To make an electron configuration list, first find the atomic number, then count up the number of electrons and list them in the appropriate energy level and orbital. The information to write an electron configuration is typically available by locating the element on the periodic table. For example, the electron configuration of nitrogen is 1s2 2s2 2p3.
- Find the atomic number
Find the symbol for the element on the periodic table. Above the symbol is the atomic number, which also represents the number of electrons in an atom with a neutral charge.
- Place the electrons in orbitals
Beginning with the 1s orbital, place the electrons in increasing energy levels while following the Hund's rule to complete each energy level before placing electrons in higher energy levels. For example, fill the 1s orbital with two electrons before placing any electrons in the 2s orbital.
- Write out the electron configuration
Write out the electron configuration according to the standard method by writing the energy level, followed by the type of orbital with an exponent indicating the number of electrons in the orbital. For example, 1s2 2s2 2p4 indicates two electrons in both the first and second energy level of the s-orbitals and four electrons in the second energy level p-orbital.