I am learning Chemistry now, and I want to take some notes that involve huge amount of organic chemistry on Mac. How can I do that? Pages does not seem support scientific use.

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    $\begingroup$ Please elaborate a little bit more what you want to accomplish. For example tanking notes would be easily accomplished by any word processing program. More difficult is setting mathematical formulas or chemical reaction equations. Going to organic chemistry and explaining reaction mechanisms is maybe also something you might want to consider. There is a huge variety of programs on the market - most likely you will have to use a combination of more than one. (Unfortunately I have little experience with apple.) $\endgroup$ May 14, 2014 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin Advices taken. Thanks for your wisdom! $\endgroup$ May 14, 2014 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ @AveMaleficum Simply lay a sheet of paper on top of your Mac and apply a pencil. $\endgroup$ May 14, 2014 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ You might also consider one of those digital pens. You write on a piece of paper, but the pen tracks its own motions and whatever you write is transferred to your computer in real time. You still have to write on paper, but you get the digital note immediately. I know nothing of how well these pens actually work, though, but it might be worth checking. $\endgroup$
    – Yoda
    May 14, 2014 at 16:27

4 Answers 4


If you know LaTeX and you want to see what you are writing you can use lyx, and some TeX package like mhchem and chemfig. So you can write all the things you want and add comments. This is what I have done with my Mac just now: enter image description here Here is the code, you can make these lines as a default template:


From here you have to write! The date is automatically added!

\title{Introduction to chemistry notes}
You know that \ce{ CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2H2O}     this is a simple equation\ldots
Okay maybe you can do this with word, but if you are familiar with Chemistry S.E. you will be very fast with this notation.

<=>[\ce{+ 2OH-}][\ce{+ 2H+}]
$\underset{\text{amphoteres Hydroxid}}{\ce{Zn(OH)2 v}}$
<=>C[+2OH-][{+ 2H+}]

\subscheme[90]{\chemfig{*6((-[@{a1}]H_2@{a2}\Lewis{26,N})=[@{r1}]-[@{r2}]=[@{b2}](-[@{b1}]N =[@{c1}] N -[@{c2}]*6(=[@{d1}]-[@{d2}] =[@{e1}](-[@{e2}] OH)-=-))-=-=)}\chemrel{<->}
\chemmove[-stealth,shorten <=1pt, shorten >=1pt]{%
    \draw(a2)..controls +(90:5mm) and +(135:5mm)..(a1);% first arrow
    \draw(r1)..controls +(225:12mm) and +(300:12mm)..(r2);% ring arrow
    \draw(b2)..controls +(10:3mm)..(b1);% ring arrow 
    \draw(c1)..controls +(340:8mm)..(c2);% ring arrow 
    \draw(d1)..controls +(225:12mm) and +(300:12mm)..(d2);% ring arrow
    \draw(e1)..controls +(20:4mm)..(e2);% ring arrow  
\chemfig{*6((=[@{a1}]H_2@{a2}\chemabove{N}{\oplus})-[@{r1}]=[@{r2}]-[@{b2}](=[@{b1}]N-[@{c1}] N =[@{c2}]*6(-[@{d1}]=[@{d2}] -[@{e1}](=[@{e2}] \chemabove{O}{\ominus}H)-=-))-=--)}
\caption{This is a coniguated system\ldots}
Okay the lesson will end and in one hour you'll draw this figure only, maybe you should use an external software\ldots %what the professor means whit this last phrase?! 

Sincerely I think that is best to take handwrite notes because I think that writing and drawing chemical formula allow you to memorize better but of course this is only a thought.

  • $\begingroup$ Pencil and paper is the god, but I think taking notes using LaTeX also have some benefits.You will be more familiar with LaTeX. $\endgroup$ May 14, 2014 at 13:23
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    $\begingroup$ @AveMaleficum Yes, furthermore you can collaborate with other students to create lecture notes... $\endgroup$
    – G M
    May 14, 2014 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ @AveMaleficum If you're able to 'keep-up' with typesetting your notes in real-time then I must bow before you. That would be an amazing feat. $\endgroup$ May 14, 2014 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ @LordStryker yes, but I think to draw chemical structure with LaTeX in "real-time" you need at least one year of training! $\endgroup$
    – G M
    May 14, 2014 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Martin chemfig has a good documentation you can scroll down until you see what you are interested in copy the example and edit it according to your needs. Recently I'm trying to create an Avogadro plugin to export directly from 3d structure 2d chemfig structures using python terminal but I've just begin to explore the functions I don't know if it is feasible... $\endgroup$
    – G M
    May 14, 2014 at 15:21

My wife used ChemDraw when she was in grad school and teaching. http://www.cambridgesoft.com/Ensemble_for_Chemistry/ChemDraw/Default.aspx


As one answer already recommends, ChemDraw is pretty good. But you should also look at ChemDoodle (which also has tablet/phone versions): https://www.chemdoodle.com/

Whether packages like this are good enough for live notes is up to you to decide, but they are clearly good enough to produce good, well formatted, publication-quality output.


Try Avogadro http://avogadro.cc/wiki/Get_Avogadro

It's an advanced molecule editor and visualizer designed for cross-platform use in computational chemistry, molecular modeling, bioinformatics, materials science, and related areas. It offers flexible high quality rendering and a powerful plugin architecture.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't see how Avogadro is going to help someone take notes in a lecture... $\endgroup$
    – bon
    Dec 16, 2016 at 14:52

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