Common Marvin Features

Table of Contents

This section covers the features that are common to both MarvinSketch and MarvinView

Installation/System Requirements

Marvin is written in Java, which is supported on various platforms, so it will run on almost every operating system. Marvin products come in various packages for users with different needs:

Marvin Applets:
Marvin Applets are targeted at the Web Developer who builds chemical Internet/Intranet sites. The package contains
Applet for editing and visualizing molecules on a web page
Applet for viewing molecules on a web page
Swing version of MarvinSketch includes additional features and a more modern look & feel
Swing version of MarvinView includes additional features and a more modern look & feel

Swing applets are signed that include the same feature set as the MarvinSketch and MarvinView applications.

Marvin applications:
Standalone Java applications (MarvinSketch and MarvinView)

System requirements for Marvin products are listed below:

Marvin Applets 

Java enabled browser. Further requirement for Swing applets is Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 1.3 or later.

Marvin Applications 

Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 1.3 or later.

For more information about how to install and run, visit to this page.

Common GUI Features

The Graphical User Interface (GUI) for MarvinSketch and MarvinView are very similar. Each contains a Canvas, Menubar, and Pop-up Menus. Each program's Menubar contains slightly different choices, though the Edit and View menus share many options and the Tools and Help menus are nearly identical. The differences between the Canvas and the Pop-up Menus for each program are due to MarvinView being mainly for Viewing and MarvinSketch for Editing. To learn more about these differences, see MarvinSketch GUI Reference and MarvinView GUI Reference.

Structure Display Options

Both MarvinView and MarvinSketch contain a wide range of functions related to the display of the molecules. These settings can be found in the View menu and the Preferences dialog. Additionally, you can move, rotate, and zoom in/out on the structure.
Display options that are common to both programs are listed below. See MarvinSketch Structure Display Options and MarvinView: Manipulating the Molecule for information on moving, rotating, and scaling.

Molecule Format

You can set the display format for the molecule and screen resolution using the View > Display submenu. Available molecule formats are Wireframe, Wireframe with Knobs, Sticks, Ball and Stick, and Spacefill. You can set the resolution to low or high via the Quality submenu.


The View >Colors submenu allows you to specify the color scheme of the molecules. The available options are:

Implicit/Explicit Hydrogens

Marvin has a number of options for the display of implicit and explicit hydrogens. Because Marvin is chemically intelligent, it will automatically add hydrogens as necessary within the structure. Generally, these will be implicit and displayed based on the options set in the View menu.

To view all hydrogens explicitly, displayed as atoms with bonds to neighbors, chose Edit > H-Atoms > Add. The Edit > H-Atoms > Remove will return to the previous display mode.

To view implicit hydrogens by symbol, use the View > Hydrogens > Implicit menu group. This option is disabled in Spacefill and Ball & Stick display modes.

Error Highlighting

Marvin can not automatically correct all valence errors or any reaction errors. Instead, these errors are highlighted and you may make the appropriate corrections yourself. This option can be enabled and disabled through the the Edit > Preferences box.

Saving Display Options

Many of the display settings in Marvin are saved and reloaded the next time you start the program. Background color, molecule color scheme, and hydrogen visibility can be set from the View menu and will saved automatically when you exit Marvin. Other options, including look & feel, error highlighting, and object visibility can be set using the Preferences dialog from the Edit menu.

Cut/Copy/Paste and Drag & Drop Functionality

Marvin supports transfer of data between Marvin and other programs via Cut/Copy/Paste and Drag & Drop. Molfiles can be transferred to and from other chemical drawing applications (such as ChemDraw and ISISDraw), between multiple Marvin windows, and to/from the desktop and file manager. Additionally, Marvin can copy the text of a molecule file to/from a number of text editors and word processors.
See Cut/Copy/Paste and Drag & Drop Functionality for more information.

Calculator Plugins

Both MarvinSketch and MarvinView allow access to plug-ins via the Tools menu. See the Calculator Plugins section for more information.

File Formats

MarvinSketch and MarvinView can work with molecules in a number of file formats.


Both MarvinSketch and MarvinView can handle stereochemical representation of molecules. See the stereochemical specification section for details.

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