Abstract Chemistry students need to understand chemistry on molecular, symbolic and macroscopic levels. Students find it difficult to use representations on these three levels to interpret and explain data. One approach is to encourage students to use writing-to-learn strategies in inquiry settings to present and interpret their laboratory results. This paper describes findings from a study on the effects on students’ learning outcomes of creating multimodal texts to report on laboratory inquiries. The study involved two senior secondary school chemistry classes (n = 22, n = 27). Both classes completed and reported on two laboratory based inquiry tasks using digital technologies. Data were collected using pre- and post-tests, student texts and interviews and classroom video-recording. Content analysis of student texts indicated that students were able to generate new knowledge and use multiple representations to make explanations on the molecular level. Student interviews and classroom video-recordings suggested that using digital resources to create multimodal texts promoted knowledge transformation and hence deeper reflection on the meaning of data and representations. The study has implications for inquiry learning and using digital technologies to enhance students’ understanding of chemistry on multiple levels.