Accordance Blog
Apr 12, 2013 David Lang

Powerful Preferences: Workspace Settings

This is the fourth in a series of posts on Accordance preferences. We've already covered the General and Appearance settings. Today, we'll look at the Workspace settings.

WorkspacePrefs

The first three options all have to do with the look and behavior of workspace zones. The active zone in a workspace is highlighted with a certain color. You can change this color by choosing a new one from the pop-up menu labeled Active Zone Color.

The next option lets you specify the maximum number of zones that can be opened in any given workspace. If you have a small screen, you may find that the third, fourth, or fifth zone that opens is too just too small to be useful. If you set the Default Maximum Zones pop-up to two, then Accordance can open no more than two zones in that workspace. If you open a resource that requires a third zone, Accordance will display that new zone in a separate workspace.

Now, even if you choose to set a maximum number of zones, that only prevents Accordance from opening more than that number of zones in a workspace. You are still free to drag a tab into a separate zone in order to create more zones than your default maximum.

Another option for small screens (or even those with large screens who like to save a little space) is Hide tab area if only a single tab. When you check this option, Accordance will show only a small title area for zones that only contain a single tab. As soon as a second tab is opened in that zone, the zone title area will increase in height to accommodate the two tabs.

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Workspace with "Hide tab area" option unchecked

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Workspace with "Hide tab area" option checked

The next three options have to do with how the Library and Instant Details panels operate. First, you can choose to have the Library always open as a popover rather than as a panel. Whenever you have a workspace that is too narrow or has too many zones to allow room for the Library to open as a panel, Accordance will automatically open the Library as a panel. If you want the Library to appear that way no matter how much room there is, simply check this option. Whatever your preference, you can always override it by holding down the shift key when you click the Library icon in the toolbar. In other words, if your default is to have the Library display as a panel, you can always force it to display as a popover by holding the shift key. If your default is to have it display as a popover, you can likewise force it to display as a panel.

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Workspace with Library displayed as a panel

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Workspace with Library displayed as a popover

If you would like the Library to be open whenever you create a new workspace, leave the previous option unchecked and check Add Library to new workspaces. If you would like the Instant Details to be displayed whenever you create a new workspace, check Add Instant Details to new workspaces.

The final option is to Limit window size of new workspaces. With this option checked, Accordance will open new workspaces at a specific size rather than having them fill the screen. If you have a really large monitor and you want Accordance to remain in one portion of the screen, you might want to consider this option.


 

Apr 5, 2013 David Lang

Powerful Preferences: Appearance Settings

This is the third in a series of posts on Accordance preferences. We've already covered the General settings here and here. Today, we'll look at the Appearance settings.

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The Appearance preferences present you with a number of broad ways you can change the look of Accordance. While this is not the place to go to change the font used in your various texts and tools (click Text Display or Tool Display for that), Appearance is the place to go when you want to make more fundamental changes, such as the maximum width of a line of text or how quickly to auto-scroll.

The options under Text Appearance let you make some interesting typographic changes. The first of these lets you specify the maximum width of text in a window. For example, if you have a wide screen and a workspace with only one tab, you may end up with a very wide column of text.

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Since this can be hard to read, you may want to specify that a column of text can be only six inches wide. To do that check Limit text width and then drag the slider to six inches. When you click OK, even the widest window will show a column of text no wider than six inches. Any additional space will appear as white space to the left and right of the text.

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The next text display option is to use ligatures in fonts that support it. Ligatures are combinations of letters that share common elements, such as fl and fi. The following screen shots show the same text with the use ligatures option unchecked and checked:

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Without ligatures

Ligature

With ligatures

Remember that ligatures are only supported in certain fonts, so you won't see a difference with older, legacy fonts.

Another text appearance option is to use European verse notation. With this option checked, Accordance will display verse references according to European conventions. It will also interpret verse references in searches accordingly.

European

A similar option is to have Accordance use SBL standard abbreviations for Bible book names. Check this option, and Accordance will display book names using SBL abbreviations.

