Ionic versus covalent compounds.
1. Reading the periodic table
The first step in learning to tell the difference between an ionic compound and a covalent compound is learning how to read the PERIODIC TABLE. On the periodic table below you will notice the black staircase. The staircase line represents the division between the metals and the non-metals. The metals are always on the left side of the periodic table (shown in blue) while the non-metals are always on the right side of the periodic table (shown in pink). The elements shown in yellow are some where "in between" metals and non-metals and are called metalloids.
NOTE: It is important to recognize that not every periodic table is colored or chooses to display exactly the same way. However, all periodic tables must convey the same information. So no matter what periodic table you are using the metals will always be metals and will always be in the same spot (left) etc.
Please click on the link below to watch a short 2 minute screencast with some tips on examining different types of periodic tables: