Sep 28, 2012 David Lang

Opening and Amplifying in Accordance 10

Accordance has always offered two distinct ways to access any resource. You can simply open it, in which case you'll get a new window showing the beginning of that resource; or you can amplify to it. Before you can amplify to a resource, you must first select a word or verse reference you want to look up in that resource. For example, if I select a word like "Heaven" in a Bible text, and then amplify to an English Bible dictionary, that dictionary will automatically open to the first article which mentions heaven. As I said, Accordance has always let you choose between simply opening a resource or amplifying to it. How you do each of those things has changed somewhat over the years.

Way back when we first introduced tools such as commentaries and dictionaries in Accordance 2.0, you opened such resources by opening a new tool window from the File menu. To amplify, you could choose the resource you wanted from the Amplify menu or the Amplify palette. The Amplify palette was a vertical palette with buttons representing each kind of resource. You selected the text you wanted to look up, then chose the resource you wanted from one of those pop-up menu buttons.

The Amplify palette could only be used to amplify a selection. If you chose a resource from that palette without first selecting some text to look up, you would get an error message. We soon found, however, that users wanted to be able to open a specific resource from the Amplify palette, and they were frustrated that they couldn't.

In version 3 or 4, we added another palette called the New Window palette that could be used to open resources without having to amplify to them. This palette was horizontally oriented and contained most of the same buttons as the Amplify palette. By having two separate palettes, we kept the open and amplify functions clearly separate, but we also doubled the number of buttons, and people would sometimes get confused as to which palette to use.

In version 6, we overhauled the interface to adapt to OS X's new look and feel, and we reduced clutter by combining the functions of the New Window and Amplify palettes. Here's a rather fuzzy pair of screenshots from an old article I wrote about those changes.

Accordance 5 (left) featured the New Window and Amplify palettes. Accordance 6 (right) consolidated them into one Resource palette.

Note how the New Window and Amplify palettes (left) were replaced with a single Resource palette (right). If you selected some text to look up before choosing a resource from the palette, Accordance would amplify to that resource and search for your selected text. If you did not have any text selected to look up, the resource you chose from the Resource palette would simply be opened. If you ever wanted to override the selection and just open a resource, you could hold down the Control key on your keyboard or right-click.

In general, this was a great improvement, but the double function of the Resource palette did confuse some users. If you had text selected and didn't know it, you could try to open a resource from the Resource palette and be surprised to find that it had performed a search you didn't intend. Over the years we made improvements to try to alleviate this kind of confusion, but ultimately, we recognized the need to separate the open and amplify functions once again.

Accordance 10 therefore clearly distinguishes opening from amplifying, while avoiding undue clutter or duplicating interface elements. If you locate a resource in your library, you can always open it by double clicking its name or book cover. If you have text selected, you can also click the Amplify button which appears when you hover over that resource. This way, even when you have a selection, you can always choose between opening and amplifying.


Likewise, you can use the Toolbar to open and amplify. Selecting a resource from the New item will open it. Selecting a resource from the Amplify icon will search it for the currently selected text. You can also use the Amplify menu of the menu bar.

By making resources accessible through the Toolbar and Library, we've eliminated the need for the Resource palette altogether. Even though the Amplify/Resource palette has been a central feature of the Accordance interface since the very beginning, I've been pleasantly surprised at how few long-time users have complained about its removal. Most of you have quickly adjusted to these new ways of accessing resources, and we hope the clear distinction between opening and amplifying is making Accordance much easier and more enjoyable to use.

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Archived Comments

Mark Nigro

September 29, 2012 2:06 AM

I've had no trouble adjusting to the new ways we open and amplify to/from texts and resources in v.10. The change is perfect! And for the infrequent occasion that I might want to open or amplify without my 'Library' pane open, I've got the 'New' and 'Amplify' icons in a custom toolbar. Couldn't be happier!

Kevin Soars

October 15, 2012 5:53 PM

Thank you David for another very clear and helpful teaching. I know that it must involve quite some time and work for you but I do look forward to more of your teachings to help me (and others) to get more and more used to Accordance 10.