Sapling Learning > Drawing Molecules: Shortcut Keys

Document created by Digital Support on Jan 25, 2017Last modified by Digital Support on Oct 3, 2017
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The molecule drawing module has several shortcut keys available to make drawing molecules faster and easier. Hold down any of these keys and then click an atom for the indicated action.
- or _Decrease the charge of the clicked atom.
For example, - and click decreases the charge on that atom to -1, then -2, etc.
= or +Increase the charge of the clicked atom.
For example, + and click increases the charge on that atom to +1, then +2, etc.
; or :Add a lone pair of electrons to the clicked atom.
. or >Add a single (radical) electron to the clicked atom.
O, N, C, P, S, F, I, R, X,
L (for Cl), B (for Br), A (for Ar)
Change element symbol.
Hold down the letter key while clicking an atom with your mouse.
delete or backspaceDeletes the selected atoms and bonds (use the black arrow tool to select).
hOrganic chemistry mode only: 
Add a hydrogen atom to the clicked atom, to produce species such as CH2.
shift+hOrganic chemistry mode only: 
Remove a hydrogen atom from the clicked atom.
5 and 6Organic chemistry mode only: 
Add 5 and 6 membered rings


Other tips and tricks

  • Double-click on any atom and type the desired element symbol. This can be faster than selecting the symbol on the periodic table in the tools menu.
  • The black arrow button in the tools menu will let you select and move atoms or groups of atoms.
  • The button that looks like two red arrows will undo all your changes and reset the question to how it was originally. This can be useful if you are given a structure to modify, and you accidentally delete it.
  • If available, the ring tool is very handy for adding 5-carbon or 6-carbon rings. The red outline indicates where the new ring will be located when you click. The red outline turns black when you position it close to another ring, which indicates that the two rings will be connected. If you press the right or left arrow key on your keyboard, the outline will rotate in 30-degree increments.
  • You can make series of connected rings, then delete a portion of the atoms to quickly create a long carbon chain. Select the atoms using the black arrow tool, then press the delete or backspace key on your keyboard.


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