Two-parted question:

  1. Where is a cheatsheet or complete list of the "formal" IUPAC naming conventions?
  2. Where is a cheatsheet or complete list of the "trivial" or "informal" chemical names?

Does the Wikipedia page have all of the naming conventions, or are some missing? Then this page titled "Trivial and semisystematic names retained for naming organic compounds" seems to link to some of the trivial names, but it is in a terrible format for a computer to read (I would like a spreadsheet or some sort of structured data format so I can use these in code) and I'm not sure it's complete. I have searched around on the web but don't seem to find anything that is complete and ideally as structured data. Does anything like this exist? If not structured data, what is the easiest document to read that is complete that I could manually convert into structured data? Also, any of this should ideally be a free resource.


1 Answer 1


IUPAC Reports

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) produces recommendations on nomenclature for chemical compounds. They produce complete reports, and brief guides. However, creating a systematic name from an arbitrary structure is not simple.

It probably depends what 'space' of structures you want to deal with. For simple organic compounds (branched, fused rings, non-bridged) it might be feasible, but there are many edge cases and tricky topics, such as stereochemistry, ligand priority ordering, multiple bridges, and so on.

For example, this is the 'Blue Book' : https://iupac.qmul.ac.uk/BlueBook/ which is a set of PDF docs. Converting these to formal rules would be time consuming, to say the least!

Informal Names

A resource like ChemSpider provides multiple informal names for compounds, with an API to retrieve data. Seems like (from a quick test) you can get the 'CommonName' field from the details. For example, for a random recordId:


you get this return value:

{"id": 325,"commonName": "2-Methoxy-4-vinylphenol"}

so it gives you one common name. Seemingly also for benzene (id 236).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.