I am in need of a program that: 1) visualizes bracket-format trees into images; 2) allows modification of the tree structure on that image; 3) modifications on the image will be automatically reflected in the bracket-format trees.

Now there is a program written in javascript that does step 1, but not the other 2 steps. I wonder if anyone knows a software that can do all 3 steps.

The bracketed tree look like this:

[S [NP Trump][VP [V likes][NP Twitter]]]

The visualization using that program looks like this:

tree visualization

The reason I wanted this program is that, when the tree gets very complicated, it's very hard to modify the brackted tree because there are too many brackets to keep track of.

So the main thing I want is to be able to modify the tree in the visualization (say change "likes" to "hates") and the change is reflected in the bracketed format because that will later be processed for other purposes.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

1 Answer 1


After some search, I found two programs that have such functionality:

  1. the ETE toolkit, a python package: http://etetoolkit.org/. One can visualize trees in a GUI and modify them. The default tree is shown left to right, i.e. root at the left, leaves on the right, but it can be easily turned to other orientation. The trees need to be in the Newwick format, e.g.: ((D,F)E,(B,H)B)

See their doc: http://etetoolkit.org/docs/latest/tutorial/tutorial_trees.html#reading-and-writing-newick-trees

The problem is that it cannot edit multiple trees from a list; you can only load one tree at a time. Also, there might be problems loading non-ascii trees, depending on the version ETE and python you are using.

  1. syntree tool: http://syntree.github.io/source.html. It is programmed specifically for modifying trees and has multiple functionalities. So this would be the preferred tool if you are working with a lot of syntactic trees, e.g. building a treebank.

Note: In the end, we didn't use any of such tools. We used a text editor + Stanford tregex tool. The text editor is for modifying trees, which are presented in multiple lines for easy viewing:

    [NP Trump]
        [V likes]
        [NP Twitter]

The Stanford tregex is used for visualization of trees so we can check whether we've made the right corrections. This turns out to be pretty decent and easy to learn.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.