The A – Z Guide To ELNs


An Electronic Lab Notebook or ELN, the widely-adopted and most competent digital platform, has eased laboratory work by leaps and bounds and brought about revolutionary changes by offering seamless workflows, templates, and quick report generation capabilities. It has made the research activities for the scientists and researchers a breeze like never before! 

Do you need to narrow down your choices or incorporate your group members into the experiment? A quality ELN will make the process easygoing. 

But to obtain the best out of the program, you have to earn comprehensive knowledge and choose the best solution wisely.

To assist you in getting in-depth knowledge, I am offering here a quick guide. 

Electronic Lab Notebooks

Definition of an ELN

An ELN or Electronic Laboratory Notebook is a digital program specially designed for offering a comprehensive and quick workflow, detailed reporting system, convenient collaboration, and making analysis automated and paperless.

It is essentially a triumphant system coming with configurable features to comply with a laboratory’s requirements specialising in:

  • Optimising the process
  • Updating the regulatory compliance
  • Improving data quality and storage
  • Lowering labour expense
  • Improving delivery time
  • Expanding information distribution and teamwork

ELN Best Features

Choosing the fittest ELN might seem tricky, especially when you have a handful of choices.

To make the best buying decision, ensure you gather knowledge about the features software should include:


The first and foremost feature an ELN should come with is to secure the information you store, archive it, and extract when necessary. 


Another essential feature of a quality Electronic Notebook is to maintain the users’ confidentiality. The provider must safeguard the data from unauthorised users, encrypt it and come with a regulatory agreement. 


The requirements of each lab are unique. Hence, the ELN you select should be flexible enough to enable or customise a feature. A quality program provides the facility to incorporate text, pictures, charts, and even integration with the lab instruments to load the data straight from the device!


An ELN must feature two-step authentication, preserve user identity, and offer authenticity through different migration schemes. 


An ELN must restrict unauthorised sign-in and unwanted extracting or removing your valuable data. Hence, an ELN must feature a comprehensive version control to ensure secure research data preservation, distribution, and removal. 

Why Are ELNs Essential?

As I have already mentioned, Electronic Lab Notebooks come with various surpassing benefits that make them an integral part of any laboratory, no matter if it is a clinical or a quality assurance lab. 

Let’s get an in-depth overview of why you need it NOW! 

  • If you have to organise your lab inventory efficiently, there is no alternative to employ an Electronic Lab Notebook. It offers the users convenient and handy means to keep the information saved securely, tagged, and organised categorically.
  • Do not worry when you require the experiment reports or sheets of long ago. Thanks to the easy searchability of the ELNs that lets users type the title and get the document within no time!
  • Another dominant power of a quality ELN is that it enables users to summarise and produce reports promptly! Using an ELN, you can now collect and edit scientific data conveniently and generate reports automatically!
  • In laboratory activities, scientists frequently require to share the experiment reports and data. Thanks to the modern ELN that allows the team to share the data among themselves. If you require a convenient data sharing facility among multiple users simultaneously, there is no better and hassle-free choice than a quality ELN. 
  • Switch to Cloud-based ELN tools that allow the users smooth accessibility with any device: no matter you are signing in with the laboratory computer, your smartphone, or tablet. 
  • Do you require a hassle-free approach for upgrading or maintaining the software? Count on employing this cloud-based software without a second thought. The fees you are paying for its license include auto-upgrade, maintenance, administering, etc. 

How Does An ELN Work?

Let’s get into how an ELN operates: 

  • All Electronic Lab Notebooks offers its users dedicated login IDs. After logging in, it provides you with a text processor for picking notes with formatting facilities. You can also export documents from Microsoft Word and vice versa and edit them conveniently.
  • It also comes with a spreadsheet tool that enables researchers to produce tables, run the calculations, and incorporate Excel data.
  • The protocol templates permit the partners to collaborate and utilise the templates while executing the same workflow.

ELN Data Storage and Security

Are you concerned about the confidential information you are saving in your ELN online tool about your research schemes? Do not worry. I am offering here the storage methods and the protection a quality ELN offers. 

Data Storage

While Employing an ELN system, you have two options for storing data: 

The cloud-hosted ELNs

ELNs usually store data on a cloud-based centralised system offering the following benefits:

  • Involves no infrastructural cost 
  • The provider offers the required maintenance, updates, and management.
  • It comes with excellent reliability and uptime. 

The disadvantages are:

  • The user depends on the provider for data protection
  • A multi-tenant structure

Private-cloud System

If you require a more secure cloud-based solution, go with an ELN that offers an on-premises server setup. 

The facilities:

  • A private server is used for your laboratory solely.
  • You own the control over the protection measures and settings.

The disadvantages:

  • Costly approach
  • Requires sophisticated infrastructure setup

No matter which data storage process you adopt, you can store them by integrating with the database and find the stored data effortlessly, searching by keywords.

How Do ELNs Secure Data?

Safeguarding the experimental reports and results of any laboratory is vital. Let’s have a glimpse at how an ELN secures information to avoid vulnerability. 

  • According to the FDA guidelines, an ELN must have ISO certification and be compatible with 21 CFR Part11 to comply with the FDA lab standards.
  • An FDA regulated Electronic Lab Notebook employs a closed system to safeguard your information against unwanted access.
  • It enables time stamping incorporating audit trials that cannot be removed or edited.
  • ELNs verify the identity of a user through electronic signature and restrain scammers from entering confidential documents.
  • ELNs offer data retrieval, data backup, and dedicated IDs allocated to all files to ensure protection and avoid data loss. 

Cost of an ELN

ELNs, being adopted by almost all scientific, academic, and process laboratories worldwide, come at a very affordable price. A quality ELN software may cost you around £8-£15

ELNs Successfully Superseding Paper-based Lab Works

Yes, ELNs are quickly replacing the paper-based manual lab activities. 

  • The reproducibility of an ELN has made it a significant part of any lab. Researchers now can go for a less time-killing and precise process by utilising convenient tools for data tracing and using previous works. 
  • Losing essential information is a big threat in the manual process. The method of recording data digitally has enabled labs to avoid data loss. 
  • If you require a quick and error-free approach to your analysis, there is no alternative to digitise the lab operations by adopting ELN software. 

The Best ELN Software

Are you searching for the best Electronic Lab Notebook that can take your laboratory to the cutting-edge, boosting its productivity exponentially? There is no better choice than the Expemlar Seamless by the Sapio Sciences.

It is the ultimate ELN software appreciated and adopted by renowned researchers and scientists for its surpassing features:

  • Exemplar ELN is a web-based program that requires no software installation or infrastructure on-site.
  • Easy to use and incorporate in research works
  • Compatible with any device: PC, smartphone, or tablet
  • Easily accessible from almost all browsers
  • Enables ANY number of researchers to work on the same workflow concurrently.
  • Features discussion threads and integrated chat options
  • Offers integration with LIMS for easy searchability of both structured and unstructured data

Wrap Up

An Electronic Lab Notebook boosts productivity, automates laboratory activities, and offers an accurate reporting system through its excelling specialties and analytical capacity. The in-depth overview I have gathered would help you comprehend the program and make the best decision. 

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