Histology FAQ

Staining, Histochemistry and Histotechnology

(Frequently Asked Questions)


Dr. John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London, Canada



FAQ Home > Sectioning, Slide Adhesive, Mounting

Labeling slides


Have you any suggestions for labels that could be used during the staining process that would still be legible and won't come off in xylene?


(a) For slides with a frosted end: Use an ordinary (graphite) pencil. After coverslipping cover the pencil with a thin layer of clear nail polish or diluted (1:5 in toluene or similar) mounting medium.

(b) For plain slides, use a diamond-tip pencil directly on the glass. This is very permanent, but it's more trouble than frosted slides - something of an art, especially if you need to write quite a lot on each slide.

With both methods there's a risk of getting BITS (of either graphite powder or ground glass) on the sections. Graphite is worse, because it's black. It's therfore a good idea to put a piece of paper over most of the slide for protection while you're writing on the end.

John A. Kiernan,
Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
The University of Western Ontario,
LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1