In addition to the Text Appearance options just mentioned, Accordance offers a few Other appearance options. Here you can set the font size of text in Browser panes such as the Library and the Tool window's Table of Contents. You can also adjust the speed of auto-scrolling, choose to use a white background for pictures instead of the default black, and turn on or off the automatic widening of the Tool window's Table of Contents browser when you mouse over it.


 

Mar 29, 2013 David Lang

Powerful Preferences: More General Settings

This is the second in a series of posts on Accordance preferences. Yesterday we covered some of the General settings. Today, we'll cover the rest of them.

GeneralPrefs

In addition to letting you choose how you want Accordance to start up and what information dialogs you want to have displayed, the General settings let you tweak Accordance's amplify behavior.

When you select a word or verse reference in Accordance, you can then choose to search for that selected text in any Accordance resource. This is the process we call amplifying. For example, let's say you select the Greek word λόγος in John 1:1, then choose BDAG from the Amplify menu on the Toolbar. A new tab containing BDAG will automatically be opened to the entry on λόγος.

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There's something else to notice about this search: in addition to searching for the selected word in the Greek Entry field, Accordance has also searched the Scripture field for John 1:1. This makes it easy to click the down Mark button to find where John 1:1 is cited in this long article.

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Doing a search for both the selected word and the verse in which it appears can also help to distinguish among homographs: words that are spelled the same but mean different things.

This two-pronged searching when you amplify is almost always a good thing, especially since Accordance will still find the selected word even if the current verse is not cited. Still, there are some users who just want to search for the selected word without also including the verse reference. Consequently, the General preferences has a checkbox labeled Include reference when amplifying from text to tool. Uncheck that box, and Accordance will only search for the selected word without including the verse reference.

Another Amplify setting you can choose is Require selection for amplifying. If this box is checked, you must drag or double-click to select a word or verse reference before amplifying. If this box is unchecked, you can simply click in a word or verse reference so that the cursor is blinking inside it, and Accordance will regard that as a valid selection. Thus, you could simply click inside the word λόγος in John 1:1 to select it. Many users like this convenience: you can simply click to select something and then amplify. However, others find it too easy to click something and select it without meaning to. If you're in the latter camp, check this box to make sure you must do more than just click to select something.

The last Amplify option in the General preferences is Confine amplify to the same workspace. If you find yourself opening more than one workspace at a time, you may want to consider this option. Let's say I have one workspace for New Testament studies, and I amplify a word in the Greek New Testament to look it up in a Greek lexicon. In another workspace, I have the Greek Septuagint text, and I decide to amplify one of those words to look it up in that same Greek lexicon. Because I already have a copy of that lexicon open in the New Testament workspace, Accordance will look up my Septuagint word there, in my NT Studies Workspace.

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If, however, I have Confine amplify to the same workspace checked, Accordance will open a second copy of my lexicon in the same workspace as my Septuagint text. That way, each workspace will have its own copy of my lexicon that will only be used when I amplify from a word in that workspace.

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The last section of the General settings offers two more general options. When drag and drop text editing was first introduced, some long-time Mac users found it disconcerting, so we allow you to disable it. Also, the default behavior of the Accordance Slide Show mode is to advance to the next slide when the mouse is clicked. If you don't want mouse clicks to advance slides, you can specify that they be ignored.

That's it for the General preferences. Next we'll look at the Appearance settings.


 

Mar 28, 2013 David Lang

Powerful Preferences

This past weekend, I taught Accordance training seminars in Washington DC and Williamsburg, Virginia. Both groups included some pretty experienced Accordance users, and their questions prompted me to cover some more in depth aspects of Accordance than I usually get to. One thing I noticed in answering those questions was how much I turned to the Preferences panel.

Over the past two decades of development, we've added numerous options you can set in order to tailor Accordance to your specific needs. Most of them can be found by choosing Preferences… from the Accordance menu. This will open the Preferences panel.

