Getting Started with MacVector

Any molecular biologist should be able to start getting useful results within an hour of starting to use MacVector by just exploring the toolbar and menus. Everything is logically named to be obvious. However, there’s still a lot of functionality that a user will never know exists. That is unless you read the manual or the help pages and we all know nobody does that any more!
This blog post shows all the different resources we have available to help you get the most of MacVector.

But before you read the following resources, please always remember that the MacVector Support Team is only ever an email away. We will always reply back within a working day, generally much quicker than that! There is no such thing as a stupid or trivial question and we genuinely enjoy hearing from users. Even if you just want to tell us about your work, and ask how MacVector can help!

Before you proceed watch this video on how to directly download a sequence into MacVector from the Entrez database. It’s always better to learn with your own sequences!

Getting Started guide

The first document that any user should turn to is Getting Started with MacVector. This document is geared for both new users and those who already use MacVector and introduces you to the new functions and features in recent versions.


In the documentation folder right in MacVector you will find some PDF tutorials. All these tutorials work using sequence files that you will find directly in the “Tutorial Files” section of the MacVector application folder.

Up to date tutorials are always available on our website

How Do I? Menu

New to MacVector 17 is a menu with access to short videos and step by step guides to many common workflows.

Screenshot 2019 07 02 at 12 52 38

Every tool’s dialog also has a direct link to a video/guide on how to use that tool.

MacVector Help

For specific and up to date information turn to the MacVector Help directly within the MacVector Application itself.

Weekly tips email newsletter

We have a short weekly email with tips on using MacVector. Most of the tips are answers to questions that have recently been asked by users. We think that if someone has a question about it, then others probably do too! We will never forward your information on to a third party and you are able to easily unsubscribe from these emails.
Every email is meant to be read in a few minutes or quickly skipped if it is not relevant. They rarely have more than three short paragraphs.
Here are some past posts.

101 tips

These blog posts show short tips into MacVector’s functionality.


Sometimes a video is more instructional than text. There are short video tips on using MacVectoron our blog and our YouTube channel
These cover subjects as diverse as adding primers to the Primer database, or aligning large sequencing reads datasets against a genome. Each one is less than 2 minutes and generally shorter than that!
The latest screencasts include showing Missing Features on unannotated sequences, searching for sequences in the Entrez database checking the orientation of a ligated insert using MacVector’s Restriction Digest and Agarose Gel tools.


We will come and run real live workshops for your research group or institute. Email MacVector Support to find out about workshops in your area.


The documentation folder in the MacVector application folder (Finder Window> Applications > MacVector > Documentation); as well as our website contains many excellent resources:


  • The MacVector 16.0 Workshop Manual is geared for those who already use MacVector and introduces you to the new functions and features in MV 10.0 through 16.0. It is still useful if you are not very familiar with any version of MacVector.
  • The latest version of the full MacVector User Guide, MV 12.6 (July, 2012) is available in PDF format. This is the most recent edition of the User Guide. We update the User Guide every couple of years.

What’s New in MacVector

Here’s a list of all new features over the many versions.

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