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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.


 

May 21, 2012 David Lang

Option Key Secrets: Close Multiple Panes, Tabs, or Zones

How often do you hold down the option key when using Accordance? If your answer is seldom to never, you're missing out on a lot of Accordance's power and convenience. In this new series of posts, I'll be sharing a series of option key secrets. Learn a few of these, and you'll be well on your way to being an Accordance power user.

In last Thursday's post, I showed how Accordance lets you pair any study Bible with any translation you wish. I even showed this screenshot of a search window with four parallel translations and three sets of study Bible notes.

4 translations and 3 study Bibles in parallel

Sometimes in the course of using Accordance, you'll open a number of resources in parallel panes like this. When you no longer need those extra panes, you can close each one by clicking its close icon, but in a case like this one, getting back to a single pane view would require six separate mouse-clicks. Surely there must be an easier way, right?

Enter the option key. If you option-click the close icon of the pane you want to keep, all the other panes will be closed in one easy step.

This trick works for tabs and zones as well. If you have a bunch of tabs in a zone and you want to get rid of all but one, option-click the close icon of the tab you want to keep. If you have a bunch of zones in a workspace and you want to get rid of all but one, option-click the close icon of the zone you want to keep.

By the way, you can use this same trick in Safari whenever you have multiple browser tabs open.


 

Oct 3, 2011 David Lang

Easily Get the Best of Both Worlds

In my previous post, I explained the difference between opening a commentary in a pane alongside your Bible text and opening it in a separate zone. In brief, opening a commentary in a pane has the advantage of automatically scrolling with the text, while opening a commentary in a separate zone lets you search and navigate the commentary itself. I also showed how you can manually tie the scrolling of a commentary in one zone with a Bible text in another: effectively giving you the best of both worlds. In today's post, I want to show you an even easier way to do that.

If you amplify from a Bible text to a commentary, the commentary will open in a separate zone which is automatically tied to the Bible text you amplified from. To see how this works, start with a Bible text and select any portion of a verse reference. Then select the desired commentary from the Reference Tools pop-up menu of the Resource palette.

AmplifyRefToolMenu

Not only will that commentary open in a new zone and display the commentary on the selected verse, it will also be tied to your Bible text so that it will scroll along with it. It's just that easy.

AmplifyRefTool


 

Sep 30, 2011 David Lang

Opening Commentaries in a Zone Versus a Pane

In Accordance, you can open a commentary (or any other reference-based tool) in a pane within your Bible search tab, or in a separate zone. So what are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach?

To open a commentary as a pane, select it from the Reference Tool pop-up menu on the right side of the Search window.

RefPaneMenu

The primary advantage of opening your commentary as a pane is that it will appear alongside your Bible text and scroll in sync with it. All you need to do is select the commentary you want and Accordance does the rest. You never have to worry about manually tying or syncing the two.

NICNT in parallel with Matthew

Opening a commentary in a pane is like creating a study Bible where the commentary follows along with the text. The primary means of accessing the commentary becomes the text itself: you navigate to the desired passage and the commentary follows along. Yet what if you want to focus more intently on the commentary itself: to search it, to use its table of contents, etc.? It is then that you'll want to open your commentary in a separate zone.

By opening your commentary in a separate zone, you have access to the search entry box at the top of the window, as well as the Browser pane and other features. The only downside of opening a commentary this way is that it will not automatically scroll in sync with your Bible text as it would in a pane.

You can, however, make it sync with your Bible text by tying the scrolling of the two windows. To do this, simply go to the Set submenu of the Window menu and choose the name of the resource you want to Tie with the current resource. For example, if your commentary zone is active and you have another zone with the HCSBS as the main Bible text, you would go to the menu and choose Tie to “HCSBS.” From that point on, your commentary will scroll in sync with the HCSB, just as if you had opened it as a pane in the HCSB window.

TieCommand

In my next post, I'll show you how you can open a commentary in a separate zone and have it tied to your Bible text automatically. Until then, let me remind you that the introductory sale on NICNT ends today. Buy it today and you save a hundred dollars off the regular price, so don't miss out.


 

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.


 

Oct 13, 2010 David Lang

Accordance 9: Hone Your Zones

Yesterday I described the new Zones feature of Accordance 9. Zones are areas of a workspace which can each contain multiple tabs. You might have a zone with tabs containing Bible texts, another zone with tabs containing dictionaries, and a third with tabs containing commentaries. Or you might divide your resources among zones completely differently. Zones are designed to let you work however you like.

Today I want to explain how new zones are created and how Accordance attempts to guess which zone you're going to want a new resource to appear in. While there's no way we could anticipate every possible use of zones, we have tried to create a system which is flexible enough to adjust to your way of working.

By default, a new zone will be created for each different kind of resource you open. For example, let's say you have a workspace containing only your default Bible and you choose to open the tagged Greek New Testament (GNT-T) from the resource palette. Since you've opened a second Text module, the GNT-T will appear in a new tab within your workspace's one zone. The first time you open a new Tool module, however, a new Tools zone will appear next to the current Texts zone. If you then open other tools, such as Greek or Hebrew lexicons, commentaries, or dictionaries, those will appear as tabs within the Tools zone. Other kinds of resources, such as Maps, Timelines, or Parallels, will open in additional zones.

