How to Insert Chemical Structures in MS Word

Written by julius vandersteen
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If you are a scientist, researcher or student, you may need to write a document that discusses chemicals. In some cases, it will be important for your readers to see images of chemical structures to illustrate a point. When you use Microsoft Word to create documents, you can insert chemical structures using the free add-in, Chemistry Add-In For Word, which was developed by Microsoft Research and the Unilever Centre for Molecular Science Informatics at the University of Cambridge.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Close all Word documents and quit Microsoft Word.

  2. 2

    Download Chemistry Add-In For Word. It will save as a compressed file.

  3. 3

    Double-click on the Chemistry Add-In For Word file to expand it. Open the folder and run "Setup.exe." Use the installation wizard to install Chemistry Add-In.

  4. 4

    Launch Word. The ribbon will now include a "Chemistry" tab.

  5. 5

    Open a document, or create a new one, that includes chemistry terms.

  6. 6

    Select a word or phrase, such as "benzene," and right-click it. Click "Mark as Chemistry" to create a "Chemistry Zone," which is a control that contains a selection of text. This adds Chemical Markup Language (CML) data for the chemical to the Word document, making it available for you to insert a 2-D chemical structure.

  7. 7

    Click "View" and select the chemical for which you want to insert a structure, and then click "2D." This inserts an image of the chemical structure into the Word document. Chemistry Add-In includes several hundred CML files. If it doesn't have a chemical you need, click "Load From" in the "Import" section of the ribbon, and then click "PubChem." Type the chemical name whose structure you need into the search box, and then click the magnifying glass icon to search for it on the Internet PubChem database. Click a search result, and then click "Import."

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