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UCSF ChimeraX is the next-generation visualization program from the Resource for Biocomputing, Visualization, and Informatics at UC San Francisco.

See also: Common Platform Issues, System Requirements, Change Log, Download & Citation Counts


Compared to Chimera, ChimeraX has a more modern user interface, better graphics, and much faster handling of large structures. For more information, see:

Missing Features

ChimeraX has several completely new features compared to Chimera (see advantages), but not yet all of its commonly used capabilities. Some features are implemented as commands only, not (yet) as graphical interfaces. Missing features include dock prep (except command in daily build), saving and restoring scenes, animation GUI, 2D label GUI, render by attribute GUI, “worms” to show residue attributes, trajectory analysis other than simple playback, calculating a multiple sequence alignment from a multiple structure superposition, and many others. Chimera capabilities grew significantly over several years, and likewise, ChimeraX will contain more of these important features as development proceeds.

Although similar in many aspects, ChimeraX is not backward compatible with Chimera and does not read Chimera session files. Chimera includes an export to ChimeraX feature that covers some but not all types of data.

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Common Platform Issues

Linux Graphics Drivers
ChimeraX needs a performant 3D graphics driver to work properly that supports OpenGL 3.3 or higher. In particular, the open source Nvidia driver, nouveau, is not good enough. In that case, you need to install the proprietary Nvidia driver.

Generic Linux Notes
The Generic Linux version of ChimeraX is compiled on Debian 10 using gcc 8.3 and glibc 2.28. Running the generic version will probably require additional libraries and/or other versions of libraries to be installed.

Windows Notes
ChemOffice 2002 supplies an ancient version of the OpenGL library that prevents ChimeraX from starting up. To fix it, you'll need to remove or rename its opengl32.dll file; typically found in "C:\Program Files (x86)\ChemOffice2002\Common\DLLs\opengl32.dll".