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

Thursday, February 22, 2007  

Atlas: Custom Site Layers and Site Sets

I'm sorry for the lack of posts this week. I've got a post about HTML import of User Tools waiting in the wings, but I want to verify some things before I post it. In the meantime, here's an interesting question I received from a user about the Accordance Bible Atlas. Hopefully some of you will find my answer helpful:

Questions concerning Atlas
1) Can you edit site names? Change font color, bold italics, etc.
I am trying to create a map of the cities that Joshua defeated. I would like to highlight by chapters as we go through the book of Joshua, i.e. chapter 11 site names in red, chapter 12 in blue, etc.
2) Will any version of Atlas allow me to do that?

The answer to these questions is, "Yes! You can do what you're asking with any version of the Atlas."

You can set up a layer of sites in a couple different ways, and can customize the font, size, style, color, marker, etc. of all the sites in that layer.

First, you can set up a regular Site Layer by going into the Sites pop-up menu and choosing Define Site Layer. In the dialog that appears, you can create a new layer, set up the look of the labels, and specify which sites you want to appear using a database of Biblical and Archaeological criteria. The advantage of this approach is that it is quick and easy. The disadvantage is that you cannot pick the sites you want to appear by name.

To create a layer displaying a specific list of sites, you can choose Custom Site Layer from the Sites pop-up menu. In the dialog that appears, you can create a new layer, give it a name (Joshua 11, for example), set up the look of the labels, and then pick the sites you want to include.

An even better way to do it is to use the following shortcut:

  1. Start with the text of the Bible, and as you're reading through Joshua 11, select each site name and click the Map button on the Resource palette. A Map window will open displaying that site highlighted in red. Now go back to the text of the Bible, select the name of the next site you run across, and click the Map button again. Now two sites will be highlighted on the Map. Continue this process until you've gotten through the entire chapter.
  2. Now open the Sites pop-up menu on the Map window and choose "Convert to Custom Layer." This will take all the highlighted sites and add them to a new custom layer. You just give it a name and set the font, size, and style characteristics.
  3. Next, go to chapter 12 and repeat the process. You will soon have a separate site layer for each chapter of Joshua, each with labels in different colors or styles.
  4. Now, what if you want to view all of these separate layers at the same time? First, hold down the shift key and select each layer. In this way, you can display multiple layers on the map at the same time. You can then choose Convert to Site Set from the Sites pop-up menu to create a single set which combines all of these individual layers. Call it something like "Cities in Joshua," and you'll have a single menu item which will display all those layers at once.

Obviously, not all of you are going to want to color-code cities in Joshua by chapter, but I hope you can see how easy it is to set up Custom site layers in the Atlas and even to combine multiple layers into sets. You can do the same thing with Region and Route layers as well.

Oh, and by the way, if you want to see the events of Joshua 11 unfold before your eyes, be sure to choose the animated Route layer entitled "Battle of the Waters of Merom."

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