On the left side of the Preferences panel, you'll see a list of setting categories. Let's start with the General settings.

GeneralPrefs

The first option you can choose is how you want Accordance to start up. You have the following options:

Default Search Tab: Accordance will open with a single workspace showing a single tab containing your default Bible. It's clean and simple, but you then have to open any additional resources yourself. (Note: You can set your default Bible in the Search Tabs settings.)

Default Session: If you find yourself spending a few minutes each time you launch Accordance opening the same group of resources and arranging them a certain way, you would do better to set things up the way you want them and then save that setup as a Default Session. Then that setup would come up every time you launch Accordance. When you choose the Default Session option, the Set Default Session button will become active. Click this button after you have set Accordance up the way you want, and the current arrangement of workspaces, zones, and tabs will now appear each time Accordance starts up.

Last Session: This is the setting I use. Whenever you quit Accordance, whatever you have open will be saved. When you launch Accordance again, you'll pick right back up where you left off.

Daily Reading: Want Accordance to start up with today's reading from your favorite devotional? Choose the Daily Reading option. (Note: You can set which devotional you want as your default in the Reading/Search All settings.)

In addition to choosing how you want Accordance to start up, you can choose to suppress certain kinds of information dialogs.

Suppress opening splash screen: When you first launch Accordance, you'll see the opening splash screen with our lovely artwork and copyright info.

SplashScreen

Naturally, we leave it up there for a moment so you can appreciate the artwork and read the info. But if you would like to shave a second or two off the time it takes to launch Accordance, check Suppress opening splash screen and you'll never have to see it again. (Don't worry, if you want to see it again, you can always choose About Accordance from the Accordance menu.)

Suppress opening text information: This option is now checked by default, but it used to be that the first time you opened a new module, a window would appear showing that module's copyright information. This made the copyright holders happy, but it was a waste of your time. If you still have these dialogs appear, check the option to suppress them. (When you want the copyright info for a module, you can still get it by clicking the info icon next to its name in the Library, or by choosing About the Text… from the Accordance menu.)

Suppress save warnings: If you open a resource and perform a search or make some other change, then decide to close that resource, Accordance will ask you if you want to save that tab. Yet if you use Accordance like I do, you're constantly opening resources, searching them for information, and then closing them when you no longer need them. If I actually want to save some complicated search, I'll do that by choosing Save… from the File menu. The rest of the time, I don't want to be interrupted with save warnings. So I have the Suppress save warnings option checked. Just be warned that if you check this option, you could accidentally close some elaborate construct window and lose your work without warning.

Suppress information tips: There are a handful of tips that appear when you use certain aspects of Accordance. For example, the first time you apply a highlight style, you may get a tip informing you that you can use the keyboard shortcut command-8 to apply that same style to other words you select. These tips are relatively infrequent, so I recommend leaving this option unchecked. Still, if they get in your way, you can easily suppress them.

I'll cover the rest of the General preferences in my next post, and I'll cover other settings categories in future posts.


 

Mar 8, 2013 David Lang

Accommodating Mounce's Parsing Order

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm teaching my family Greek using Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek grammar. We're now at the point where they're learning to parse first and second declension nouns, and Mounce suggests that we do so by naming the case first, followed by the number, and then the gender. That is different from the default order in Accordance. If you hover over a noun and look at the Instant Details, you'll see the parsing listed by gender, then number, then case.

In order to avoid the confusion that might be caused by these different parsing orders, I decided to have Accordance follow Mounce's suggested order. It will require a bit of adjustment on my part, since I'm used to Accordance's default order, but I figure that's better than making my wife and kids switch between two slightly different methods of parsing.

Thankfully, customizing the parsing in Accordance is easy. Just open the Preferences and choose Arrange Tags in the list of settings. You'll see a list of tags for Greek and for Hebrew.

