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Historically, when synthetic chemists worked in paper notebooks, entire experiments or parts of procedures would often be repeated. Even for new reactions, the procedures of aqueous workup and purification were often similar. Consequently, a significant amount of time in the write-up of an experiment was spent transcribing existing methods and protocols.

Moving into the digital age, it’s possible to get around the tediousness of re-entering existing data, and, although ‘copy and paste’ operations are a great help, they can be a bit cumbersome as you need to know where the block of text already exists.

In the IDBS E‑WorkBook for Chemistry ELN, we are striving to develop tools that make the life of the synthetic chemist easier. In a previous blog (Procedure write-up and data integrity, June 2016), we described the ability to directly and synchronously reference the components of a stoichiometry table in the procedure write-up. Following on from this, we have now added the capability for a user to define their own custom text phrases, which can be added to the procedure at the click of a button.

Making the text phrases easy to define and local to use will help ensure that experiments are written to a better quality and standard, helping with reproducibility and in the capture of knowledge.