The Home panel contains all common tasks such as model loading / saving, image export, basic editing functions, and controls to change the general view appearance and camera position.

Home Panel

File Group

File Group


Shortcut: Ctrl-N

Create a new, empty model


Shortcut: Ctrl-O

Load an existing model from disk. Long-pressing shows the recent files menu.


Shortcut: Ctrl-S

Saves the current model, overwriting its existing file. Long-pressing allows access to any filter Options that are available for the current file save format.

Save As

Shortcut: Ctrl-Shift-S

Saves the current model under a different filename.


Shortcut: Ctrl-W

Closes the current model, saving any changes first to the existing file (or, optionally, a new file if no there is no existing filename).


The Session button allows access to Session control, loading and saving. A 'session' represents all the data currently loaded and displayed in Aten, including models, forcefields, grids etc. Clearing the session will remove all loaded data, and return Aten to a state resembling a fresh start-up. Session files (*.asf) can be Loaded and Saved to allow quick return to a set of seecific models, views etc. See the topic on Sessions for a more in-depth description of the data contained in a session, and exactly what is saved in asf files.

Export Image

Allows export of the current (potentially multiple-model) view to an image of arbitrary size. Long-pressing allows the current view to be copied to the clipboard - the resulting image will have dimensions corresponding to those of the Main View.

Aten also has a 'snapshot' function - pressing F12 at any time will save an image of the current view in the size and format specified in the Export Image popup. These files are named Aten-Snapshot-YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM-SS.??? and are placed in the current working directory.

Export Film

Raises the Export Film dialog, allowing a movie of the current model and/or its trajectory to be saved. See the Export Film section for more information.


The Aten button provides access to various program-related functions / options, including the main program Preferences. Here it is also possible to store the default size and position of the main window, along with the visibility of the Model List and Atom List.

Edit Group

Edit Group


Shortcut: Ctrl-X

Copy and remove the current atom selection


Shortcut: Ctrl-C

Copy the current atom selection


Shortcut: Ctrl-V

Paste the last copied atom selection at their original coordinates


Shortcut: Ctrl-Delete

Delete the current atom selection


Shortcut: Ctrl-Z

Undo the last performed action


Shortcut: Ctrl-Shift-Z

Redo the last performed action

Appearance Group

Appearance Group

Drawing Style

Shortcut: F1 - F5

The top row of five Drawing Style icons affects the global appearance of all models, showing them as (left to right) 'stick', 'tube', 'sphere', 'scaled sphere', and 'individual' styles. The latter renders each atom according to its locally-set style (which defaults to 'stick') and which can be modified through the Selection panel.

Colour Scheme

Shortcut: Ctrl-F1 - Ctrl-F5

While the top row of five icons affects drawing style, the bottom row affects the atom Colour Scheme used. Left to right these are: 'element', 'charge', 'force', 'velocity', and 'custom'. The 'element' style colours atoms according to the colours set for elements in the Preferences, while the 'charge', 'force', and 'velocity' options colour according to the relevant atomic property and the associated Colourscale in the Preferences. The final option, 'custom', colours each atom according to its locally-set colour, which defaults to that corresponding to its element, but which may be changed through the Selection panel.


Toggles between perspective and orthographic displays for all models

Show All

Shortcut: Ctrl-Shift-H

Un-hides any previously-hidden atoms in the current model.

View Group

View Group


Shortcut: Ctrl-R

Resets the view of the current model to the default, looking straight along negative-Z, with X left-to-right and Y bottom-to-top. Long-pressing shows additional view orientations along cartesian and cell axes that may be set.

Get / Set

Copies (Get) and applies (Set) the view from / to the current model, and can be used to apply specific view orientations from one model to another.


Shortcut: F8

Toggles detection and display of hydrogen bond-type interactions. The appearance of the H-bond 'dots' can be changed in the Preferences window.


Each model has its own independent view, unless the Lock button is enabled in which case all models will share the same view matrix - changing the view in one model will be immediately reflected in the views of all others.


Shortcut: F11 (single-shot)

When displaying transparent surfaces of gridded data it is likely that rendering artefacts in the surface will appear since the transparent triangles which make up the surface will be drawn in the wrong order (i.e. not back-to-front). Enabling the Correct option will regenerate the grid surface at the end of every view manipulation, correcting for the view rotation and removing transparency artefacts.