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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006  

Leveraging Your Options

In yesterday's post, I explained that even though Accordance offers a dizzying array of features and options, the consistency of the Accordance interface reduces the learning curve and makes it easy to master most of what there is to learn. To see what I mean, let's look at the Define Ranges dialog box:

You use the Define Ranges dialog box to define ranges of Bible books, chapters, and verses to search. If you want to limit a search to the "Torah" or the "Gospels," you can do it by defining those ranges. Once defined, these ranges appear in the Search Range pop-up menu located in the More Options section of the Search window. To access the Define Ranges dialog box, just choose "Define Range..." either from the Search menu or from the Search Range pop-up menu itself.

This dialog box consists of a list of current ranges (top left); buttons for creating a new range, deleting a range, or moving a range up and down in the list (top right); a field for entering the name of the range; and a field for entering the books, chapters, and verses which define the range. To define a new range, simply click the New button, give your range a name and definition, then click the Update button. Your new range will now appear in the Search range pop-up menu and be easily accessible forever afterward. What could be simpler?

Now let's look at the Define Highlight Styles dialog box. This dialog box is where you define the colors, shapes, and patterns you want to use in highlighting the text of the Bible. To open this dialog box, choose "Define Highlight Styles..." from the Display menu.

Look familiar? You've got a list of styles; buttons for creating, deleting, and arranging styles; a field for naming the style; and pop-ups for defining the style. If you know how to define search ranges, you know how to define highlight styles.

Want to create a Tool Set, a Search All group, a Map layer, or a Timeline layer? Call up the dialog boxes for those options and you'll see a layout very similar to the two we've looked at here. Want to rearrange your Text and Tool modules? Select the appropriate module type from the Edit Modules submenu of the Edit menu, and you'll see very much the same thing.

I'd be willing to bet that many of you have never even looked at some of these options. But if you've learned to use just one of these dialog boxes, you already know the basics of working with all the others. That's a world of customization at your fingertips, and I hope you'll agree that the learning curve has been anything but steep.

I hope you'll agree that the learning curve has been anything but steep.

Agreed -- I'd define Accordance as "powerful and accessible." As you mentioned in this and the previous blog entry, there is a lot of stuff under the covers in Accordance. I'll probably never learn how to use everything that's available -- but it's not because it's hard to learn. It's because the aspects that I need to know how to use for the study that I do is easily available. Every time I explore deeper and learn how to use some of Accordance's other powerful features, I'm blown away.

Thanks for keeping this blog -- it's really helping me to learn how to better use the tools I have available to me in Accordance.

The ability to define search ranges that you can access from a menu is a wonderfully useful feature. I do have a "wish" for the feature, though: the ability to use submenus instead of organizing subsections with space characters.

Can you give an example of a user tool set and how it might function for a user. I see that guy on my tool bar all the time but haven't figured out how it might functionally work well for me. An example might be helpful.

I enjoy the screenshots.. It gives us a little insight into how you have Accordance set up, such as your defintion styles, and search ranges.

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