Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Software Reviews

Cambridge Chemistry
by Jean Vaumoron

Drawing programs such as Corel Draw are becoming more and more efficient and can be used for many tasks. At least if you have the patience... and are only considering producing a single drawing for an article or illustrating a newsletter. 

Professionals who edit articles for scientific magazines generally do not use fancy programs for the text itself. They rely almost exclusively on safe workhorses such as WordPerfect or Word, which are readily available to most authors. When it comes to drawings though, the software gets a lot more involved. 

Chem Draw 1 In the chemical field, for example, editors must be able to insert into the text neatly drawn figures, formulae and reactions. The drawing skills necessary to produce these works of art are out of reach of most computer users and they have to be replaced by specialized tools which do all the calculations for you. A good example is ChemDraw, the de facto standard chemical structure drawing program manufactured by CambridgeSoft (more information at Usable in both Mac and PC platforms, it can save you a lot of time and produce absolutely perfect drawings with minimum work. ChemDraw has a proprietary file format but also exports through .wmf files into any text environment. 

Chen Draw 2 The basics can be learned in a few hours, and its intuitive approach is quite impressive. You can almost draw freehand and yet everything just falls into place. All the basic shapes such as benzene rings, and all kinds of chemical links and chemical symbols are available from the tool bar. All drawings can be modified and integrated into chemical equations. 

Although these first steps are already impressive, the program can take you much further with the use of molecular modeling, search engines for instant access to huge databases of ready- drawn chemicals, each with a list of their physical properties and lots more, ... but you need to have the finances of a chemical firm if you hope to tap all their resources! 

Bottom Line:

Proprietary package from CambridgeSoft
Web site:

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