Microsoft Word is a great tool for writing and formatting text for your academics. Writing chemical reaction and associated symbols in word like various kinds of arrows in Word as easy (like in LaTeX) but what if you want to insert a chemistry formula or diagram of a molecule?. You know how difficult it is to draw them using Shapes available in Ms Word. Chemical structure are not supported by Ms Word straight out of the box.
There are tons of paid and free software like ChemSketch etc. in the market that facilitates drawing chemical structure. But no one comes close to Chem4Word in ease of drawing and speed. Whats more, this software integrates seamlessly with Ms Word.
This software is available as plugin. This free plugin adds support for entering and editing chemistry symbols, diagrams, and formulas using intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI). Be it a simple molecule like water or little complex molecule like “Benzene” ring to a very complicated molecule like “sildenafil citrate”, drawing its chemical structure is very easy.
The Chemistry Add-In for Microsoft Word is a chemistry-aware add-in for Microsoft Word which is sponsored and supported by the .NET Foundation. Microsoft Research and Drs. Peter Murray-Rust and Joe Townsend of the University of Cambridge’s Unilever Centre for Molecular Science Informatics initially developed the open source Chem4Word project. The two organizations assigned the project to the Outercurve Foundation in February 2011.
Features of Chem4Word
The Chem4Word add-in allows the user to interact with chemistry in a document as follows
- Edit / draw your structures using an embedded open source chemical structure editor called ChemDoodle Web Sketcher.
- Edit textual descriptors for a structure.
- Import chemical structures from web services such as PubChem and Opsin.
- Import files in CML or MDL Molfile format.
- Export drawn or imported structures in CML or MDL Molfile format. You can use this option to copy drawings to other documents of share them with colleagues
The Chem4Word add-in stores the chemical structures as Chemical Mark-up Language (CML) in the aforementioned Custom XML Parts then renders the structure inside a Custom Control using Drawing ML. The Chem4Word add-in also allows the user to depict the structure by one of its textual descriptors. When you edit a chemistry structure and save the results, all of its linked visualizations are also updated.
Installing Chem4Word plugin in Ms Word.
This plugin requires the following
- Ms Office: Office 2010, Office 2013 or Office 2016.
- Operating System: Windows 7 or later.
- All operating systems must have the latest Windows updates installed.
- NET Framework 4.5.2 (You can download it for free from https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/download/details.aspx?id=42642, may requires windows restart )
- Download Chem4word Plugin from for free from here
- Run Chem4Word-Setup.exe : This will automatically download and install the require prerequisite / software like
a. Visual Studio Tool for office run time
b. Chemistry Add-in for Microsoft word.
If you do all the steps correctly, then you should see chemistry Ribbon in you Ms Word.
Draw chemical structure in Word
The process to insert/draw chemical structure is really simple. Inside Chemistry tab, you will find option to Draw, navigate or import.
Navigate chemical structure
After installing plugin, your database will be pre-populated with some molecules. If the molecule that you want to draw, is available in offline database of this plugin, you can directly use it. Navigation base looks some thing like this
It allows you to draw any chemical symbols from easy to use and intuitive GUI as shown in figure below. You can draw simple as well as complex molecule. But this is not the recommend this way of drawing chemical structure. Because 99.9% of all the chemical structure are available in library. Be it a simple molecule like water to little complex like Benzene to a very complex molecule like paracetamol or Sildenafil Citrate. Structure of all these molecules could be imported.
Import chemical structure
If the molecule that you want to draw is not available in offline database / Navigate pannel, then you can import it online. You can draw chemical structure of molecule by importing structure from the following three online database.
- PubChem Database
- ChEBI Database
- Opsin Database
To import just click on Import and then select any one of the following database and type the desired molecule in search bar. I just tried to draw chemical structure of “sildenafil citrate” molecule and I just got it on the fly using import option.
Draw chemical structure
If you are writing chemistry articles in Ms Word and need a tool to draw chemical structure then Chem4Word is the one stop solutions. Using this plugin you will never need to spend you precious time in tedious work of drawing chemical structures.