Symmetry and Space Group Tutorial


by Jerry P. Jasinski and Bruce M. Foxman

(Mac-compatible version by Ian S. Batson)


Knowledge of space groups and the implications of space group symmetry on the physical and chemical properties of solids are pivotal factors in all areas of structural science. As we met to bring our ideas in teaching this subject to life, we both felt that “early and often” – teaching the concepts with textual and visual reinforcement, are key to providing a sound basis for students in this subject. The tutorial contains > 200 PowerPoint "slides", in five modules, arranged by crystal class; a sixth module covers special topics. A "credits" module gives the direct addresses of all links.  Space group diagrams appear in International Tables format.


In the latest version (v1.55, 09 February 2007 or Mac 1.55m, 02 December 2015) available on this site, the triclinic and monoclinic groups (2+13) are built from "scratch", and are derived from the Hermann-Mauguin symbol. An additional section provides practice on many (but not all) of the orthorhombic groups in crystal class 222.  Finally, a "Special Topics" section on enantiomorphous space groups features space groups P41 and P43.  In the tutorial, lattice points build iteratively & interactively with keyclick, and the coordinates of points "pop up" as the unit cell is filled. We hope that the elements of guidance, inquiry and occasional humor will make the learning process enjoyable. Support by the National Science Foundation through grants DMR-0504000 (Brandeis University) and DMR-0303450 (2004-2005 NSF Summer Research Program in Solid State Chemistry, Clemson University) is gratefully acknowledged.

Version 1.55 contains many corrections to the previous version (1.33), and INCLUDES ALL EXTERNAL LINKS.  The latter change was made in response to users’ comments that links soon became outdated or changed, and many of the links in version 1.33 were broken as of Summer 2006.  A new section includes the complete references to all of the links bundled with the new version.  In order for the bundled links to run successfully, the tutorial must be installed in a specific directory (C:\symandsg).  Full instructions are given below.

The tutorial will run on a PC (or [NEW!] a Mac with MS PowerPoint installed (note that there is a separate download link for each version). The download is now completely unprotected (!!!) and should also run on Mac computers with PowerPoint installed.  See the special notes regarding the beta Mac version below. 


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    Download PC Version (1.55) of Tutorial (Compressed Version, 32.7 Mb)


Once the .zipped file above has been downloaded, the tutorial must be installed in the specific directory “C:\symandsg”.   Note that the folder "Main" must appear at the top level of that directory, or all links will be broken.  A shortcut provided in that directory may be moved to the desktop if desired, or the program may be run directly from the directory by double-clicking on the shortcut in the directory.  The tutorial contains historical, professional and pedagogic links; browser behavior varies with version and "brand".  Returning to the tutorial from the browser seems to work best in Mozilla/Netscape by minimizing the browser window.  In IE, return to the tutorial works best using a right-click, and selecting "Back".  Let us know if there are any problems.  The tutorial links have been tested with only the latest versions of browsers.  If erratic behavior is encountered, that is a source to consider.    

Download Mac Version (1.55m) of Tutorial (Compressed Version, 37.2 Mb)

Once the zipped file above has finished downloading, look for “" in your downloads folder. Double click the icon in order to unzip the file. The unzipped folder must be moved to your Applications folder in order to ensure the proper functioning of the embedded hyperlinks. Once saved, click into the SYMANDSG folder and open START HERE.ppt to begin the tutorial. SHORTCUT.ppt (located within the same folder as START HERE.ppt) can be moved to your desktop (or any other folder) for more convenient access. Do not attempt to move the “Main” folder, or any file contained therein, or all the links embedded within the Powerpoint will be broken.  The tutorial contains historical, professional, and pedagogic links to online resources. Safari and Firefox are known to be appropriate default browsers. When you are finished viewing the resource, you can return to the presentation by selecting the Powerpoint icon on your task bar. Let us know if there are any problems, as this is a beta version for the Macintosh OS. The tutorial links have been tested with only the latest versions of browsers with an up-to-date Macintosh OS platform.  If erratic behavior is encountered, that may be a source to consider. 


We are no longer supplying the presentation with a bundled Powerpoint Viewer – the present version (thus far) has tested OK on local machines running XP, Windows 7, 8 and 10, and having legal versions of Powerpoint 2000 and later (including 2013).  We welcome comments on the new Mac version.

There is a price for using this tutorial!!!! Please send feedback with corrections, suggestions, etc. We hope you will enjoy this material and will find it useful. Many thanks!



Send content and tutorial comments to Bruce M. Foxman ( foxman1 at; Mac tutorial issues to Bruce and Ian Batson as well (ibatson at


 Bruce Foxman ( foxman1 at )  Last updated 28 December 2015