In sodium chloride, a large number of sodium ions (Na+) and chloride ions (Cl) are arranged in three dimensions such that each Na+ is surrounded by six Cl and each Cl is surrounded by six Na+. Thus, in sodium chloride, Na+ will have Cl as its nearest neighbor. A two-dimensional arrangement of ions in sodium chloride crystal.

There is no discrete molecule like NaCl in the crystal. Crystal of sodium chloride is electrically neutral. So, the numbers of Na+ and Cl- ions in sodium chloride crystal are equal. As a result, a crystal of sodium chloride can only be described as (Na+Cl) n and not as Na+Cl , or NaCl.