The periodic table of elements is one of the most important tools of chemistry. Through its ingenious organization, the table provides concise and fundamental information not only about every individual element, but also about general trends across all the elements. Mastering the vagaries of the periodic table now will save you work later.

This SparkNote on the Periodic Table will begin with a discussion of the table's history and then move into a description of how to read the table and describe some general periodic trends. In the next SparkNote on the basics of atomic structure, we will also cover a number of periodic trends the comprehension of which demand some knowledge of atomic structure.

To see the periodic table, click here. Once the window appears, roll your mouse over the elements to see their specific information. You can also access the periodic table by going into the SparkNotes reference section that resides at the top of every SparkNotes page.