|17647207|ref|NP_523989.1| boule, isoform B [Drosophila melanogaster]


  1. Copy to any folder.

  2. Open Zim and go to Tools > Custom Tools.

  3. Click the + button to add a new tool.

  4. Fill in the fields with the following:

     Name: Gene Fetcher
     Description: Fetches aminoacid sequences from NCBI
     Command: /home/user/anylocation/ %t %s

    Arguments are (1) email address, (2) sequence identifier, and (3) page filepath.

  5. Activating "Show in the toolbar" checkbox is useful, but not required (as well as an icon).

  6. Click OK and you are ready.

Remember to change to the correct file location in your system and to include a valid email address to the Command field. A valid email is required to use the Entrez Programming Utilities of NCBI, please refer to their usage guidelines for further information.


All you need is the identifier of the sequence you want to fetch, it looks like this: NP_523989.1.

  1. Paste the identifier to a notebook page and select it with the cursor.
  2. Run Gene Fetcher tool by clicking in the toolbar icon or via Tools > Gene Fetcher.
  3. Data will be appended to the end of the page.

FASTA importer (

Import each sequence of a FASTA file as a Zim page.


  1. Write down the path to a FASTA file.
  2. Run FASTA importer.
  3. Sub-pages will be created under a page named Loci.
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