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Chemistry: Reaxys Tutorial

Library & research resources for students in the Chemistry program at Caltech.

Access Reaxys

Literature Search Options

From the main Reaxys start page, selecting "Literature" will bring up a Simple search form that will allow you to search by several common options, including Document Type, Authors, Journal Title, etc. Note that using the top option, "Search for", will search for the entered terms in titles, abstracts, and keywords.

Boolean operators should be used in all fields for multi-word searches. The list of recognized Boolean operators are:

  • AND looks for all terms in the publication record.
  • OR looks for any term in the publication record.
  • NOT looks for records that have all other terms but exclude records that have the NOT term.
  • NEXT looks for records that have the terms in the indicated order next to each other.
  • NEAR looks for records with terms adjacent to each other (order doesn't matter).

Once you have entered all your search terms in varios fields, clicking OK will bring you to the Standard Search Query page, listing all the parameters of your search. Clicking SEARCH will actually run the search. Clicking RESET FORM will clear the search terms and return to the main Reaxys start page.

Working with a Results Set

The list of citations in the result set are displayed by default in descending order of Publication Year, but can also be sorted by Journal Title, Author, and Document Type. Clicking on the "Title/Abstract" for any citation will display the full citation for a record. You can view the articles which cite a selected article, but there is no way to sort by that criterion at present.

The left side displays fields by which to Filter the result set, including Document Type, Author, etc. Clicking on a field will display "by Group" by default, which gives you a summary of how many documents fall into various categories under that field - i.e. Authors will display the list of authors in the results set, and you can Limit to (Include) or Exclude certain authors to form a new results set. Choosing "by Value" allows you to search within the results set for a term of your choosing in the selected field.

Searching Reaxys by Reaction

From the main Reaxys page, select Reactions. Next to "Search in", select Reactions. You can either enter a structure or a basic reaction scheme. If a substance is entered, you can select what role in the reaction you are interested in. These options will not be available if you draw any kind of reaction arrow in the scheme.

Searching with a substance will produce a result set consisting of reactions involving the entered substance, with whatever parameters entered. Specific reaction conditions along with references are listed under each reaction entry.

Searching with a reaction will produce a result set consisting of the reaction and any variations therein, along with references to the specific publications from which the information was obtained.

Searching Reaxys by Structure

There are two ways to search in Reaxys by structure - using the Structures & Reactions option, which allows for drawing in structures of interest, and using the Names & Formulas option, which allows for text entry of molecular parameters. Each is discussed below.

Structures & Reactions

After selecting Structures & Reactions from the main page, you will see the Standard Query screen. Structures can be drawn in using one of three structure editors. (Note: MarvinSketch requires Java - if Java isn't working on your machine, try using one of the other structure editors.) You can also select "Create Structure Template from Name" to enter in a chemical name, CAS Number, or other identifier, to automatically generate a chemical structure without drawing it in by hand.

Next to "Search In", select Substances, and select any other search options you wish to include: whether to include variations in substructure, isotopes of the substance, etc. Click SEARCH (to the right of the screen) to run the search.

Names & Formulas

After selecting Names & Formulas, enter in any identifying information in the pop-up (i.e. name, molecular weight, etc.). Entering a CAS number will usually provide a very narrow result, otherwise it is helpful to be as specific as possible when entering other terms. Clicking OK will transfer the terms to the Standard Query screen. Click SEARCH to run the search.


The default Results view will list all the matching substances, along with basic structure/compound data, the number of preparations and reactions in which this substance is indexed, and available characterization data for the the substance. Clicking on a category under characterization data will bring up specific references for information related to the property of interest.

Saving and Exporting Citations

Citations can be saved to a local Reaxys account, if one is created.

To export citation information for use in EndNote, follow these steps:

From Reaxys:

  1. Select "Output".
  2. In the popup window, next to "Output", select "Citations Table".
  3. Next to "to", select Literature Management Systems (e.g. ReferenceManager, EndNote etc.).
  4. Next to Output Range, select the citation range desired.
  5. Next to "Output contains" check whether abstracts are to be included along with citation data.
  6. Click "OK".
  7. Click "Download" and the .ris file will download to the default download location specified by your browser.

Once you are in EndNote:

  1. Select "File", then "Import".
  2. Select the file saved from Step 6 above. Make sure that for Import Options, "Reference Manager (RIS)" is selected.
  3. Click "Import".
  4. References should be imported into EndNote.

Please note that EndNote is a tool, and the data it gets is only as good as what the database provides. Always double-check citaiton information in EndNote after importing!

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