DefaultTagOrder

To rearrange the order in which any given tag is listed, just drag it up or down the list. I want case to appear before gender and number, so I'll drag it up in the list above gender. I also want gender to appear after number, so I'll make that change as well. Since the gender, number, and case of participles is handled separately, I'll rearrange those tags as well. When I'm finished, my new tag order looks like this:

MounceTagOrder

Now I just need to click OK to save my changes, and the new parsing order will be used in the Instant Details.


 

Aug 24, 2012 David Lang

Tailoring Accordance 10 to Your Personal Tastes

Accordance has always been extremely customizable, but Accordance 10 offers new ways to adjust its look and functionality to your own personal tastes. Here are a few of the new options you should be aware of.

Customize your Toolbar: The new toolbar now places a number of features and resources at your fingertips, but you can customize it by control- or right-clicking it.

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The contextual menu which appears lets you choose how you want the toolbar items displayed. I prefer to use the small icon size and to display both icons and text labels. Users with small screens may want to choose the Text Only option to save on vertical space.

To customize which items are included in the Toolbar, select Customize Toolbar… from the contextual menu.

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You can then drag additional items from the menu onto the toolbar, or drag items you'll never use off the Toolbar to remove them. In addition to the default set of items, I've added the Atlas, Timeline, and Search Selection items. The last of these replicates the functionality of the Search button on the old Resource palette: namely, it searches the current text or tool for any word you select.

Change the Zone color and look: Open the Preferences dialog and select Appearance from the list of settings.

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You'll see a couple of options related to the appearance of zones. First, you have the option to Hide tab area if only a single tab. Check this, and whenever you only have a single tab in a zone, you will just see a thin zone title area rather than a full-blown tab.

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Tabs won't appear until you open a second tab, saving vertical space in single-tab zones.

You can also customize the Active Zone Color. I prefer Dark Blue, but Molly Ringwald might prefer something like this:

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You can choose from a variety of pre-selected colors, or even create a custom color.

Library Panel or Popover? Also in the Appearance settings is an option to display the Library as a popover rather than as a panel. Where opening the Library as a panel moves the other content in a Workspace to the right…

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opening it as a Popover leaves everything in place and simply places the Library on top of it:

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If you want to leave your Library open all the time, you'll want to open it as a panel, but if you like to leave it closed and only open it when you need it, you may find you prefer the popover interface. Whatever you select as your default, you can always choose the opposite simply by holding the Shift key down when you click the Library icon in the Toolbar.

So which of these options do you prefer? What items do you have in your toolbar? Do you always want tabs or do you like saving space when there is only one tab in a zone? Which zone color do you like best? Do you prefer the Library as a panel or popover? Do you ever switch between the two? Let us know how you've tailored Accordance 10 to your own tastes in the comments on this post.


 

Feb 13, 2012 David Lang

Link the PhotoGuide to the Atlas

Last week, I wrote a couple posts highlighting aspects of our Bible Lands PhotoGuide, the illustrated dictionary of place names included with our Graphics Bundle. Today I want to show you how to make the PhotoGuide more accessible by linking it to the Atlas.

When you're looking at a place name in the Atlas and you want to learn more about it, wouldn't it be nice if you could just double-click it to look it up in the PhotoGuide? Doing so would give you in depth information as well as illustrative photos. This is the primary way I access the PhotoGuide in my own study.

To establish this link, simply open the Preferences and choose the Map Tab Display settings. In the section labeled "Hypertext," choose PhotoGuide 3 from the Default Tool pop-up menu. That's it! Click OK to close the Preferences dialog.

MapDisplayPrefs

From now on, you can double-click a place name in any new map window to look it up in the PhotoGuide. Spend some time double-clicking a few place names and see what you discover.


 

Sep 19, 2011 David Lang

Linking Atlas and PhotoGuide

Our Graphics Bundle combines our interactive Bible Atlas, Bible Lands PhotoGuide, and interactive Timeline at a significant savings, which is probably why it's one of our best-selling products. To get the most out of this bundle, I recommend linking the Atlas and PhotoGuide in your preferences. Doing so will enable you to double-click a place name on the map to look it up in the PhotoGuide, giving you detailed information about that site along with spectacular and illustrative photographs.

