The ChemSpider team at the Royal Society of Chemistry is proud to announce that our new look ChemSpider website has been launched. As discussed in our last post one of the key features of this new design is to make ChemSpider work on as many devices (from desktops to mobile phones).


The ChemSpider homepage as it might appear on a desktop computer (left) and a mobile phone (right)

As the screenshots above illustrate, the difference in size, shape and the method of interacting with the page means the view of the website that you need is very different between devices. The nature of a responsive website design also means that some of the screenshots that we provide might be a little different from the view that you see when accessing the  site, however the variances should be clear. We hope this results in an experience where usability and readability are not sacrificed for functionality.


What has changed? … and what has stayed the same?

To start with the things that have stayed the same: ChemSpider is still based on the same quality-data and provides mechanisms for users to supply and curate data. We also haven’t changed how the search queries work, so searches that you ran previously should still return the same results.

The key changes


1. The new page header

We’ve moved all of the old menu items into a bar at the very top of every page (1), we also display a search bar just above the main page content (2). On smaller displays you will see icons for the Quick search box, Sign In and Help items, all other options can be found under the ‘hamburger’ symbol (3).

New layout of the ChemSpider site header.

Comparison of the ChemSpider page header on large and small screens

2. Shorter record pages

One of the biggest challenges of making ChemSpider work on a mobile is how to display all of the information that we have on a much smaller screen. I think that our solution will actually make ChemSpider better for everyone – regardless of how they view the site.

Previously, a ChemSpider record was one big long page that had basic details about the chemical structure at the top of the page, followed by a number of infoboxes that could be opened or closed and also re-ordered. This worked fine in most cases but led to situations where you had to do lots of scrolling up and down, and might not be able to spot the infobox that you were looking for. Now, we still show some information about the chemical structure at the top of the page (1) but, below that there is a single pane (2) which contains tabs (3) that allow you to select the section of the record that you wish to display. This means that it is always easy to look at some information and see the structure to which it relates.


The new page layout consists of a Compound header (1) and a Pane (2) diplaying the contents of the infotabs (3)

3. No Java, No worries


Many browsers are no-longer support Java applets – good Java-free versions of chemistry tools have really started to take off in the last 18 months and the time was right to start the switch over. This means that the site now incorporates JSmol – enabling 3D  structure view, CIF viewer and NMR/IR/MS spectra display as well as Ketcher and Elemental for structure input/editing.

4. Structure searches simplified

Previously, creating a structure search was a bit of a pain as you had to: open the structure editor in a pop-up, draw your structure, and then save it back into the searches pages – now our structure editors are embedded into the interface, cutting down the number of steps needed to get to your results and making it easier to tweak searches.

One particularly useful feature for anyone accessing the site on a tablet or mobile phone is the Convert Structure tab which can be used to load in a complex structure as a basis for a search, for instance using “dibenzylamine” in the structure conversion gives a structure that can be quickly elaborated to the Simpkins’ chiral base precursor amine shown in the the screenshot.


What’s next?

Hold on a moment there! We’ve only just got all of these great features into the site! I’m joking, but we will be spending time tweaking and perfecting the new design. We will then be able to focus on further development, if I were to speculate – I’d suggest that we will look at more (non-Java) tools that can be incorporated into the site to give a better experience, and new methods of improving the quality of data in our records.

In the meantime, please explore the site and do email us at to let us know what you think of the new site.

Stumble it!

13 Responses to “Introduction to the new ChemSpider website”

  1. Peter Bladon says:

    What has happened to the SMILES string and INCHI ?????

  2. Susan Richardson says:

    Click the box labeled “More Details”. The SMILES and InChI will be there, along with the systematic name and citation information.

  3. HyunKyung Ju says:

    Good afternoon.

    It isn’t showed “Draw Structure editor”

    Please let you know me how to “Draw Structure editor”

    Thank you.

  4. David says:

    I’m afraid it isn’t clear exactly what issue you are having with the Structure editor – they should just be displayed on the structure search page when you open it. If you are still having problems, I would suggest that you email us with more details of the problem that you are experiencing.

  5. Robert Bywater says:

    It all looks good.


    1. Small item (typo): “Many browsers are no-longer support Java applets” <<>> “Many browsers no-longer support Java applets”
    2. I need to be able to get a SMILES string and also a MOLDES string ( for my compounds. Generally, the PRODRG server (link just supplied) is a very useful resource for chemists.
    3. I have earlier tried to get ChemSpider to “revive” the SynGen program ( but no response yet. This program works out the number of synthetic pathways to your compound and tells you what they are. Very useful. But no longer active, regrettably.

  6. Brinda says:

    How to analyse LCMS/MS RESULTS USING ONLY MOLECULAR WEIGHT ONLY? Presently we have done Lcms/ms studies after hydro alcoholic extraction for the phytochemicals. please let me know how to proceed for in silico studies as only molecular weight is revealed after the lcms studies due to the absence of library.

  7. Sachin Ambetkar says:

    One of our client is interested in purchasing your software .He is interested in extractable and leachable application and want to understand do we have their application related library like Polymeric compounds

  8. Susan Richardson says:

    Thank you for contacting us. ChemSpider is designed to handle small molecules with defined structures. Because of this, our database cannot store information on polymers.

  9. Mike Carrington says:

    Hi, Bit of an odd request. I have set up Moodle for the Chemistry students at Hills Road 6th Form College in Cambridge, UK. Some of the chemistry question types require additional uploads to the website. This has all worked fine, except for one question type that requires MarvinJS AND OpenBabel. Marvin wasn’t a problem, but I don’t know how to install OpenBabel in the correct location. I wondered if anyone could point me in the right direction. Incidentally, the server is Centos 6.8.

  10. Byron says:

    Is this site compatible with Windows 10 and further, is it compatible with the Edge browser?

  11. Susan Richardson says:

    The site is compatible with all major modern browsers. I can confirm that it works on Windows 10, and in Microsoft Edge.

  12. Jim says:

    I can no longer see structures on the web-site; nor can I access the structure drawing program I have tried IE and google Chrome.

  13. Susan Richardson says:

    This is most likely due to either javascript being turned off on your computer, or a permissions issue with your organisation’s firewall. If you could try the site from your mobile phone or home computer, this should tell you if the problem is related to your work computer or firewall.

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