Chemistry in Word

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Microsoft Research has a Word add-in for chemists.

Chemistry add-in for Word is a way to “to insert and modify chemical information, such as labels, formulas and 2-D depictions, from within Microsoft Office Word”

For chemistry novices, go to the Chemistry Gallery and drop into a document some common chemicals – say Water and Testosterone. They appear as 2D images but click on the View button and you can switch the view to a short formula (eg H2O), the common name (“Testosterone”) and other labels.

The Chemistry Navigator shows all the chemicals listed in the document.

Chemistry add-in for Word - sample screen and navigator image from Chemistry in Word at Office-Watch.com

There are facilities to edit the 2D structures as well and the labels for a chemical. The add-in uses the Chemistry Markup Language to define chemicals which means details from other sources can be imported into a Word document.

Though the add-in is only for Word, you can paste content made with the add-in to other programs – for example a PowerPoint presentation.  A 2D chemical representation will appear elsewhere as an image.  Other elements are pasted as equations.

Initial download is 8.8MB but you may have to download other components like the Visual Studios of Office 3.0 runtime module.

Chemistry add-in for Word is compatible with Word 2007 and Word 2010 Release Candidate 1 (though we’ve used it on the currently available public beta Word 2010 32-bit edition).

After installation you’ll see a ‘Publisher cannot be verified’ warning as you start Word – as long as you downloaded directly from Microsoft.com you can ignore this warning.

There’s a useful users guide available separately.

Office-Watch.com knows about Word and Office – but our knowledge of chemistry is limited to sprinkling NaCl and not putting lumps of sodium into water. We’d love to hear from chemists or chemistry students about how useful the ‘Chemistry Add-in for Word’ really is – use our feedback page.

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