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Topic Title: Mac and Chemdraw
Topic Summary: A summary of testing and options
Created On: 11/12/2009 9:26 AM
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 11/12/2009 9:26 AM
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jpb

Posts: 11
Joined: 9/6/2009

I am starting a new thread in order to elicit comments about the Mac version of ChemDraw. I have seen lots of comments about this on these forums, but I would like to take a different approach. In particular, I would like to outline where I think we are on this issue. It will be a long post and at the outset I tell you that I have been a beta tester for Cambridge ChemDraw products for a number of years. I have also talked with developers of other software, specifically about their experience providing products on the Mac platform. What I hear is that Apple is notorious for making changes between the final final-candidate release and the official release of a new OS or OS update. Some of these changes have dramatically affected the developers’ software at the last minute. I don’t know if that is what happened in Cambridge’s case on the Snow Leopard release. We are all also aware of the Microsoft attitude toward the Apple platform. But I also think that Cambridge could be more transparent about the issues they are facing as new releases are put forward.

With that as background, I am going to describe some testing I have done this morning. I have a 2.4 GHz Core Duo iMac as my home desktop, a new Macbook Pro laptop, and an older iMac on my desk at work (college professor). I am running Snow Leopard (10.6.2) on all three machines. On all of these I use ChemDraw and MS Office products. I have not spent much time with Pages or Keynote.

On one of my machines I have copies of Office 2004, 11.5.6 (henceforth termed Office 11) and Office 2008, 12.2.3 (Office 12). I also have copies of ChemDraw 8 std (CD8), ChemOffice Ultra 2008, 11.0.503 (CD 11), and ChemOffice Utra 2010, 12.0.767 (CD 12). I have played a little with the interoperability of the SD products with the Office products, particularly looking at the issue of editing structures. I have the following observations:

1. CD8 and Office 11 play nicely together. You can edit structures back and forth. However, with Office 12, the images pasted into Word from CD are not further editable; they have become picture files. (Unfortunately CD8 crashes for me if you try to save a file under Snow Leopard).
2. CD11 behaves like CD8 – it works with Office 11 but not office 12.
3. CD12 behaves likewise – it works with Office 11 but not Office 12.
4. Office 11 is prone to crashes in Snow leopard.

If you recall, between Office 11 and Office 12, Microsoft removed the ability to use macros or to embed metafiles. (This causes problems for me when I get files from students or colleagues which have macros or metafiles embedded in them.) It is my suspicion that these have been important for the editability of CD images pasted into Office products. I have heard rumors (whether true or not I do not know) that MS will reinstate that capability in the next full update – but at the rate they move that could be 2 years away☹.

Now I would like to hear on this thread from two audiences.

1. From readers I would like to hear if my observations are the same as yours, if you can provide additional information about other editions of the ChemDraw products, and what your current experience is with the iWork products (Pages and Keynote).

2. From Cambridge, I would like to hear a little more information about whether the embedded macros and/or metafiles is the issue with the interoperability with Office products; if so, a case number on which we can all comment in a unified way to Microsoft; and a clear statement about what your intentions are in this matter. Are you actively working on it, or waiting on Microsoft? Is it a team approach, or one guy working in the back room? Your customer base deserves to know so they can plan. And please, in the future do not release a new version when you know a new OS is on the verge of release, and make known limitations clearer in your marketing to Mac users!! Frankly, it makes you look incompetent or unconcerned about the user base when you wait until after the software has been purchased and people start complaining.
 11/18/2009 12:58 PM
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jpb

Posts: 11
Joined: 9/6/2009

Another test. I am finding that some of the "save as" image formats behave strangely in CD 12. For example, if you compare the gif file output to that from CD 11, it is really poor. The png seems fine. And the PICT saves as file.pct, which also occurs from CD 11. This format is not recognized by something like Preview or Dreamweaver. I find the gif problem to be serious in 12 as I frequently use gifs for we page development. Back to 11.
 9/10/2010 3:52 PM
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CS Talbot

Posts: 97
Joined: 2/26/2009

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 only using the now unsupported PICT format, we also 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.

ChemDraw 12.0.2 is a free download for all 12.0 ChemDraw Mac customers. The download is available on our Support Downloads site.



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- PerkinElmer Informatics Support



Edited: 9/13/2010 at 12:01 PM by CS Talbot
 11/17/2010 11:31 AM
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CS Mark

Posts: 5
Joined: 11/11/2009

Microsoft has released an update to Microsoft Office 2011 labeled 14.0.1 that now supports round trip editing of ChemDraw 12.0.2 structures.

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 iWork applications ceased to work.

CambridgeSoft has made changes to ChemDraw 12.0.2, so that instead of only using the now unsupported PICT format, we also 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 iWork applications to also support the expected PDF with the chemical information, so round trip editing can happen in more than Keynote. Microsoft has released an update to Microsoft Office 2010 labeled 14.0.1 that now supports round trip editing of ChemDraw 12.0.2 structures. 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. There are no planned Microsoft Office 2008 patches planned to address this issue. Microsoft Office 2008 users would need to upgrade to Microsoft Office 14.0.1.

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 to transfer the structures into ChemDraw, and then copy and paste them from ChemDraw 12.0.2 to MS Office 14.0.1 or redraw the structure in ChemDraw and then copy and paste into Microsoft Office 14.0.1.

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