I am aware that software such as ChemDraw, ChemDoodle or MarvinSketch can be used to draw skeletal formulas and the like. But what can I use to draw (in a similarly professional way) reaction schemes, including the skeletal formulas, arrows, reagents/conditions above the arrows etc. such as

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ I think there's a question on it, see this page. $\endgroup$ – Zenix Apr 9 '20 at 20:43

You can do all of what you stated on ChemDraw.

Skeletal drawings using the appropriate tools on the sidebar, and for text, there's a box where you can type in reagents and superscript/subscript letters. The same box which you would use to add a different element too (I think, can't access ChemDraw just now to double-check sorry).

For neatness, there is the align tool to make the reagents and reaction arrow look uniform (as well as align the arrow with the reactants/products).

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, not sure why I couldn't find these features. $\endgroup$ – Nick_2440 Apr 9 '20 at 20:49

Yes you can draw schemes like the one in your question with them. In no particular order of importance:

  • For one, it is a matter of knowing what the programs may offer and choosing your tools accordingly. A side-by-side comparison (e.g., this one) may help for this. Equally, it is helpful to test programs listed (e.g., here) for their improvment since last time of consultation. Don't hesitate to test programs with a different philosophy than the mainstream ones (e.g., winplt) you may see in the working group across the aisle.

  • Familiarize yourself with the documentation of the software. Chemdoodle's manual is more than 300 p., replicate Chemdraw tutorials like the ones by Pierre Morrieux / ChemdrawWizzard (e.g., here). Then, test them with own examples, draw the same molecules with either of them to spot similarities and differences.

    You equally may use more than one program, too. As e.g., the .mol2 format is a widely understood format, you could build the molecules in question with the SMILES string from a database in one program, and save the intermediate in this format. Subsequently, you may finalize drawing and exporting the image as .pdf in an other.

  • Often, it is a matter of style, litteraly. Journals have their style sheets (e.g., JACS & Org. Lett. differ from Synthesis, or Helvetica Chimica Acta, or RSC). Of course you may use these standards even if you don't publish now in these.

    Equally, working groups may have, sometimes inherited / influenced from the PI's time as a post-doc, their style adjusted bond widths, fonts, colors. So you recognize quickly e.g. Nicolaou's highlighting cyclic systems. Or the systematic color scheme used in Kurti / Czako «Strategic Applications of Named Reactions in Organic Synthesis» (a review) to guide the reader about reagents, bonds formed, etc. pp. You may define a personalized style file as well.


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