Starting Guide to Mbook



Mbook is an Electronic Laboratory Notebook designed with the needs of synthetic chemists in mind. It also possesses the infrastructure to accommodate requirements for other scientific disciplines. We have developed an Electronic Lab Notebook suitable for academic groups, companies which outsource their chemistry, as well as startups and small chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

The application is web based and can be used both as a hosted SaaS (Software as a Service) application via a subscription and alternatively as an in-house installation. If you have not got a subscription yet or you would like to use or the 45-day-trial versions please click on the following link try Mbook. Once you sign up and get your server account you will be ready to login your credentials and enjoy this new ELN experience: Mbook!


Please note that for security purposes, your Mbook session will expire after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Be safe and change your password:

We recommend you to change your password once you obtain your account. For this you just need to display the drop down menu on the top right corner and click on the user option.  Then you can edit your details and password as seen below:

Password - Must contain at least one number and one non-alphanumeric character.

Let's describe the different user roles

Mbook recognizes that laboratories can have complex structures and therefore allows for different user roles, with access to different functionality and data. From the People's panel you can create the different users and roles as an Administrator or a Group Manager. Administrator> Group Manager> Project Manager> Bench Chemist> Guest.


Before you start creating users and groups we strongly recommend you to read below the description of the five types of users within Mbook ELN. Please note that understanding the differences between an Admin and a Group Manager will be very important for this preliminary configuration step.

You can see a summary of the user roles supported by Mbook below:


  • Creates group managers and group associated to these group managers
  • Able to create independent working groups i.e from different sites in the same organization, or different groups within the same lab.
  • Please note this role is key for the initial configuration of the above. However Admins are unable to create or work with projects, reaction or experiments!


  • Creates users, groups as well as Projects/Reactions/Experiments
  • Assigns users and provides witnessing privileges
  • Assigns Inventory and Safety Managers
  • Witnesses and approves Experiments
  • Structure Manager by default


  • Creates users, groups and also Projects/Reactions/Experiments
  • Assigns users to Projects
  • Witnesses and approves Experiments
  • Structure Manager by default


A Bench Chemist by default, will only see their own experiments in the navigation tree from Desk panel. This behavior can be modified by changing the filtering options.

  • Creates Reactions and Experiments
  • Witnesses Experiments


Guests only have permission to see projects or groups that they have been granted access to.

You can also read a post with further information about user roles and permissions.

Creating users:

ADMIN -How to create a user?

As we mentioned, an Admin user will only be able to see the ‘People’ tab to create and organize users and groups as an initial stage.

The Admin must create the first user by clicking on the ‘Add User’ button.

From here, the administrator needs to enter a username (with a valid email address), password, role, etc... The administrator can select a group (if there is any existing one) for the new user:

Once you are done, the People panel should display something similar to the example below:

The Prefix field will be used to automatically generate the experiments codes created by the user.

This is similar for a Group Manager, but for a more detailed step-by-step process you can read the following tutorial about creating users and groups.

Let's talk about your working space (DESK)

The DESK is the Group Manager's working area, containing a list of Projects with the different Reactions. Each reaction also contains a list of your experiments in a very simple way. Your chemistry will be structured into these different categories:

The picture below shows you the DESK's panel view displaying different projects, reactions and experiments with the applicable reaction scheme. Just by hovering over you can obtain a preview of your experiment.

For further information check out the basic tutorial we created for the previous version Mbook v.1 on creating your projects, reactions and experiments.

Quick experiment and compound searching tool:

Mbook can speed up your work by allowing you to perform quick searches (text and structure) around your experiments. To do this, just click on the search button on the main menu panel and draw the desired molecular structures or type any free text (experiment code, username, compound name, etc.).

Up to here you have seen how Mbook is structured around Projects, Reactions and their corresponding Experiments.

Writing-up your chemistry:

In the next section you can learn how Mbook allows you to store all the relevant information on your experiments (e.g. structures, solvents, experimental conditions, experiment write-up, stoichiometry table with the experiment).

Building your experiments:

Filling in the Experiment table

Below you can see two images. The first, shows a blank template of the experiment work space and the second, shows an example of one in use:

The following tutorial shows you in more detail how to enter your reaction participants and experimental conditions and also in this video (both were prepared for our previous version Mbook v.1).

Adding your participants

An extra step when filling in all the information about your experiment is to add your reaction participants (e.g. reactants, solvents or products). You can do this either by importing .mol files, copying&pasting structures from a third party drawing package such as ChemDraw or other, searching your compounds in Mbook's database with more than 2500 compounds, or drawing them using the powerful molecular editor from Marvin JS now integrated in Mbook. We recommend you to search for as many reaction participants in the database as possible to avoid drawing errors and to save some of your precious time.


Uploading your data!

It is time to show you what other pieces of data such as MSDS files, analytical data, literature references, TLC's and other images Mbook can accommodate for your experiment. All the files will be uploaded from the 'Files' or 'References' sections as displayed below:

The following example shows you three different files uploaded in the 'Files/ Characterization' section:

You can hover on any of the file names to see a mini-preview of your experiment:

 Interacting with your raw analytical data

Besides uploading your NMR data on the Experiment's file section, you will be able to interact with your Mnova NMR raw data by uploading any Mnova zip file. No other ELN can beat this capability! mnova engine_p

 Uploading your TLCs and other images:

A good example of very useful attachments on your ELN are TLC pictures. Hovering the mouse over the image file name will generate a preview, which can save you a lot of time. For this, you have to first upload your file on the 'Images/Add document' option, as displayed below:

As a pdf image, you can also upload any articles or documentation related to your reaction or experiment. Once the file is uploaded in the bibliography section you just need to hover the mouse over the file name to see a preview of the document's first page:

Mbook will also save you time by neatly uploading your MSDS data to your experiment's References section as displayed below:

For a more detailed explanation, you can read the latest tutorial about adding your analytical data.

Reporting your experiments:

High quality and consistent reports can be easily generated with Mbook's simple reporting automation. You simply have to tick the checkboxes in the Desk/Experiment section to select the spectra and images you want to include in your report.

You can see below an example of a typical pdf report:pdf-report

Database: Compounds and suppliers

As mentioned earlier, Mbook is equipped with a compound database of more than 2500 compounds commonly used in synthetic chemistry. You can search and also add or edit your desired compounds to build up your own library. It also allows you to search, edit or add suppliers to the database. This allows you to customize and speed up your future searches.

Discuss your experiments with your colleagues - Internal messaging service:

Mbook supports internal messaging as it is equipped with an embedded inbox allowing you to exchange messages with your team colleagues. These messages will remain attached to your experiment and the reaction they relate to.

Witnessing and approving experiments:

This internal messaging service will let you communicate with your colleagues regarding witnessing and approving of experiments as required in many laboratories or work environments. For this, the group manager will be able to enable or disable the witnessing privilege for the required users on the 'Edit User' panel.

On the "Edit Experiment" section you can update the status of your experiment. i.e. "Pending signature"


Once an experiment has been labelled as "Pending signature" a new icon will appear on the Experiment panel, where Group and Project managers will be able to approve or discard experiments:

When the status of an experiment is switched to "Pending approval" a message is sent to the Group Manager(s) of the project to inform that there is an experiment to be approved.

If the experiment is not approved, its status will automatically change to "Open". For a given experiment, you can have several associated privileged users. Either of them can approve it. Further information can be found in Mbook's manual.


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Scientific Content Editor at Mestrelab Research S.L. Read his profile here.

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