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BKChem is an open source 2D molecule editor written in Python. It has a wealth of features but is simple to use.

 BKChem 0.13.0

Free to download



Beda Kosata


System Requirements
Python 2.5 or higher

FAQ, Wiki, YouTube, Savannah Project Page

Selected Reviews:

Features include:

  • Drawing:
    • Bond-by-bond drawing
    • Bond lenght and angle restrictions to assist with the drawing
    • Ready to use templates of common rings
    • Ability to expand common groups from abbreviated to structural form
    • Support for linear formulas (such as -CH2CH(COOCH3)2)
    • Radicals, charges...
    • Arrows (several types - normal, retro, equilibrium, etc.)
    • Rich text
    • Color support
    • Simple vector graphics (rectangles, circles, polygons etc)
  • Editing:
    • Unlimited undo and redo capabilities
    • Aligning
    • Scaling
    • Rotation (2D, 3D)
    • Aligning of molecules so that particular bond is horizontal/vertical
    • Rotation of molecular fragments around bonds (conformation changes)
    • Definition of personal preferred drawing style (bond lenghts, widths, colors...)
  • Export:
    • SVG (native data are transparently embedded into SVG file), OpenOffice Draw format, ODF (OpenOffice 2.0) format, Encapsulated PostScript, and PDF
    • Basic support for both CML1 and CML2
    • Molfiles
    • Generation of SMILES
  • Import:
    • Basic support for both CML1 and CML2
    • Molfiles
    • SMILES (subset)
    • INChI (subset)
  • Localization support (currently English, French, Czech, Polish, German and Traditional Chinese translations are available)
  • XML based
  • Validity checking of drawn structures
  • Support for user written plugins. A BKChem plugin in general consists of two main parts: a short XML file describing the plugin, and a Python script that represents the actual code
  • Support for user written batch scripts
  • Searching for BKChem files containing specified molecules or molecule fragment

BKChem in action

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Last Updated Saturday, August 30 2014 @ 05:04 PM EDT

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