Users can use tools already available in Word, external software or added functionality through the Chemistry add-in to add Lewis dot structures to a Word document. While using existing drawing tools in Word is a simple method that does not require other software, the Chemistry add-in gives users a range of other useful chemistry-related functions too.
Microsoft Word includes a set of drawing tools that include the basic requirements for drawing a Lewis dot structure. Users can use the circle tool to create the circles representing electrons, and the line tool to create the lines indicating chemical bonds. These tools are located in the "Ribbon" in Microsoft Word versions from Office 2007 onwards, but can be found in the "Drawing toolbar" in older versions of the software.
An alternate method is to use external graphics software to create the Lewis dot structure. The image is then imported into the Word document. Users can use any graphics software including Paint, Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape to create the structure. However, there are also several programs that specialize only in Chemical structures, such as ChemDoodle or ChemDraw.
The Chemistry add-in for Word is a plug-in that users have to install on their system. Once installed it adds a "Chemistry" tab to the Word "Ribbon" that allows users to create, import or modify 2D chemical structures within the Word interface. The Chemistry add-in uses Chemical Markup Language and structures created using the plug-in can be exported to other software that recognizes the language, and vice-versa.