Background: I study from a book that happens to have numerous errors, and they matter greatly especially in the chapter on IUPAC naming of compounds. I hope there was a service that'd enable to cross check those names without having to post a new question for every new compound.

Also note that while the usual chemists must be having this book, the latest IUPAC recommendations rule book is paywalled1 for the majority of the population -_-

What software there are to enable the user to draw a compound and get its name?

1: Yes I know the 1993 recommendations aren't paywalled, but they are too back in time to be very useful anyway

  • $\begingroup$ I posted a community wiki answer, and hope this to become a list of resources. I'm not sure if this is the best way to do it, so I welcome suggestions. This resource list would enable students like me to avoid googling and spending time trying to familiarize with pros and cons of each service, and get to the resource directly. Perhaps, even bookmark this page. Thanks for your time! $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Jan 7 '18 at 10:22



  1. ChemSpider Structure Search - intuitive UI. Not only does it let you get the IUPAC name, but it also gives you immediate access to various properties and other useful data for that compound.
  2. ChemDoodle - intuitive UI. But, there is a maximum number of compounds you can draw and you immediately get a paywall message after that (You have exceeded the maximum number of free transactions allowed. For unlimited access, please purchase ChemDoodle desktop for as little as $19.) Sad.

  3. Organic Chemistry Portal Structure Search - It uses the JSME by Bruno Bienfait and Peter Ertl.


Desktop software


  1. ACD/ChemSketch
    For newer versions (2016.1.1 or later), usually most results are in accordance with current IUPAC recommendations. However, the free version is limited to 50 atoms (H, C, N, P, O, S, F, Cl, Br, I, Li, Na, K) and three cycles.
    After you've drawn the compound, go to "Tools > Generate > Name for Compound" or press Ctrl+Shift+I.
  2. ChemAxon's MarvinSketch
    Current version (17.29) pretends to generate “preferred IUPAC names”; however, this is often not true.
    After you've drawn the compound, go to "Structure > Generate name". Also, "Structure > Name to structure" produces a structure from a name.


  1. ChemDraw
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    $\begingroup$ I wanted to put a short description for ChemDoodle but I just started using it today, so I can't explain it much. Can anyone fill in more details? $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Jan 7 '18 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ For some reason ChemDoodle's interface always reminded me of Tux Paint :) $\endgroup$ – andselisk Jan 7 '18 at 17:35

One should be aware that automatic name generation does not always choose the correct preferred IUPAC names.

That is not to say that this is a worthless pursuit, especially if your textbooks are following outdated or non-existent recommendations, which is a problem that crops up regularly on SE. However, the generated names should be taken with caution.

"Trust, but verify."

  • $\begingroup$ Oh! I didn't know that before. Maybe you could post an example or two as to what types of compounds happen to have this problem? $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Jan 7 '18 at 10:36
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    $\begingroup$ Recent question on HMDS $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Jan 7 '18 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ Oh! I just hope that simple aliphatic or aromatic hydrocarbons do not have the same problem. Thanks anyway! ^_^ $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Jan 7 '18 at 10:40
  • $\begingroup$ With relatively simple compounds you are probably unlikely to run into significant problems. Depending on the platform, though, there may be some small inconsistencies and that's where the CW answer comes in. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Jan 7 '18 at 10:49
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I agreed! :D $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Jan 7 '18 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ I found another hydrocarbon with this discrepancy... $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Jan 7 '18 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't consider that "relatively simple" anymore, I suppose. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Jan 7 '18 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I was only posting an example... $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Jan 7 '18 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ This was another question where different results from various programs caused some confusion (some comments are already deleted): IUPAC naming – choosing the main branch $\endgroup$ – Loong Jan 7 '18 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ This is another question where two different softwares are giving a different result: chemistry.stackexchange.com/q/90906/5026 $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Feb 24 '18 at 12:21

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