Frequently Asked Questions

ChemSketch (Freeware Specific Questions)

Important Notes

  • Download the software, and install to a separate folder than that of any commercial ACD/Labs products you may have.
  • Do not install to a folder containing:
    • Commercial ACD/Labs software
    • Previous versions of ACD/ChemSketch (e.g., version 5.0 or earlier)
      Note: it must, however, be installed to the same folder as ChemBasic Goodies, and our other ACD/Labs freeware
  • ACD/Labs does not provide technical support for freeware products.

Q: Can I read my old files created in earlier versions of ChemSketch freeware?

A: Yes. The new version of ChemSketch freeware still supports *.sk2 format.

Q: Can ChemSketch freeware version 5.0 read files created in later freeware versions?

A: Newer versions have some new tools for drawing specific objects. These new objects will not be seen in the earlier versions. For example, newer ChemSketch files with delocalized bonds, Markush structures, or polymer structures with brackets or an index, will open in ChemSketch 5.0 but the delocalized bonds disappear, Markush bonds do not show the connected atoms, and brackets and indexes in polymer structures are missing.

Q: When I click certain buttons, I receive a message informing me that the feature is only available in the full version of the software, or that it belongs to a different product. Why is that happening?

A: While releasing our freeware ChemSketch we purposefully did not alter the look of the product, so users could see the complete interface of the commercial version. As a result of this, a number of features are not functional in the freeware version (a brief overview of these features is available here). If you click More Info, you will be able to get a detailed review of the additional features and capabilities of the product.

Q: How do I draw an electron pair with ChemSketch?


  1. Draw a structure in Structure mode and switch to Draw mode. On the top toolbar, click Open Template Window. Choose the "Reaction Symbols" template. Click on the electron pair symbol. Your cursor will show the electron dots attached to the pointer. Each time you point at the molecule and click the left mouse button, a pair of electron dots will be drawn. When you are finished drawing electron dots, right click the mouse button.
  2. Draw a structure in Structure mode and switch to Draw mode. From the Template window, open the "Lewis Structures" template, where you can see a table with all possible images of electron pairs.

Q: In a nutshell, what is the difference between ACD/ChemSketch and ACD/ChemSketch Freeware?

A: Please review the table below for a brief overview.

Option Freeware Commercial
ACD/Dictionary - checkMark
Search for Structure in different computer files - checkMark
Restricted Version of ACD/ChemFolder (SDfile Viewer) - checkMark
Export to Adobe® PDF checkMark checkMark
ACD/Tautomers checkMark checkMark
ACD/Name Freeware checkMark checkMark
ACD/3D Viewer checkMark checkMark
ACD/I-Lab add-on for ACD/Labs Online checkMark
(must be installed seperately)
Instructions for Authors checkMark
(must be installed seperately)
Advanced drawing tools (polymers, Markush, reactions, etc.) checkMark checkMark
ACD/Labs Extension for ChemDraw - checkMark
Technical Support - checkMark

Q: My licensed ACD/Labs software won't run now that I've downloaded the freeware.

A: When the freeware is downloaded, it must be installed to a different folder than any other ACD/Labs software you have. You will have to re-install both items, but please ensure the licensed and free software items are in different folders.

Q: How do I remove the registration prompt on startup of the ACD/ChemSketch Freeware?

Q: Only buying the software will remove this prompt. Purchasing the ACD/ChemSketch software also provides technical support and access to the dictionary feature.