Move Plates Tool

How to use to move plates, boxes, and tube racks from one place to another.

Written by Adam Thomas
Updated over a week ago

The Move Plate tool helps you move plates, boxes, and tube racks. This move functionality is also available from the corresponding record views of these items as well as in the right-click context menu in the library or list views of these items.

Having this functionality in a tool provides the ability to make this a step in a workflow as well.

This tool allows you to manually place the plates one at a time or use a Placement Strategy to automatically place plates in open positions based on the rules defined in the Placement Strategy. (Click here to read about placement strategy creation)

Input: One or more plates, boxes, or tube racks

Output: A data table listing the new location for these items.

You can find more detailed definitions of the terms mentioned in this article in the glossary.


  • (required) The plates must exist in inventory and the location where you want to place the plates must also exist.

  • (optional) If using a Placement Strategy to place plates, the placement strategy needs to be created in advance.

You can find the Move Plates tool under Tools > Tool Library. Click on ‘Launch Tool’ to start using the tool.

Select the plates you want to move by clicking on 'Select Plates'. This value can be preset in a workflow.

You can filter by name and select one or more plates.

Confirm your selection by clicking 'Select Plates'.

The selected plates will show in the table below.

You can add more plates by clicking 'Select Plates' again.

You can preview plates by clicking on the eye icon

You can remove a single item from the list by clicking on the delete icon in the corresponding row.

Or you can click the delete icon next to the 'Select Plates' button to remove all items in the list.

Once you have all of the plate added to the list you wish to move, click the 'Submit' button.

This will pop-up a dialog asking if you want to place manually or place using a placement strategy.

1. Placing Manually

If you choose 'Place Manually', you will be given a list of all of the pieces of equipment in your system. A piece of equipment will usually be a freezer but the app settings allow you to create any type of equipment. When placing manually you can override or ignore any capacity settings that have been applied to the equipment as well as any constraint regarding the type of container that can be placed.

You can filter the list by name.

After selecting a piece of equipment you will see a tree representing its current layout of containers. All plates must be placed in the same piece of equipment when placing manually.

You can expand sections of the tree by clicking on the arrows and once you have found the desired location to place the plate, click the name of the location and then click 'Submit'.

If you are placing more than one plate you will need to assign each plate to a location.

You can select locations to assign each plate by clicking on the location name in the tree. You can deselect locations by either clicking the name in the tree again or clicking the delete icon next to the location. As mentioned above, manually placement ignores capacity so multiple plates could be assigned to the same position.

Once all plates all been assigned locations, the 'Submit' button will become enabled so you can confirm the placement.

If the plates have already been placed in a location, it will confirm you want to move it.

After clicking 'Yes', you will be provided with the confirmation screen with links to both the plates and a data table listing the locations for each plate.

The placement list data table can be looked up later if when executing the tool you were not able to immediately place the plates in their physical locations.

2. Place Using a Placement Strategy

You can use Placement Strategies to enforce certain placement rules including setting a maximum capacity for specific locations. Placement Strategies define constraints regarding how certain types of aliquot containers such as plates can be placed in certain types of locations such as freezers.

When using a Placement Strategy, you can only choose a single strategy for the move operation. This means you must have created a placement strategy that applies to all of the types of plates you are trying to move. For example, if I'm trying to move a deep well plate and a box of tubes, I need to have a placement strategy that handles both of those types. Otherwise, you will receive this message:

If there are available Placement Strategies for the plate types you selected, then you can filter the available ones by name.

Once you select one and click 'Place Using Strategy', it will list all locations that have available capacity and automatically pick positions based on the rules defined in the Placement Strategy.

Unlike manual placement, using a strategy allows you to place multiple plates across multiple pieces of equipment. Additionally, it will not allow you to place plates in locations that are already occupied.

If the automated selection criteria are not selecting the position you want, you can filter positions by name and select different positions.

Before selecting a different position make sure to first uncheck the automatically selected position.

This will disable the 'Submit' button because you must select a position for all plates being placed being continuing.

If you "over-select" (select more positions than plates being placed), it will place the plates in the positions ordered by the position names. This can be useful if you are placing a large number of plates and want to specify a different set of locations within the strategy but don't want to have to check the exact number of checkboxes. Instead, you can filter by name and use the check all button to check all the positions and let the system place them automatically.

As with manual placement, the tool will warn if any of the plates are being moved from an existing location...

...and then provide you with the confirmation message:

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