The Chem4Word Project began in 2008 as a collaboration between Microsoft Research and the University of Cambridge. The project’s original instigators, Tony Hey and Peter Murray-Rust, intended to add the capability to create and edit chemical structures within the world’s most popular word processor, Microsoft Word. This was novel enough in itself, but the ‘Chemistry Add-In for Word’ was intended to be an open source project, a radical departure for Microsoft.
Eight years on, Microsoft has since placed and supported many products into and in the open-source domain, and Chem4Word still flourishes. Although we are a small volunteer team we have just released a major update, with dramatically improved chemical structure rendering. Chem4Word has been downloaded over 200,000 times and has users all over the world.
We are currently planning new features that will make Chem4Word even more powerful and easy to use. We are also optimising the storage model, which will lead eventually to performance improvements.
To help support these new developments, we are transferring ownership of the code base to the .NET Foundation. We give our heartfelt thanks to the support that we have received from the OuterCurve Foundation over the past 8 years, and the guidance of Microsoft Research and Cambridge University. None of this would have been possible without their original vision.
We look forward greatly to working with the .NET Foundation, in helping to develop Chem4Word into the leading freely-available, open-source cheminformatics tool. Thank you to everyone who has contributed in whatever way to this project!