I often see molecules depicted using ChemDraw with all or selected bonds visibly thicker than those used with the style defined with ACS-1996 template. For example, see the PDF handouts for Baran's laboratory group seminars created with ChemDraw, for instance, Biotech: A High Stakes Table for Science (Garrido-Castro, 2022) (PDF):

Illustration from Baran's GM

Another example would be an illustration produced in Meng et al. [1]:

Intermediate in molecular recognition-enabled remote C–H oxidation (Crabtree)

Where can I find the relevant parameters for the bond thickness control in ChemDraw?


  1. Meng, G.; Lam, N. Y. S.; Lucas, E. L.; Saint-Denis, T. G.; Verma, P.; Chekshin, N.; Yu, J.-Q. Achieving Site-Selectivity for C–H Activation Processes Based on Distance and Geometry: A Carpenter’s Approach. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142 (24), 10571–10591. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c04074.
  • $\begingroup$ Did you try "File -> Document Settings … -> Drawing" to set your own value, or "File -> Apply Document Settings from" to use a predefined one? $\endgroup$
    – Loong
    Commented Mar 4, 2023 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


ChemDraw stores styles as *.cds files (while templates, about structures, glass ware, etc as *.ctp). They are in a binary format Windows stores in a folder of .../ChemOffice20XX/ChemDraw/ChemDrawItems with a varying string of ChemOffice20XX - depending on the version of ChemDraw installed.

Anyone can create a style file from scratch. Or can adjusting one already provided (ACS, RCS, ...) by ChemDraw and save it as a new style. Phil Baran's choice to use a non-serif font Arial (?) but bold arguably is not that unique. It equally is seen for example in the retrosynthesis books by Warren and Wyatt, or in Classics in Total Synthesis by Nicolaou and Snyder. Hence, if you want a formula similar like

enter image description here

and don't get in touch with any of the authors / the author's groups mentioned, you can play with the parameters similar to the ones the .gif outlines below.

enter image description here

I think there is a recommendation to cite references on chemistry.se in the pattern of ACS journals, but do not recall if there equally is dedicated "use this (or any other specific) style to format structure formulae" rule here. Hence it is not surprising, authors on chemistry.se use a style a sketcher offers by default, which is not too personalized.

Book references:

Warren, S.; Wyatt, P. Organic Synthesis: The Disconnection Approach. Wiley, 2008, ISBN 978-0-470-71236-8 (link to the publisher's landing page).

Nicolaou, K. C.; Snyder S. A. Classics in Total Synthesis II: More Targets, Strategies, Methods. Wiley, 2003, ISBN 978-3-527-30684-8 (link to the publisher's landing page).


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