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ChemBioDraw Roundtrip Editing

CambridgeSoft have posted an update on the forum thread regarding the cut and paste issues affecting ChemBioDraw and I quote the text in full here and I’ve added a link to the compatibility page.

When copying a structure in ChemDraw 12.0.1 and below, the ChemDraw application would put a PICT of the image on the clipboard. We embedded chemical information into the PICT image, so that when that PICT image was transferred back into ChemDraw, the ChemDraw application would be able to interpret the picture as a chemically meaningful object that could be edited by ChemDraw. Due to continued modernizations in the Mac OS, newer applications are no longer supporting the PICT format on the clipboard. In newer applications, the use of PDFs to transfer copied images is now what is expected. This is why round trip editing between ChemDraw 12.0.1 and below and MS Office 2008 applications as well as iWorks applications ceased to work.

CambridgeSoft has made changes to ChemDraw 12.0.2, so that instead of using the now unsupported PICT format, we now place the chemical information into the PDF that gets placed on the clipboard when copying a structure in ChemDraw. The application that this PDF gets pasted into now needs to handle the PDF correctly, such that the chemical information is not stripped.
Apple has this working with the latest version of Keynote. They are working towards getting the other iWorks applications to also support the expected PDF with the chemical information, so round trip editing can happen in more than Keynote. Microsoft is also actively pursuing a solution that will allow Microsoft Office documents to handle the chemical information in the PDF. Currently the chemical information is being stripped from the PDF by MS Office 2008 applications, such that what remains is just a picture, and not something that can be edited by ChemDraw.

If you have older MS Office Mac documents and open them in the current version of MS Office for the Mac, you will find that the structures can no longer be edited (they are just pictures) for the reasons above. You will find the same problem if you try to transfer an MS Office 2008 document to Windows or if you open any Windows MS Office document in MS Office 2008 for the Mac. You would either need to use MS Office 2004 for the Mac or redraw the structure in ChemDraw and save a copy of the redrawn structure as a ChemDraw file for editing at a later time.

We will continue to update our
Compatibility page on the Support site as new information becomes available.

We encourage all 12.0 users to upgrade to 12.0.2


Whilst it is welcome news that progress is being made it still requires other applications to be updated and it is not clear whether the new version of Office due for release any week now will support chemical information embedded in PDF. If you are still using Office 2004 it sounds like it might be better not to upgrade since it looks like you will lose exchange via PICT format.

UPDATE CambridgeSoft now report that version 12.0.2 copies both PDF and PICT to the clipboard so Office 2004 users should still be able to upgrade.

If anyone has set ups where they can experiment with the different applications and provide feedback I’m sure others would be interested.
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