SciFinder Scholar Client Version: Quick Guide

This page is archival in nature, and the content will not be updated.

As of June 30, 2011, SciFinder is only available via the web.

SciFinder Scholar is an interface to a number of databases including Chemical Abstracts, CAS Reacts, MEDLINE, CAS Registry, ChemCats, and ChemList. Chemical Abstracts covers all areas of chemistry and chemical engineering from 1907 to the present.

Use the Locate button to find a specific reference or substance.


Use Bibliographic Information to locate a specific journal citation.

Use Document Identifier to locate a specific document such as a patent.

Use Substance Identifier to locate a specific substance if you know the substance name or CAS Registry Number.


Searching SciFinder Scholar

Use the Explore button to search for information on research topics, substances, substructures, and reactions.


Exploring by Research Topic



Searching SciFinder Scholar for research topics is a matter of trying various concepts and then altering the query based upon an examination of the results.

  • Enter search terms in the I am interested in box.
  • Use prepositions to indicate the relationships among your terms.
    Example: adverse effects of MTBE in drinking water
  • Do not use AND or OR if a prepositional phrase is more exact.
  • Enter no more than two or three concepts at a time. You can always refine your results later with additional terms.
  • Add synonyms or CAS Registry Numbers in parentheses following the related term.
    Examples:
       MTBE (121-32-3)
       bone cells (osteocytes)
  • Distribute modifiers among all the terms that they modify.
    Example: liver apoptosis or nasal apoptosis
  • Select desired retrieval set from the Select candidates of interest list.
  • There are no truncation symbols, no proximity operators and there is no way to combine search sets.

Exploring by Author Name



  • Enter last name and then either first initial or first name.
  • Be sure to select all applicable variations from the Select candidates of interest list.
  • Use Edit > Select All if you want to select every single entry.
  • Choose Analyze/Refine and then use the Refine button to refine your search results with a second author name or a research term or to limit by language, year, document type, etc.

Exploring by Chemical Structure



  • Hydrogen atoms are assumed by default.
  • Use the shortcuts button on the side menu for functional groups, especially if you are unsure of drawing conventions. For example, NO₂ should have double bonds from both O atoms connecting to the N atom.
  • Choose Get Substances to search the Chemical Abstracts database; choose Get Reactions to search CASReacts.

If you want to edit a structure of an existing substance, you can bring it into the drawing window by locating the substance, and then copying and pasting the CAS Registry Number into the drawing window (copy and past the registry number, not the structure itself). Use the menu copy and paste commands, not keyboard shortcuts.

Exploring by Molecular Formula



  • Enter molecular formula using upper and lower case letters for the element symbol.
  • Leave a space between each element symbol (C10 H10 Fe).

Navigating, Displaying Records, and Linking to Full-Text Articles

Use the microscope button to view the full record of a citation or of a substance.

The full record of a substance may also include links to experimental and calculated properties including spectra images.

Use the text button to link to full text of journal articles or patents through an interface called ChemPort.

Use the New Task button to start a new search.

Analyzing, Refining, and Finding Related Records

Use the Analyze/Refine button to manipulate retrieval sets.

The Analyze button allows you to look at the frequency of occurrences within the retrieved set.


References can be analyzed by author, CAS Registry Number, CA section title, company, document type, index term, journal, language, year, and supplementary term. Substances can be analyzed by real atom attachments, variable group, R-group, precision, ring skeletons, and stereochemistry.

The Refine button allows you to narrow your search results by searching within the retrieved set.


References can be refined by author, topic, company name, document type, year, language, and database. Substances can be refined by chemical structure, commercial availability, and property data.

The Get Related button allows you to do citation analysis for papers that have been published from 1999 to the present.

Printing and Saving Results

Printing Formats

Compact format: title/structure

Standard format: bibliographic information, structure, CAS Registry Number

Summary format: bibliographic information, abstract, structure, name, CAS registry number

Full format: bibliographic information, abstract, structure, name, CAS registry number, indexing, alternate names, substances

Saving Formats

Plain ASCII: no structure

Rich Text Format: with structures, for use in word processing programs

Quoted Format: for use in spreadsheets and databases

Tagged Format: for importing to a bibliographic management program like EndNote or RefWorks

Note: You can only print or save a maximum of 100 records at a time. You cannot email references in SciFinder Scholar.

Software Installation and Access Restrictions

In order to search SciFinder Scholar, a software program must first be installed on your computer. Instructions on how to download and install the SciFinder Scholar program are at the SciFinder Scholar setup page. Only registered UCB students, faculty, and staff can download and use the program. SciFinder Scholar can only be used for academic purposes, no commercial research. SciFinder Scholar can be searched on the public use computers in the Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Library, but only by registered UCB students, faculty, and staff.

Note: SciFinder Scholar does not work with the Library's proxy server. Off-campus use by authorized users is only possible with the Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. For more information, see the Connecting from Off Campus guide.

Page owner: Lisa Ngo