Introduction to getting Help

ChemSpider is a powerful tool for finding chemical information: we have lots of different types of information and a rich selection of search tools. We have tried to make the database as intuitive to use as possible, but please bear in mind that sometimes ChemSpider might work differently as compared to other tools that you might use.

On this help page we will help you navigate your way to a solution. Please browse the Help topics listed below which describes how to find information in ChemSpider. If you have a specific problem you may also find the Frequently Asked Questions page helpful.

Also watch out for the symbol. wherever you see this icon click on it and you will find some specific help text relating to that part of the page.

Help Topics

Introduction to ChemSpider





Chemical Editors

At this time ChemSpider supports two embedded chemical structure editors. Please see the software manufacturer’s websites for up-to-date help resources.

Getting more help

If none of the above help pages (Or the FAQs) solve your problem/answer your question please contact us by email ( and we will be happy to help.

Don’t forget you can also view more on the RSC YouTube account (ChemSpider Videos Playlist)



An InChI (IUPAC International Chemical Identifier) is a string of characters capable of uniquely representing a chemical substance. It is derived from a structural representation of that substance in a way designed to be independent of the way that the structure was drawn therefore ensuring that a compound will always produce the same identifier. InChI is fast becoming adopted by cheminformaticians around the world as a flexible structure exchange format. For further details about InChI please refer to the Unofficial InChI FAQ page or the InChI Trust.


SMILES (Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry System) is a line notation for entering and representing chemical structures and reactions. SMILES contains the same information as an extended connection table and is very compact relative to other methods of representing chemical structures. A fuller description may be found in the Wikipedia page for Simplified_molecular-input_line-entry_system. For details regarding SMILES strings please refer to the SMILES Tutorial.


We use the name infobox to describe the containers for the information that is displayed in a ChemSpider record. For example, all of the information about Names, synonyms and identifiers, is displayed in Names and Identifiers Infobox. The infoboxes can be expanded and collapsed by clicking anywhere in the title bar of the infobox. ChemSpider will remember which boxes you have expanded (and collapsed) and will use these preferences for all future visits. Similarly, you can re-order the Infoboxes, just click (and hold) on the titlebar of an infobox, and drag it up or down the page – this means that you can customise ChemSpider to place the information that is most relevant to your work at the top of the record.

Data Source

ChemSpider aggregates information from a wide variety of Data Sources. A Data source is simply an individual or organisation that has contributed data to ChemSpider. A datasource can be a Chemical Vendor, a Database, a Research Group or an Individual. Some may contribute useful data to ChemSpider in the the form of spectra, measured experimental properties, images, literature references, etc. In some cases the Datasource may only provide an identifier for some information held on their own system (and hopefully a URL link too) – If you look in the Data Sources infobox you will see a listing of all the Data Sources and the relevant Identifers you can use these to get to lots more useful information at the Data Source.