Virtual Space OOO’s #D Molecules Editor for Mac OS X lets you build and manipulate 3D molecular models of organic and inorganic compounds. The app is great for any high school or college student in chemistry courses.

3D Molecules Editor allows organic and inorganic molecular structures to be built with single, double and triple bonds, as well as cyclic compounds. The molecules can be visualized in 3D using stick, ball and stick and space-filling (CPK) models.

Important information about the molecule can be displayed. For example, it is possible to visualize the atomic orbitals, see electronic effects using arrows and identify bond lengths and element symbols.

The key feature of 3D Molecules Editor full version is ‘Test yourself’ mode. It allows learners to check their knowledge of chemistry and chemical compounds.

3D printing offers a unique and straightforward approach to fabricate plastic 3D models of molecules and extended solids. 3D Molecules Editor has an option to directly export the model as an STL file (most 3D printers recognize this format).In building these molecules, guidance is initially needed to show how to use the software. There’s a help button that provides clear and concise screen shots demonstrating how to use the app.

3D Molecules Editor allows the user to open and view molecules in SDF or PDB format files, for example, from NCBI’s PubChem, a public database of compounds or from RCSB Protein Data Bank. Once the molecules are built, they can be saved or emailed. This is another useful feature for assessment as students can send molecules to the teacher and the image opens directly in the email.

3D Molecules Editor 1.0 costs US$2.99 (though it also offers in-app purchases). It’s available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Education category and requires Mac OS X 10.7 or higher.