Macs in Chemistry

Insanely Great Science

Please complain

Since I wrote the brief review of ChemBioDraw 12 I’ve had several people contact me about problems they are having using the latest version under Snow Leopard. Whilst it is great to hear from you it would be MUCH better if you complained to CambridgeSoft. Like most companies they respond more quickly if they get multiple complaints. You can report issues on their user forum here. Has anyone tried using Open Office?

Update seems like a similar problem using OpenOffice

Below is a list of issues taken from the forum, it would be very helpful if you could let them know your concerns.

In our experience, in combination with Mac OS X 10.6, ChemDraw 12 exhibits certain undesirable features.

Firstly, if you double click a ChemDraw document, the application will open, but the document will not.

Secondly, pasting ChemDraw pictures into Pages/Keynote is totally hosed. Paste a ChemDraw 12 picture into Pages and it will be super-sized and clipped. You can avoid this problem by checking the "Add PDF to Clipboard" option in the ChemDraw 12 preferences, but this breaks round-trip editing. The older version of ChemDraw (Version 11) performs, at best, erratically with Pages and Keynote under 10.6 and is, basically, unusable. Version 10 is also hosed.

Finally, ChemDraw 12 and Word 2004 don't get along particularly well either. The problem is more obscure. Basically, if a drawing contains structure and ANY text, it will display and print correctly and be round-trip editable. If it contains only drawing and NO text, it will look and print like crap but still be round-trip editable. I am not sure this is a major issue as most people will have some text in their drawing, but if you don't, here is a way to fix it. Simply place a single character in a text box and colour it white. It is now invisible (if you are printing on a white background !) and all is well in the world of copy and paste. Amusingly, this problem does not exist if you use ChemDraw Pro 10.0.3, so much for progress.

Incidentally, some limited testing reveals that this problem does not exist with Word 2008, but round-trip editing is still very much broken.

So here is what I think is the executive summary of what works and does not work:

1. ChemDraw 12 has a problem with Apple Pages and Keynote on Snow Leopard. It may be OK on Leopard, but my life is too short to waste my time trying. You can fix the problem by including a PDF version of the drawing in the pasted image, but this breaks the ability to recover and edit the drawing from Pages/Keynote later.

2. ChemDraw 11 hates Apple Pages and Keynote on Snow Leopard even more than ChemDraw 12.

3. ChemDraw 11 and Word 2004 are OK on Snow Leopard.

4. ChemDraw 12 and Word 2004 are OK on Snow Leopard as long as you have text in the picture.

The work arounds described above will work for Word 2004 and for Pages/Keynote, the "Add PDF" work around will help even if it breaks round-trip editing. In my experience, holding your breath for Cambridgesoft to fix any of this will result in asphyxiation.
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