Chemical dictionary

I'm mildly dyslexic, and spell check is my friend. So I'm very grateful to azmanam (a blogger and an organic chemistry professor at a liberal arts university) for creating the Chemical Dictionary. It's an add-in file for Microsoft Word (or OpenOffice) that adds 104,662 words to your spell checker.

Thus, the autocorrect feature will stop trying to change your UV absorbance into an absorbency, and  phenolphthalein  will only have the wavy red underline when you type it incorrectly. Spell check actually becomes useful for chemistry papers. J Chem Ed had a brief article on this resource, so I think a lot more people are becoming aware of this resource.

One of the really great things about this is that its constructed by scientists for scientists. The earlier version allowed users to suggest new additions, so a lot of people from various fields contributed to the current dictionary. This really has made typing up chemistry papers much easier.


Microsoft actually did something I whole-heartedly like. Partnering with a group at the University of Cambridge, they're made Chem4Word a Word add-in for chemists. You know how there are "ribbons" for Home, Insert, View, etc at the top of Word 2007 and Word 2010? If you install this file, it adds a Chemistry ribbon that converts names to formulas to 2-D structures with a single button click.

The program only comes with 8 default molecules but can add anything in their IUPAC name parsing program (opsin). So it will find ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, but not EDTA. It also claims to be able to search the National Institutes of Health PubChem, but that never works for me. Searches the work fine on Pubchem, like cisplatin or BHT give errors in Chem4Word.  So if you need to include hydrocortisone in document, you can go to ChemSpider get the IUPAC name, then add it to your Word gallery. It's a pain, but not as much of a pain as drawing hydrocortisone by hand. And once it's added it's available in all your documents.

Once you've got the molecule, you can modify charges, rotate the structure, add isotopic labels etc. It's not nearly as sophisticated as ChemDraw, but it's not trying to be. It is a quick and easy way of inserting 2-D structures, names and formulas into a Word document. See an advertising video here.