1.4 Chemical Structure Drawing Programs

  1. ChemDraw – requires subscription and download
    1. Basic drawing package: http://www.cambridgesoft.com/Ensemble_for_Chemistry/ChemDraw/ChemDrawPrime/Default.aspx
    2. Free Trial Windows: http://scistore.cambridgesoft.com/ScistoreProductPage.aspx?ItemID=8186
    3. Free Trial Mac: http://scistore.cambridgesoft.com/ScistoreProductPage.aspx?ItemID=8185
  2. ChemDoodle – requires purchase and download
    1. https://www.chemdoodle.com/
    2. Free Trial: https://www.chemdoodle.com/free-trial/
  3. ChemSketch – requires purchase and download
    1. http://www.acdlabs.com/products/draw_nom/draw/chemsketch/
    2. Free Trial at above link
  4. BIOVIA Draw – free for academic use
    1. http://accelrys.com/products/collaborative-science/biovia-draw/draw-no-fee.php
  5. ChemSketch Freeware - free for academic and personal use, requires registration and download:
    1. http://www.acdlabs.com/resources/freeware/chemsketch/

Other significant options (although they may not be as fully-fledged as the previous ones):

6-KnowItAll Academic edition - free for academics, requires registration and download:


7-MarvinBeans - some part sort of the product including MarvinSketch are free to use:


8-JSME - open source (BSD license):


9-JChemPaint - open source (LGLP license):


10- Bioeclipse - open source (EPL license):


b.Note: it is more than a drawing program but it does support molecule edition

For online use, one may want to check:

11-Xemistry Web Sketcher:


12-JSME demo page:


An always nice and updated comparison is the one from Dr. Tamas Gunda at:


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Comments 4

Alex Williams (not verified) | Mon, 09/28/2015 - 23:46
In my pet molecule project at centre, where I had to explain a total synthesis of a large molecule, I really enjoyed the features of chemdraw. Primarily due to the integration with SciFinder. Being able to search in app via certain reactions is a godsend for anyone writing a large paper. Also, thanks for the link to Accelrys, I hadn't heard of that product before.

Leah Rae McEwen | Tue, 09/29/2015 - 18:37
Thanks, Alex. We are just updgrading our ChemDraw subscription to be able to connect in with SciFinder. I'd be interested to hear more about your experience with this off-list, my direct email is <a href="mailto:lrm1@cornell.edu">lrm1@cornell.edu</a>. Thanks to Jordi for several of these links. Very happy to keep adding to this list.

Herman Bergwerf | Wed, 09/30/2015 - 03:02
You might have read about my pet project: <a href="http://molview.org">http://molview.org</a> (free/open-source). Currently it only has integrations for PDB, PubChem and the Crystallography Open Database (you can also use the Resolver to create 3D structures from 2D structures). However, I want to add a lot of improvements soon and the sketcher will also get new features. I would really appreciate it if you share your experience from other drawing tools (like the ones listed in this module), so I can make the MolView sketcher as user-friendly as possible.