Quick start

The interface to ASCIIGenome should look familiar to those used to command line programs. To see the command line options use the usual syntax -h/--help as ASCIIGenome -h.

Open an indexed a bam file, as simple as:

ASCIIGenome aln.bam

Open with a reference genome:

ASCIIGenome -fa genome.fa aln.bam

In interactive mode use -h to browse available commands in interactive mode:

ASCIIGenome <options>
[h] for help: -h

And to see the help for a given command use cmd_name -h, for example:

[h] for help: next -h

next [-start] [track_id]
      Move to the next feature on track_id on *current* chromosome. `next` centers
      the window on the found feature and zooms out. This is useful for quickly browsing
      through annotation files of genes or ChIP-Seq peaks in combination with read
      coverage tracks (bigwig, tdf, etc.). The `-start` flag sets the window right
      at the start of the feature, without centering and zooming out.

See also Input and output.

Interactive commands

As there is no GUI, everything is handled thorough command line. Once ASCIIGenome is started type a command and press ENTER to execute.

Some features of Unix console are enabled:

  • Arrow keys UP and DOWN scroll previous commands.
  • TAB auto-completes commands.
  • ENTER without any argument repeats the previous command.
  • Input after the // string is treated as comment and it is ignore (new in v1.13.0).


[h] for help: ff <ENTER>              # Move forward
[h] for help: <ENTER>                 # Move forward again...
[h] for help: <ENTER>                 # ... and again
[h] for help: col <TAB>               # Is expanded to colorTrack
[h] for help: <ARROW UP>              # Shows previous command
[h] for help: goto chr1 // Hi there   # Comments are allowed
[h] for help: h <ENTER>               # Show help.

When track names are passed as arguments, it is not necessary to give the full name as partial matching is enabled. This is handy since track names have an ID appended as suffix which can be used in place of the full name, e.g. next myLongfileName.bed#1 can be also typed as next #1.

These are just some functionalities to give an idea behind ASCIIGenome. See Input and output for the individual commands available.