# Structural Formula - Complete Structural Formulas, Line Formulas, Three Dimensional Formulas - Condensed structural formulas

### molecule molecular atoms shown

A structural formula is a chemical formula that gives you a more complete picture of a compound than its **molecular formula** can. While a molecular formula, such as H_{2}O, shows the types of **atoms** in a substance and the number of each kind of atom, a structural formula also gives information about how the atoms are connected together. Some complex types of structural formulas can even give you a picture of how the atoms of the **molecule** are arranged in **space**. Structural formulas are most often used to represent molecular rather than ionic compounds.

There are several different ways to represent compounds in structural formulas, depending on how much detail needs to be shown about the molecule under consideration.

We will look at complete structural formulas, condensed formulas, line formulas, and three-dimensional formulas.

After you become familiar with the rules for writing complete structural formulas, you find yourself taking shortcuts and using condensed structural formulas. You still need to show the complete molecule, but the inactive parts can be more sketchily shown. Thus the two formulas above look like this when written in condensed form:

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