Pr4 UG mi Introduction

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Protege 4 User's Guide
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This guide describes how to use Protege 4 to create, edit, and inspect ontologies. It contains some background material and links to information on topics such as ontology creation and the OWL dialects, but it is not intended to act as a reference on these topics.

The guide is constructed as a set of wiki pages, allowing developers and users to contribute material, improve descriptions, etc. This should also allow the guide to track Protege 4's evolution over the coming years.

Note: If you're not sure whether (and why) you need Protege 4, be sure to spend some time on the Selection page.

Getting Started

As a new user of Protege 4, you'll need to learn:

  • concepts and vocabulary
  • how to use the program

This guide attempts to assist with both of these challenges, but you should expect some level of confusion at first.

Concepts and Vocabulary

Most of the concepts and vocabulary you'll encounter are based on ontologies in general and OWL in particular. However, even if you are conversant with OWL-based ontologies, you'll need to learn about Protege 4's tools, user interface, etc.

Rather than define concepts each time they appear on a page, the guide makes heavy use of Glossary entries. So, if you're not sure how a term should be interpreted, click the link and browse the supporting material. In fact, keeping an open browser tab or window for the Glossary may be quite handy.

Some background chapters (Overviews, Concepts, User Interface) provide abstract coverage of background information. You may want to skim these, making sure that you have a rough understanding of the material they contain.

Program Usage

The best way to get started in using Protege is to load and play with an example such as the Pizza Ontology. This is far less challenging than defining a new ontology! The Startup page may be helpful here.

If you need help performing a particular task, see if there is a relevant HowTo. If there isn't, you might want to start a stub page with anything you learn...

As you use the program, you may need information on a specific aspect of the program (eg, a particular menu, plugin, tab, or view). The corresponding reference chapters (Menus, Plugins, Tabs, Views) exist as a place to collect this information.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the features, layout, and typical content of each type of reference page. If you discover something interesting about a specific aspect of the program, make a note on the appropriate reference page!

Finally, look over the other Miscellany pages, noting the kinds of information they contain. Once you are feeling comfortable, pick a task and dive in!

As you proceed, feel free to revisit the introductory and reference pages. Over time, you should find yourself using the introductory material less and the reference material more.


The guide's pages contain a large number of inter-page links, aiding navigation between closely-related topics. In addition, a navigation panel sits at the right-hand side of each page; use this to get to sibling pages, etc. Finally, some handy global links (eg, editing) sit at the top of each page.

How you can help

This guide will never be "complete": there will always be bugs to be found, details to be filled in, and explanations to be clarified. You can help in this process, as discussed below.

Questions and comments

Please post questions and comments about this guide and/or the Protege 4 editor to the Protege 4 feedback mailing list.

Edits and Additions

Edits and additions are welcomed, but please make sure you are following the structure and style of the guide. See the Colophon, Conventions, Editing, and Feedback pages for more information.

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