Chemtool: Open-source Chemical Structure drawing program

Chemtool: Open-source Chemical Structure drawing program

Chemtool is a lightweight application for drawing chemical structures like organic molecules. It's originally written by Thomas Volk from Germany. Later on, more developers came to aid for development and code maintenance.

Chemtool (src. Chemtool)


1- Drawing chemical bonds

It features creating several bond types as follows:

  • a single bond
  • a double bond (with one line shorter than the other)
  • a double bond (having the shorter line on the opposite side)
  • a centered double bond
  • a triple bond (with the flanking lines shorter than the center)
  • a wedge-shaped bond
  • a dashed wedge-shaped bond
  • a wavy line
  • a dashed wide line
  • a half arrow
  • an arrow
  • a wide bond
  • a circle
  • a dotted line
  • a single bond that 'cuts out' a segment from any bond it crosses
  • a triple bond (with equal line lengths)
  • a quadruple bond
  • a light (unfilled) pi orbital lobe
  • a dark pi orbital lobe

2- Rings: Semiautomatic drawing of rings

3- Text tool;
Text can be written and inserted into any selected position with ease. It also can set into any chosen position and aligned (right, left and middle) to the drawing.

4- Drawing tools: moving, rotating, flipping and scaling

5- Printing;

Chemtool supports printing service through the default popular Linux printing services. It uses GhostScript and support any Postscript-capable printing device.

6- Templates

Predefined templates are another great feature for Chemtool. Users can set and save their templates for re-use later on.

7- Importing from PDB file format and OpenBabel.

8- Shortcuts: Chemtool offers handy shortcuts which makes it super productive.

9- Exporting to multiple formats:

  1. X bitmap,
  2. encapsulated PostScript (with optional preview image included)
  3. SVG,
  4. XFig,
  5. MDL molfile,
  6. PicTeX,
  7. PNG,
  8. EMF metafile,
  9. OpenOffice SXD drawing
  10. any chemical file format supported by OpenBabel (if that is installed)


Chemtool on NextStep (src. Chemtool)

The program is created for Linux X systems, it does not work on Windows or macOS.


Chemtool is released under GNU General Public License.

Open-source Apps


Medical Apps




Dev. Resources