Mar 16, 2012 David Lang

Quickly Nix the Asterisk

All this week, I've been explaining the function of the asterisk in the search entry box of any new Search window you open in Accordance. On Monday, I explained that searching for this symbol with Verses selected will simply display all verses in the search text. On Tuesday and Thursday, I showed how searching for this symbol with Words selected will find and highlight every word, enabling you to do some really cool statistical analyses of those words. On Wednesday, I addressed the use of the asterisk symbol in Tools. Today, I want to end this series by showing you how to quickly nix that asterisk.

I'll sometimes see new Accordance users click with their mouse in the search entry box to place the cursor either before or after the asterisk which is already entered there. They'll then type their new search without realizing that they haven't removed the asterisk. When they run such a search, they either get an error message (if searching by Verses) or unexpected results (if searching by Words, where the asterisk acts as a wildcard representing any combination of characters). What they should have done was to remove the asterisk before entering their new search.

TabKey The easiest way to make sure you clear out a previous search before entering a new one is to press the Tab key on your keyboard. In Accordance, pressing the Tab key will automatically select the contents of the active tab's search entry box. That way, the next thing you type will replace whatever was there before.

To see how this works, try the following sequence of actions in a Search window with an English Bible as the search text and Words selected:

  1. Hit Tab, type "Adam," and hit Return.
  2. Hit Tab, type "Eve," and hit Return.
  3. Hit Tab, type "Eden," and hit Return.

Do you see how hitting the Tab key enables you to quickly enter a new search without removing one hand from the keyboard, dragging with the mouse to select the current search argument, hitting the Delete key to remove it, and then finally typing your new search? At the risk of sounding like Frank Gilbreth, that's a terrible "waste of motions." Mr. Gilbreth would have been pleased to discover the economy of motion represented by the Tab key.

So when you want to quickly nix the asterisk (or any other previous search), just hit the Tab key and type your new search.

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Archived Comments

Jeremy Brannon

March 16, 2012 9:21 PM

This tip really ranks among my favorite Accordance tricks. And it's really something that is a Mac-wide norm, but it is so very handy.