Non-canonical residues, caps, crosslinks, and nicks are important to many functions of DNAs, RNAs, proteins, and complexes. However, we do not fully understand how networks of such non-canonical macromolecules generate behavior. One barrier is our limited formats for describing macromolecules. To overcome this barrier, we develop BpForms and BcForms, a toolkit for representing the primary structure of macromolecules as combinations of residues, caps, crosslinks, and nicks. The toolkit can help omics researchers perform quality control and exchange information about macromolecules, help systems biologists assemble global models of cells that encompass processes such as post-translational modification, and help bioengineers design cells.