VMD is a molecular visualization program for displaying, animating, and analyzing large biomolecular systems using 3-D graphics and built-in scripting. VMD supports computers running MacOS X, Unix, or Windows, is distributed free of charge, and includes source code.
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Modern molecular simulation, visualization, and modeling techniques often require high-performance computing hardware to obtain the best efficiency. However, access to such hardware can be a barrier for some researchers. As an alternative, cloud computing provides a cost-effective and practical solution for many molecular modeling tasks and for small and moderate size molecular dynamics simulations. The cloud computing model provides researchers with access to powerful computational equipment that would otherwise be too costly to procure, maintain, and administer on their own. Additionally, cloud platforms can easily bundle different software packages used in a modeling workflow to guaruntee their availablity and interoperability on a standardized system. We have adapted our molecular modeling applications NAMD, VMD, and associated tools to operate within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) platform, enabling popular research workflows to be run remotely by scientists all over the globe, with no need for investment in local computing resources and a reduced requirement for expertise in high performance computing technologies. Recent advancements in GPU virtualization technology now make it possible to use cloud computing for large-scale scientific computing, data analysis, and visualization tasks. The latest release of our cloud software can be run on EC2's latest graphics hardware, backed by DCV, to provide a smooth and seamless graphical working environment. Instance types specially designed for parallel CPU or GPU workloads provide users with access to the hardware they need to run even the most demanding features of NAMD and VMD, all from their much less powerful personal computers and even laptops. These instances can be paid for on an on-demand, as-needed basis, and some workflows, such as Molecular Dynamics Flexible Fitting, can be run for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Our cloud virtual machine image is availble in the Amazon Marketplace, which provides users with a very simple one-click launch using pre-configured choices of instance types that have been tested with our software. To learn more, see our cloud research page.
Other Spotlights
Molecule in the Cloud


Molecular representations
VMD plugin library
Molecular file formats
GPU-accelerated computing
Interactive molecular dynamics
Programs that use VMD
VMD research publications
How to cite VMD
VMD citation list (37,000 as of Mar'21)


Download (all versions)
VMD 1.9.4 (MacOS X, Unix, Windows)
VMD 1.9.3 (MacOS X, Unix, Windows)
VMD script library
License, Copyright and Disclaimer

Documentation and Support

User and installation guides
VMD-L mailing list
Publication image tutorial (YouTube)
Quick help
Bug List

News and Announcements

Human Learning for Molecular Simulations: The Collective Variables Dashboard in VMD, JCTC, 2022
ANARI: A 3D Rendering API Standard, CiSE, 2022
The Coronavirus in a Tiny Drop, VMD visualizations of aerosolized SARS-CoV-2, NYT, 2021
#COVIDisAirborne: AI-Enabled Multiscale Computational Microscopy of Delta SARS-CoV-2 in a Respiratory Aerosol, IJHPCA, 2022
Intelligent Resolution: Integrating Cryo-EM with AI-Driven Multi-Resolution Simulations to Observe the SARS-CoV-2 Replication-Transcription Machinery in Action, IJHPCA, 2022
NIH Director's blog highlights neuroscience adaptation of VMD
AI-driven multiscale simulations illuminate mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 spike dynamics, IJHPCA, 2021
Multiscale modeling and cinematic visualization of photosynthetic energy conversion processes from electronic to cell scales, J. Par. Comp. 2021
NAMD and VMD part of the team winning the ACM COVID-19 Gordon Bell Prize for 2020
The Coronavirus Unveiled, VMD visualizations of SARS-CoV-2, NYT, 2020
Scalable molecular dynamics on CPU and GPU architectures with NAMD, JCP, 2020
VMD test builds for MacOS X 10.15 "Catalina" (April 24, 2020)
Past announcements


An Accessible Visual Narrative for the Primary Energy Source of Life from the Fulldome Show Birth of Planet Earth, 1st Place Winner, SC'19 Viz. Showcase
Chromatophore VR demo (VMD + Unreal Game Engine) shown in NVIDIA booth at SC'16
Example VMD VR/3-D YouTube videos
Chemical Visualization of Human Pathogens: the Retroviral Capsids, Finalist, SC'15 Viz. Showcase
Visualization of Energy Conversion Processes in a Light Harvesting Organelle at Atomic Detail, 1st Place Winner, SC'14 Viz. Showcase
VMD movie gallery on YouTube
Gallery of Posters, Images, and Movies made with VMD
VMD running in the NanoDome at Temple University


VMD User Survey Results
VMD development status and pre-release test downloads
CVS source code access
VMD Programmer's documentation