MapSettings

To do this, simply open the Preferences panel and click the Map Tab Display settings. You'll then see a variety of settings you can tweak. In the section labeled Hypertext, select PhotoGuide 3 from the pop-up menu labeled Default tool.

That's all there is to it! From now on any new map you view will be linked to the PhotoGuide. Start double-clicking place names of interest and see what you discover.


 

Aug 29, 2011 David Lang

When the Trainers Got Trained

BerkeleySeminar If you've ever been to an Accordance training seminar, you know it can feel a little like drinking from a firehose. Rest assured that it's nothing compared to what many of those trainers went through a few years ago. Back then we invited prospective trainers from around the country to come to Orlando for two days of intensive Accordance instruction. Rather than giving them some script to follow in teaching a seminar, we made it our goal to make sure they became real Accordance experts. After all, a big part of leading a training seminar involves answering people's questions, and we wanted our trainers to have that ability in spades.

One of the things I remember about that two days of training is that we spent a lot of time going through every panel of the Accordance Preferences dialog. Now, when I'm teaching a training seminar, I'll open the Preferences and show a few options during the course of the day, but I don't have time to go through the preferences systematically. I'm too busy teaching people how to use Accordance's countless features. Still, if you really want to figure out how to customize Accordance to your specific needs, you would do well to explore the various settings in the preferences.

Maybe take one panel a day and explore its options. If you don't understand what something does, click the Help button for an explanation. You'll be amazed at some of the advanced ways you can tailor Accordance to your own particular needs.

In the next several posts, I'll highlight a few options I think every Accordance user should be aware of. Until then, are there Preference settings you've found particularly indispensible? If so, please let us know in the comments.

Oh, and if you're among the privileged few who experienced that trainers' training seminar in Orlando, feel free to reminisce about what you took away from it.


 

Oct 14, 2010 David Lang

Accordance 9: Limiting the Number of Zones

In my previous two posts I've discussed the new zones feature of Accordance 9. Zones lets you open different kinds of Accordance resources in different areas of your workspace. But what if you find the proliferation of zones to be a little too much? On a 27-inch iMac screen, you can view a half-dozen or more zones quite comfortably. But on a thirteen-inch MacBook screen, too many zones can quickly become unwieldy. That's why we let you limit the number of zones which Accordance can open.

MaxZones

If you go to Preferences, the first item in the General settings lets you set the Default maximum number of zones. If you're on a MacBook, try setting this maximum to 2 zones. If you begin with your Bible text in a single zone and open a tool, that tool will be opened in a second zone. If you then open other kinds of resources, they will only appear as tabs within one of your two existing zones. They will never automatically open a third zone in your workspace.

That doesn't mean you can't create a third zone yourself. Simply drag one of the tabs in either zone to a different area of the window and you can create a third zone. Do it again and you can add as many zones as you want. The preference setting merely restricts the number of zones Accordance can create automatically.

If for some reason you open a resource which cannot be opened in any of your existing zones, Accordance will simply open a new Workspace window. For example, Search details are a special category of resource which cannot appear in a zone with other kinds of resources. So if you set your default maximum number of zones to 2 and you already have a zone for texts and a zone for tools, when you choose to display Details those will be opened in a new Workspace window rather than one of the zones of your first Workspace.

If for some reason you want Accordance 9 to function just like Accordance 8, you can simply set your Default Maximum number of zones to 1. New resources will then always open as tabs within that single zone. Even so, you can still create additional zones when you want them.

By setting the maximum number of zones Accordance can open for you, you can ensure that zones are always a help and never a hindrance. On that 27-inch iMac, you may allow for an unlimited number of zones to be opened, while on your MacBook you may restrict it to just two or three. This simple preference setting puts you in control of how zones function for you.