How to get a list of all KEGG ko terms vs names?

How to get a list of all KEGG ko terms vs names?


I want to map a list of KEGG terms with their corresponding names. Is it possible to get a list of all KEGG terms and their descriptions/names?






I am not sure if you already figured it out, but,
I know two easy ways of getting KO names/descriptions and use them afterwards to map their names to the respective KO IDs.

1 – The elegant way: Get title

  • If you happen to have a list of KOs, you can map their names using
    the lower field at “KO (KEGG ORTHOLOGY) Database” page
    (; enter your IDs (separated by
    either new lines, spaces, or both) and click “Get title”:

get KOs title

  • This opens a new browser tab with the KOs description/names:

get KOs title 2

2 – The not-so-elegant way: Copy from page

  • If you wish to get all the descriptions/names from once, open the “KEGG
    Orthology (KO)” link in the “KO (KEGG ORTHOLOGY) Database” page
    get KOs title 3

  • Click in the rightmost arrow at top of the list (wait the
    complete page load):
    get KOs title 4

  • Then copy everything! it may lag a litle because the page is a bit heavy (55k+ lines, currently)
    get KOs title 5

  • Now you can paste in a text file (in my example I used notepad++, but any
    other text editor should work):

get KOs title 6

  • Save as tab-delimited file or any other usefull format and get
    whichever description you want.


1 – Avoid using excel IF you are not REALLY sure excel won’t mess up the entered data.
If you are REALLY sure it is ok, you can open the file as a speadsheet and use it as a database in formulas like VLOOKUP to map the descriptions to any KOs list you have (comment if you need me to show you how).

2 – In unix systems, you can easily get the description from the text file using grep, awk, sed, etc. This is much better if you wanna map the descriptions within a script/pipeline/program, etc.

I’m glad if this answer helps anyone.

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