The make.shared command reads a list and group file or biom file and creates a .shared file as well as a rabund file for each group.

Inputting list data for multiple samples

The Amazonian data set actually represents sequences from two samples - one from soil collected at a pasture site and a rainforest site. Looking at the file amazon.groups you can see which sequences belong to the pasture and rainforest sites. There is no limit to the number of groups you can have.

mothur > make.shared(, group=amazon.groups)

or if you used a count file instead of a name file and group file:

mothur > make.table(name=amazon.names, group=amazon.groups)
mothur > cluster(phylip=98_sq_phylip_amazon.dist, count=amazon.count_table)
mothur > make.shared(, count=amazon.count_table)

or you can convert a count file to a shared file and list file where each representative sequence is placed in it’s own OTU. This is the same thing as generating a shared file of ASVs

mothur > make.shared(count=amazon.count_table, label=asv)

This command will generate a shared file.

Creating a shared file from a biom file

You can also convert a biom file to a shared file to import your data into mothur.

mothur > make.shared(biom=example.biom)

Converting a shared file to a “tidy” shared file

The “tidy” shared format is a 4 columns file, where each line consists of an abundance for a sample. For example:

label sample OTU abundance
0.03 F3D0 OTU01 10
0.03 F3D1 OTU01 5
0.05 F3D0 OTU01 8
0.05 F3D1 OTU01 3

You can generate a tidy shared file using the make.shared command as follows:

mothur > make.shared(shared=final.opti_mcc.shared)

To convert a tidy shared file to a standard shared file, run this:

mothur > make.shared(shared=final.opti_mcc.tshared)



There may only be a couple of lines in your OTU data that you are interested in summarizing. There are two options. You could: (i) manually delete the lines you aren’t interested in from you rabund, sabund, list, or shared file; (ii) or use the label option. If you only want to read in the data for the lines labeled unique, 0.03, 0.05 and

0.10 you would enter:

mothur > make.shared(list=98_sq_phylip_amazon.fn.list, group=amazon.groups, label=unique-0.03-0.05-0.10)


You can use the groups parameter to specify which groups you want included in your analysis:

mothur > make.shared(list=98_sq_phylip_amazon.fn.list, group=amazon.groups, groups=forest-pasture)


  • 1.22.0 Removed ordergroup parameter.
  • 1.25.0 added biom parameter
  • 1.28.0 added count parameter
  • 1.36.0 mothur no longer checks for biom matrix type to allow for more flexibility.
  • 1.36.0 rabund files are no longer outputted. mothur will create a rabund file with the get.rabund command.
  • 1.39.0 Eliminates zero abundance OTUs created by some floating point biom files converted to shared files.
  • 1.41.0 Adds count file to shared file option in make.shared command. #519
  • 1.42.0 Expands make.shared to allow for count files with no groups. #563
  • 1.42.0 Adds map file to make.shared output from count file. This mapping file can then be used with the rename.seqs command to modify the associated files. #583
  • 1.44.0 Adds list file output for make.shared with count table.
  • 1.45.0 Adds shared file conversion to make.shared #716