The interactive visualization of very large macromolecular complexes on the web is becoming a challenging problem as experimental techniques advance at an unprecedented rate and deliver structures of increasing size.


We have tackled this problem by developing highly memory-efficient and scalable extensions for the NGL WebGL-based molecular viewer and by using Macromolecular Transmission Format (MMTF), a binary and compressed MMTF. These enable NGL to download and render molecular complexes with millions of atoms interactively on desktop computers and smartphones alike, making it a tool of choice for web-based molecular visualization in research and education.

Availability and implementation

The source code is freely available under the MIT license at and distributed on NPM ( MMTF-JavaScript encoders and decoders are available at

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