I'm trying to create a figure showing some different possible chemical structures of the butane molecule in the form of the right most diagrams in the below image and I'd like to know the best way to go about this. My preliminary research suggests the chemfig package is a good choice for most chemical structures, and it would certainly be capable of those in the first and middle columns, but I can't figure out how to use it to create something like those in the last column, or whether it's even capable of it.

Can anyone suggest how I might go about this in Latex? Or should I be looking at external programs like ChemDraw?


  • 1
    The third column can be achieved with TikZ. The chemmacros package also has some support for Newman projections.
    – cgnieder
    Apr 1, 2016 at 8:43
  • Thanks! chemmacros and the newman module looks to be able to achieve what I'm after simply. I'll give that a go.
    – Ulysses
    Apr 1, 2016 at 9:11
  • For some reason I can't seem to load the package. It seems to be clashing with the mhchem package I also have loaded, and I can't seem to figure out how to have both loaded together. It seems there's a simply way to do it but the chemmacros documentation is confusing. If someone can help me with this initial step I reckon I can do the code for the chemical structure myself.
    – Ulysses
    Apr 1, 2016 at 9:41
  • A simple MWE using both packages compiles fine for me.
    – cgnieder
    Apr 1, 2016 at 9:49
  • Maybe this gets you in the right direction? en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX/Chemical_Graphics And actually a quite good post from the forum is here: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/52722/…
    – MaK
    Apr 1, 2016 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


I managed to resolve this issue myself, and thought I'd share my solution. Thanks to @clemens for the package suggestions.

An MWE is below, along with an image of the produced output. The result shows some alignment issues which I have chosen not to correct for this example as they're separate to the main issue here, and the solution I used just obfuscates the code for the diagrams, and is therefore inappropriate for an MWE. The way I've chosen to call the different packages in the preamble resolves the issue I reported earlier of clashing packages, while still loading the same packages and settings.


\chemsetup{formula=mhchem,modules=newman} % Loads mhchem package and newman module


    \caption{Newman projections of the four butane conformational isomers.}
    \newman{\hspace*{3mm} \ce{CH3},H,H,\hspace*{3mm} \ce{CH3},H,H}
    \newman(73){\hspace*{3mm} \ce{CH3},H,H,\ce{CH3},H,H}
    \newman(120){\hspace*{3mm} \ce{CH3},H,H,\ce{CH3},H,H}
    \newman(193){\hspace*{3mm} \ce{CH3},H,H,\ce{H3C} \hspace*{3mm},H,H}


newman diagram example

  • 1
    You can set multiple options with one call of \chemsetup: \chemsetup{formula=mhchem, modules=newman}
    – cgnieder
    Apr 3, 2016 at 8:49
  • Didn't realise. Thanks! I've updated the code.
    – Ulysses
    Apr 3, 2016 at 10:48

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