Explore by Substance

You will be provided with a structure to synthesize
and after its synthesis you will characterize it
spectroscopically. I was provided with
tryptophan methyl ester -

Using Scifinder we will first learn a bit about our organic compound. Under the Explore tab three main types of searching are listed: Reference, Substance and Reaction. Searching Scifinder by Substance is the most efficient way of obtaining complete information. It leads to a search of over 68 million organic and inorganic compounds. This number is continuously being updated. Substance searching starts with the compound and links to references (published research articles, patents, etc.) and their content (properties, synthesis, reactions, etc.), commercial sources for purchasing, legislation, safety, etc.

Introduction to substance searching   This self-paced tutorial is an overview of how to conduct Substance searches, e.g searching using substance identifiers, chemical structure, Markush, molecular formula, and property.


Chemical Structure searching is the search strategy used most often by chemists.

Introduction to the Scifinder Drawing Editor  This tool is complex, but with practice it will become easier. After using the Drawing Editor a bit, then learn:

How to input Structures Using the Drawing Editor including (1) a structure that you may have drawn in another drawing application, or (2) automatically draw a structure by starting with a CAS Registry Number or SMILES or InChI string - a video

How to Search for Chemical Compounds Using a Structure Search, scroll down and watch the video video.

How to set drawing preferences, customize common atoms palette, and create templates, a self-paced tutorial.


Markush is a procedure for describing a compound class using generic notations. It is mainly used in patents. This section is not directly related to your class, but if it interests you, be my guest.

Property Structure is covered in the top right hand box of this page. Molecular formula searching retrieves information on a substance based on the molecular formula provided. This was covered in substance searching.

Explore by Reaction Structure

Searching for reactions is another option. Start with the Introduction to Reaction Searching and How to Draw Reactions tutorials and then move on to learning

Draw Reactions - Apply variables and shortcuts. Assign reaction sites and map atoms.

If you are ambitious, then you can learn how to use the SciPlanner to plan your synthesis within Scifinder. Sciplanner is a fairly new feature of Scifinder. Plan a Synthesis Project.

Explore by Property

The link below provides a good tutorial for finding property data in Scifinder. If you prefer a video, here is one, Understand Substance Details and scroll to the bottom. As you can see by the title it includes a few other topics.

Explore by Reference

Reference searching is probably what you are most familiar with. With Scifinder searching using Boolean logic is NOT suggested. Instead Scifinder searching is based on natural language searching. Very simply, you just type in two or three concepts using prepositions and/or articles to connect the concepts. To learn more about the basics of reference searching watch the self-paced tutorial Introduction to Reference Searching.  Additional tutorials for you to explore -


Save and Combine Search Results Scroll down to the second video.

Create a Keep Me Posted (KMP) Alert - Create alerts, set frequency and duration, and request email notification.

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