Getting Started

The RCSB PDB website provides access to the data contained in the PDB archive along with a variety of related resources.

A narrated tutorial and supplementary materials that demonstrate how to use the site are freely available at openhelix.com.

Quick Start

Navigation: To navigate through the different resources on the website, select a topic from the left-hand menu. Teachers, for example, will be interested in the Educational Resources section of the website, while researchers depositing structures should look at the Deposit Services.

The RCSB PDB Molecule of the Month provides a good introduction to the types of structures available in the PDB archive. Looking at Structures offers information about the data found in the PDB archive.

Searching: To search for structures, enter a PDB ID or keyword into the box at the top of this page. Clicking the Author button will search by author name. More detailed search options, such as Advanced Search and Browse Database, are available from the left menu.

Browsers and software: Most modern browsers are fully supported. Users may encounter difficulty in certain portions of the site when using unsupported browsers. A java-enabled browser (Java3d and Java Runtime Environment) is required for various molecular viewing options. This webpage can check if your browser and browser settings are fully compatible with this website.

Some molecular viewers may require additional software downloads. Please refer to the Introduction to Molecular Viewers for information.

A Flash player is required for links with the   icon.

Website Organization

Top Search Bar: The top frame appears on all pages so that quick searches can be made at any time. Clicking on the RCSB PDB logo will take users to the home page. Selecting the date returns a list of the most recently released structures. Contact Us and Feedback can be used to get in touch with the help desk.

Left Menu: The left-hand menu now groups frequently-used webpages into sections -- Deposition, Home, Search, Tools, and Education -- that can be moved up and down to create a left-hand menu ordered by user interest. This customized menu will then appear on every webpage.

Main Frame: The main frame can display content (such as the Molecule of the Month), information related to a particular structure, or the results of a search. For structure information and search results, tabs available over this main frame can be used to toggle between different topics:


Tab options for exploring a single structure


Tab options for exploring a set of structure search results

Icons are used to indicate links to pages or actions; holding your mouse over a search field or link option will display more information. Icons include help pages ( ), molecular viewers ( ), database searches (), external sites ( ), viewing lists ( ), downloading ( ), and reports ( ).

Where can I find additional help?

Help is available in various places throughout the site and indicated with the   icon. Still can't find what you are looking for? Please let us know.

The following topics may also help you to get started: