Circos > Documentation > Tutorials > Links > Twists
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# 5 — Links and Relationships

## 10. Ribbon Twists

A ribbon is drawn as a filled path. The corner vertices of the path are the start and end positions of the spans defined by the link.

```linkID chr1 start1 end1
linkID chr2 start2 end2
```

The ribbon path is drawn in this direction

``` >>  start1 >> end1 >> end2 >> start2 >>
|                                     |
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
```

Notice that the start positions of the link spans are connected by a path, and so are the end positions.

Therefore, depending on the orientation of the ideograms associated with the link, and the orientation of start/end coordinates, the ribbon may twist. The first example image in this tutorial shows how this twist happens.

### controling twist by ideogram orientation

One way to control the twisting of ribbons is to adjust the orientation of ideograms. This is particularly effective when you have links between ideogram pairs, shown in the second example image in this tutorial.

If your links are oriented in the same direction on both ideograms (i.e. start1>end1 and start2>end2), then ribbons will twist if orientation of ideograms is the same. This twisted visual representation, however, may be inappropriate because it suggests that there is an inversion. One way to untwist the ribbon is to adjust the orientation of the second ideogram

```chromosomes_reverse = hs2
```

### removing twist with "flat" parameter

If you want all your ribbons untwisted, regardless of ideogram orientation or their relative start/end positions, set the flat flag in the <link> block

```<link>
ribbon = yes
flat   = yes
...
```

With the flat flag set, any adjustment to ideogram progression and orientation will have no effect on the layout of the ribbons, which will always be drawn untwisted.

You can add the flat parameter individually to a link.

```linkID chr1 start1 end1 flat=yes
linkID chr2 start2 end2 flat=yes
```

### forcing twist with "twist" parameter

If you want all your ribbons twisted, regardless of ideogram orientation or their relative start/end positions, set the twist flag in the <link> block

```<link>
ribbon = yes
twist  = yes
...
```

Like for "flat", the "twist" flag renders any adjustment to ideogram progression and orientation independent of the twist appearance of ribbons, which will always be drawn twisted.

You can individually force a link to be drawn as a twisted ribbon by adding "twist" to the data file,

```linkID chr1 start1 end1 twist=yes
linkID chr2 start2 end2 twist=yes
```

### adding twist with inverted coordinates

The "flat" and "twist" flags specify the twist state for a ribbon. These parameters are useful when you want a particular twist state, regardless of the layout of the ideograms and their orientation.

Another way to incorporate twist is to define the link coordinates to be inverted. Thus, instead of

```linkID chr1 start1 end1
linkID chr2 start2 end2
```

you would define

```linkID chr1 end1 start1
linkID chr2 start2 end2
```

For example, instead of

```link1 hs1 10 20
link1 hs2 10 20
```

use

```link1 hs1 20 10
link1 hs2 10 20
```

Alternatively, if you want to keep your start coordinate always smaller than the end, you can use inverted=1, like this

```link1 hs1 10 20 inverted=1 # this inverts role of start/end for this span (now start=20 end=10)
link1 hs2 10 20
```

With the link coordinates implicitly defining the orientation of the link, the correct twist state will be drawn.