ZonesExample2

That's how zones and tabs within those zones are opened by default, but if you create custom zones for specific purposes, Accordance will try to utilize those zones as effectively as possible. For example, let's say you have a tools zone with two tabs: one containing Anchor Bible Dictionary (an English Tool) and another containing the New American Commentary (a Reference Tool). You decide you want your commentaries to be in a separate zone, so you grab the tab containing NAC and drag it to another area of the workspace to create a new zone. You now have one zone with Anchor and another with NAC. From that point on, any additional reference tools you open will appear as a tab in the zone containing NAC, while other kinds of tools will be opened in the zone containing Anchor. In this way, Accordance tries to open resources in the most logical zone available.

ZonesExample3

Here's another possible scenario. Let's say I combine a Greek text like the GNT-T and a Greek Tool like BDAG in the same zone. From that point on, any Greek Text or Tool I open will appear as additional tabs in that Greek Resources zone.

ZonesExample4

In short, when you open a new resource in Accordance 9, Accordance looks at the available zones to see which one is the best fit for that kind of resource. And the logic is flexible enough to consider various ways of grouping resources: by resource type, by language, or by some combination thereof. Knowing this, you can hone your use of zones so that new resources open right where you want them.


 

Oct 12, 2010 David Lang

Accordance 9: Bible Study "in the Zone"

Yesterday I was at the library of the local seminary doing final checks on a major new Accordance module. I removed twenty-six thick volumes from the shelves and spread them across the table in order. As I found errors I needed to check against the print copies, I would locate each volume in turn, returning it to its place when I was done. That way, I could easily find that volume the next time I needed it.

Of course, no process of study is ever that neat and linear, so despite my best intentions, I soon had several open volumes spread across the table. Next thing I knew, I was shuffling among those loose volumes trying to find the one I needed.

One of the great challenges of in depth Bible study is the need to consult and manage multiple resources. Those who try to do it using physical books usually end up with multiple volumes spread across a desk, one hand with several fingers sandwiched like bookmarks between pages, and the other hand kept busy shuffling books around. The process eventually becomes so unwieldy that we leave helpful resources on the shelf because we already have too many on the desk.

Bible software makes managing multiple resources much easier, but how much easier depends on the program interface. From the very beginning, Accordance has tried to simplify the process of consulting multiple resources: first through panes (1.0), then through workspace tabs (6.0), and now through workspace zones (9.0).

The first five versions of Accordance had windows and panes within those windows. All non-Bible resources would open in a separate window, while multiple Bible texts could be viewed in parallel panes within the same window. Eventually, we added panes for reference tools and user notes, both of which follow Bible book, chapter, and verse order. Panes made scrolling through parallel resources a breeze. While other programs would require you to link separate windows so they would scroll together, Accordance window panes handled all of that automatically.

Panes were great, but any non-parallel resources—dictionaries, lexicons, grammars, and other books—had to be opened in separate windows. As the number of those resources proliferated, the amount of time spent managing, arranging, and shuffling among windows increased.

Accordance 6 therefore introduced the tabbed workspace window. The workspace is basically a container which will display other Accordance resources as tabs rather than as separate windows. Rather than shuffling among overlapping windows, switching between tabs is easy and immediate.

Of course, the downside of tabs is that the front tab covers everything behind it. To see resources side by side, you would need to detach tabs from the workspace and then arrange multiple windows again. It wasn't hard, but it wasn't obvious either.

Accordance 9 simplifies the management of multiple resources by adding zones. You can now divide your workspace window into multiple regions called "zones," and each of those zones can contain multiple tabs. Dr. J does an excellent job explaining the relationship of workspaces, zones, tabs, and panes in his podcast on zones, but I want to relate all of these interface elements to my initial description of how you would do in depth Bible study using print resources.

Think of the workspace window as your desk. When studying, you pull books from your shelves and lay them on your desk so you can work with them.

If you devote different areas of your desk to different kinds of resources, you're already used to the concept of zones. You might have a stack of dictionaries at one corner of the desk, a stack of commentaries at another, and a couple of print Bibles spread out in front of you.

The stack of dictionaries at one corner of your desk is analogous to an Accordance zone with multiple tabs. Grabbing a dictionary from the bottom of the stack and laying it open on top of that stack is like clicking a tab in a zone to bring it to the front.

Finally, parallel panes within an Accordance search tab are analogous to the columns of text in a parallel Bible or study Bible. You're looking at one resource which arranges other resources (different translations, footnotes, cross-references, etc.) in parallel, and as you flip through it these parallel resources automatically stay "in sync."

Workspace Zones

If we push the analogy further, you can rearrange the stacks on your desk however you like. You can take one of your Bibles and plop it on top of your stack of commentaries. Or stack commentaries and dictionaries together. You might even slide your Bibles to one side and slide the entire stack of dictionaries across the desk so that they are right in front of you. In the same way, you can arrange zones and tabs in an Accordance workspace however you like. Drag a Bible tab to a zone containing all dictionaries. Drag commentaries and dictionaries into a single zone. Or drag a zone containing multiple tabs to a different area of the workspace. You can even drag a zone with multiple tabs into another zone with multiple tabs to group all those tabs together in the same zone.

The new zones interface of Accordance 9 offers you unsurpassed flexibility and convenience in working with multiple resources. If you haven't seen it in action yet, be sure to check out Dr. J's excellent video podcast.