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NGL Viewer is a web application for molecular visualization. WebGL is employed to display molecules like proteins and DNA/RNA with a variety of representations.

See it in action:



Table of contents


Since the NGL Viewer is a set of static files to be viewed in a web-browser there is not much of an installation needed. For development purposes it will be helpful to clone this repository and serve it locally (see below). When embedding the NGL Viewer as a library it is sufficient to include the self contained build dist/ngl.js. A full web application including a GUI can be found in the examples directory.

Browser support

The NGL Viewer requires your browser to support WebGL. To see if your browser supports WebGL and what you might need to do to activate it, visit the Get WebGL page.

Generally, WebGL is available in recent browser versions of Mozilla Firefox (>29) or Google Chrome (>27). The Internet Explorer supports WebGL only since version 11. The Safari Browser since version 8 (though WebGL can be activated in earlier version: first enable the Develop menu in Safari’s Advanced preferences, then secondly in the now visible Develop menu enable WebGL).

See also this page for details on which graphics card drivers are supported by the browsers.

WebGL draft extensions: For a smoother appearance of cylinders and spheres your browser needs to have the EXT_frag_depth extension available. The WebGL Report should list the extension if active. If not, you can enable WebGL draft extensions in your browser following these instructions:


This project would not be possible without many fine open-source projects. Especially the three.js project provides a great foundation.

Funding sources:


When using NGL please cite: