Accordance Blog
Apr 22, 2014 Matt Kenyon

Workspace Wednesday

We at Accordance believe that our software is so much more than just a tool to study the Bible. It's a means of community and creativity. We've created Workspace Wednesday because we want to give you a chance to show us your creative workflow in Accordance.

Watch the video to find out how you can participate:

Join us on social media to post your workspace:

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How it works:

  • Take a screenshot of your workspace
  • Post the screenshot to the comments section of our Workspace Wednesday post every Wednesday
  • Hashtag the post with #work_wed
  • Eagerly await sweet victory

How to take a screenshot of your desktop:

Mac users: the keyboard shortcut ⌘Cmd+Shift+3 will take a screenshot of your screen and place the image file on your desktop. If done correctly, you should hear the sound of a camera taking a snapshot.

Windows users: the keyboard shortcut ⌘Win+PrntScrn will take a screenshot of your screen and automatically save it in the Screenshots folder within your pictures folder.

For more information on how to take screenshots with earlier versions of Windows, follow this link.

May the best workspace win!


Mar 28, 2014 David Lang

Accounting for Spelling Differences

In a recent thread on the Accordance User Forums, someone looking for purchasing advice asked some questions about an Accordance tool called the Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. This dictionary provides in depth biographical information about a variety of figures in the history of the early church, and it just happens to be a great example of a little-known feature of some Accordance tools. This short video demonstration will show you what I mean.



Mar 27, 2014 David Lang

Throwback Thursday: Tools for Accordance 2

AccordanceLogo We've been doing a lot of reminiscing lately, and I promise we'll get back to helpful tips and other kinds of posts soon. Still, since it's Thursday again, I'll continue reminiscing for "Throwback Thursday." In my most recent post, I went back before my own involvement with Accordance to look at Accordance pre-history. Before I took that detour, however, I was beginning to talk about the development of Accordance 2.0. In this post, I'll pick up there.

For me, the most promising feature planned for Accordance 2.0 was the addition of "Tools"—reference works like lexicons, commentaries, dictionaries, and so on. As I explained in a previous post, Accordance 1.0 offered incredible depth with respect to searching the Bible in English and the original languages, but it was not yet broad enough to serve as a complete Bible study solution. As a language student, I was most in need of a good Greek and Hebrew dictionary. In fact, before I started working for Accordance, I cobbled together a dictionary for my own use using a development environment called HyperCard. It was a nifty little resource, but I was looking forward to the day when I would have a dictionary integrated into Accordance itself.

I remember being both excited about and a little frustrated by each new feature that was added during the development cycle for Accordance 2.0. You see, I most wanted Tools, but it seemed that every other feature on the list was developed first. When I was shown the new Reference List feature, I was impressed by it, but remember thinking, "That's cool, but when are we gonna get tools?" I felt the same way about User Notes, the Parallel window, and most of the other improvements. They were all great, but I most wanted Tools. When the time finally came for Tools to be developed, I was absolutely champing at the bit.

Had I been a little more aware back then of all the work that would go into the development of Tool modules, I imagine I would have been a little more patient. All kinds of decisions had to be made before one could just whip out a dictionary or a commentary. What kinds of tools would we offer? How would they be organized and accessed from within the program? What kinds of searching and navigation would be possible? And of course, there were more technical considerations I wasn't even aware of.

I'm sure I had some input into the way Accordance tools were designed and implemented, but most of the things that make Accordance tool modules unique were conceived by our lead programmer. If I remember correctly, the first Accordance tool module was the concise Greek dictionary included at the back of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament. Edited by Barclay Newman, we simply called it "Newman." We released a revised edition of this first Accordance tool not long ago.


Even that first Accordance tool supported multiple fields which could be searched independently, a simple hierarchical table of contents, internal hypertext links, and the ability to amplify from a selection of text. After I was shown the features of this first prototype module, I was tasked with developing other tools. I believe the first tool I ever worked on was Louw & Nida—another Greek lexicon which offered greater depth and an innovative design very different from Newman. The additional features of this lexicon prompted the development of additional enhancements to our Tool modules.


At the same time I was working on Louw & Nida, another seminary student named Greg, who had been hired shortly after I was, began working on other tools. Though we worked separately out of our homes, Greg and I began calling each other for help with any problems we might run into, to discuss possible improvements to the development tools we were using, etc. We were becoming the Accordance module development team, and while we eventually took on a variety of other roles and responsibilities, we would continue to pitch in developing new modules for the next two decades.

I believe I finished Louw & Nida a few weeks before we were scheduled to exhibit at the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in November of 1995. Although Accordance 2.0 was not yet ready for release, we wanted to give our users a sneak peek at our upcoming Tool modules, but we only had a couple of Greek lexicons finished. I seem to recall that Greg was hurrying to finish the abridged BDB Hebrew lexicon, but we still needed some English tools and commentaries. I hurriedly began converting a few simple public domain resources into Accordance tools to give the folks at ETS and SBL an idea of the breadth of material we hoped to offer. I actually flew to the conferences with a couple of new modules my employers hadn't even seen yet!

I'll tell you about some of the things that happened at those conferences in my next Throwback Thursday post. In the meantime, we'd like to know which Accordance tool modules you find most helpful. Please let us know in the comments on this post.


Feb 19, 2014 David Lang

Even E-Books Can't Do This

On Monday, I showed you how to display only the captioned images in a tool so you can easily scroll through all the pictures. This trick, which I use often when checking modules just prior to their release, involves searching every word in a field and then choosing to show only the hit paragraphs. As you might have guessed, a trick like this has lots of other potential uses as well.

For example, yesterday Jeremy posted a very helpful introduction to the just-released Pentateuch volumes of the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary. Among the features he highlighted is the fact that each commentator provides his or her own translation of the passage under discussion. These translations are, of course, interspersed with the other kinds of content Jeremy mentioned, such as the Textual Notes, the Comment section which treats the passage as a whole, and the Notes section which offers verse-level commentary.

This is, of course, a natural arrangement for a commentary, but what if you wanted to begin your study by reading through the Anchor Bible's translation of an entire passage? With the print commentary, you would have to read the translation for one section, then flip past all the commentary before you could pick up reading the translation of the next section. When viewing the commentary normally in Accordance, you would have to scroll past all the commentary or use the more efficient method of clicking the title of each section in the Table of Contents pane. Yet one of the great advantages of Accordance is that we don't just treat modules like electronic equivalents of a book. On the contrary, we leverage the power of the computer to enable you to access each book in new and powerful ways.

In this case, we can avoid navigating past all the commentary we don't need at the moment so that we can focus exclusively on the translation, and we can do it using the same trick we used for images. Simply choose the Translation field, enter ?* (question mark-asterisk) to search for every word, and hit Return. Then choose Paragraphs from the Show Text As submenu of the gear menu.


Now you can read large portions of the translation even if they are divided among various commentary sections. In the screenshot below, the translations of Genesis 2:1-4a and Genesis 2:4b–24 appear in separate sections, but we have changed the display so that they appear as a continuous text.


While purchasing large commentary sets in Accordance is always much less expensive than purchasing them in print, they still represent a substantial investment. Accordance lets you maximize that investment by offering the flexibility to access content in ways impossible with a print volume or even other electronic formats.


Jan 1, 2013 David Lang

TIP: See Where You Are In A Tool

When searching an Accordance Tool module, you may get results which are buried deep within a long article. When that happens, how can you see the wider context of where you are in the tool?

For example, let's say I search the Titles field of the Holman Bible Dictionary for the word "judges." Here's the first result I get:


This is obviously a subarticle within a much larger article, but how can I find out which one? I could obviously scroll back until I got to the beginning of the article, but if it's a very long article, that's not particularly practical.

So here's the trick: if you hold the option key down while clicking the Table of Contents icon, the Contents browser will open and automatically drill down through all the higher levels of the current article, enabling me to see immediately that this is a subarticle of "Israel, Land of."


If I decide that's not what I'm looking for and I click the down Mark arrow to examine other occurrences of the word "judges," I'll eventually come to an article under the alphabetical heading "K."


The option-click trick works here as well. I need only option-click the disclosure triangle next to the letter K to have Accordance drill down and show that the current subarticle belongs to the article "King, Kingship."


Using this trick enables you to see from the surrounding context whether a search result is what you're looking for, which is a lot faster than reading each article or scrolling back to its beginning.


Feb 16, 2012 David Lang

Tip: Use the Go To Box to Navigate a Tool

Picture this: you open Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary and want to go to the main article on David. You could search the Entry field for the word "David," but that would give you every article and subarticle which mentions David. You would then have to hit the down Mark arrow a half-dozen times to jump to the main article on David.

A much simpler approach is not to do a search at all, but to use the Go To box in the bottom right corner of the Tool tab. Simply enter "David" in that box and hit Return to navigate to the article which begins with the word David.


How well entering something in the Go To box will take you to your desired article depends to some extent on the contents of the tool, but for dictionaries like Anchor which tend to have standard articles, this approach works really well.


Aug 18, 2011 David Lang

See Links in Your Preferred Translation

On Monday, I showed you some tricks for seeing more than one Scripture link in a tool at the same time. Today, I want to show how you can specify which Bible text displays when you hover over or click on a Scripture link in an Accordance tool.

For example, let's say your default Bible is an English translation, but you want the links in BDAG to go to the Greek New Testament rather than an English translation. If they're Old Testament references, you want those to go to the Greek Septuagint. Is that even possible?

This is Accordance we're talking about: of course it's possible. To do this, simply open up BDAG and use the one keyboard shorcut every Accordance user must learn: command-T.

As I've explained before, command-T opens the Display settings for nearly every kind of window in Accordance. If you do that from a tool like BDAG, you'll get this dialog box:


As you can see, this dialog lets me set the font, style, and other aspects of BDAG's appearance. It also lets me customize the way hypertext links are handled. If I wanted links to appear in Burgundy italic instead of Blue underline, I could do that here. I can also specify the text and alternate text any Scripture links should display. The alternate text will only be used if the primary text does not contain the verses a link references. In this case, since I set my primary text to GNT-T and my alternate text to LXX1, any New Testament references will display the primary text, and any Old Testament references will use the alternate text.

It's as simple as that! If I want this change to be temporary, I can just click OK and these texts will be used as long as the current BDAG window remains open. Any other BDAG window I open would still use the default settings. If I want to make this change the default setting for BDAG, then I would click the Use as Default button before I click OK to close the dialog.


Aug 15, 2011 David Lang

Scripture Link Tricks

In describing his workflow, Pastor Levi Durfey mentioned a feature he uses to explore cross-references to a passage. It's a little known feature, and there is another related to it, so I want to go over Scripture links in detail.

Of course, you all know that when you're looking at a series of Scripture links in a tool, you can hover over each one to see it in the Instant Details box, or you can click the link to open the passage in a separate window. But what if you want to see all the cross-references in a separate window? Do you have to click each link in turn? Of course not. This is Accordance!

If you simply hold down the command-key while clicking any Scripture link, every link in the paragraph will automatically be opened in a text window. So if you're looking at a cross-reference tool, command-clicking any of the cross-references will show you all of them. Or if you're looking at a dictionary, command-clicking one reference will show all the references in that paragraph.

Command-clicking a link in the Cross References tool opens all the links.

Now, what if you want to view more than one link, but not all the links? Say you're looking at an article in BDAG that lists a string of five references as examples of a given usage. You want to see those five references without the noise of all the other references in the paragraph (which may refer to other usages). To do that, simply drag a selection from some point inside the first Scripture link to some point inside the last link you want. Like this:

Selecting several Scripture links will open only those passages.

As long as you start and end your selection inside different links, all the Scripture links inside the selection will be opened in a text window. This is the tip Pastor Durfey mentioned as one of his favorite features.

Learn these two simple tricks—command-clicking a Scripture link and selecting multiple links—and you'll be able to see exactly the verses you want to see.


Jul 18, 2011 David Lang

Finding Relevant Commentaries

Accordance offers a lot of commentaries, and their number is growing all the time. Some commentaries cover a single book, some an entire testament or the whole Bible, and some an odd assortment of books. Series like Pillar, MacArthur, NIGTC, etc. are missing volumes that have not yet been published, and it's hard to remember which of these commentaries includes a volume on Ephesians. Accordance makes it easy to jump from the text of the Bible to a commentary, but how do you know which commentary will have something on that passage?

The simplest way to find out is to select the reference for the passage you're working in, then choose the group of modules you want to search for that verse. For example, if I'm looking at Ephesians 2:10, I can simply double-click the reference to select it. Then I'll click the Search button of the Resource palette and choose the group of modules I want to search. If I haven't created any of my own custom search groups, I would just choose [All Tools], but since I've already created a group containing all my commentaries, I'll choose that.


A Search All window will now open listing every commentary which cites Ephesians 2:10. The default sort order of Importance will place every commentary which has Ephesians 2:10 in its Reference field at the top of the list, so I can see immediately which commentaries actually comment on Ephesians 2:10.


Now I can simply double-click any of the commentaries listed to open them right to Ephesians 2:10.

Another way to accomplish this is to right- or control-click the reference for Ephesians 2:10 in your Bible text, then choose the group you want from the Search All submenu of the contextual menu.



Jul 13, 2011 David Lang

Using the Show Pop-up Menu

One of the things that makes Accordance tools unique is that you can show as much or as little of the text as you want. The other day I showed how you could select a couple of articles in the Tool browser and then display only those two articles. That way you can print, copy, and otherwise interact with just the articles you want.

The portions of a tool you see are determined by your search argument and the current setting of the Show pop-up menu. By default, the Show pop-up is set to All Text. That means that when you do a search, the results are displayed in the context of the entire tool. To navigate from hit to hit, you would use the up and down Mark buttons. If, however, you set the Show pop-up to Articles, Accordance will show only the articles which are found by your search.

For example, the Greek lexicon Louw & Nida has multiple articles for words which have a wide range of semantic meanings. In print, you need to use an index to find them all, but in Accordance, you just search for the word and get every hit. If you set the Show pop-up menu to Articles, you can see all the hit articles at a glance, copy them into a document, print them out to take to class, etc.


The other options in the Show pop-up menu let you show even less context. Paragraphs will show only the paragraphs which contain a search hit. That view is so condensed it can actually be hard to know which articles the hit paragraphs are from, so the Add Titles option adds the article titles for each hit paragraph.

Now that you know about the Show pop-up menu, you can do some really cool things. For example, someone recently asked if there was a way to highlight a tool as he reads, then search for all the highlighted text so he can copy just the highlighted phrases without the intervening text. While we can't reduce the context to show just the highlighted phrases, you can use the Paragraph option to show only the paragraphs which contain a highlight. Like this:


You'll still have to copy just the phrases you want, but at least you can see them all together at a glance.