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

Monday, July 21, 2008  

Cool Atlas Tricks (and one for the Timeline)

Someone asked me recently if there is a more elegant way to zoom into an area of the Atlas than using the In and Out buttons. Of course there is! In fact, there are several ways to zoom.

First, you can hold the Shift key down while clicking the In and Out buttons to zoom in and out more quickly. You can also hold the Option key while clicking the Out button to instantly zoom out far enough to see the entire map.

If you don't want to use the buttons at all, you can hold down the Shift and Command keys while clicking any point on the map to zoom in on that location.

My favorite way to zoom in on an area is simply to drag my mouse to draw a marquee around it (a marquee is one of those flashing selection boxes) and then to double-click anywhere inside the marquee. Doing this will essentially fill the window with the area you've selected. So if you're zoomed all the way out and you drag a tiny box around some portion of Israel, you'll immediately zoom in to that area.

Another favorite Atlas trick of mine is the ability to option-drag to measure distances. When you option-drag from one point to another on the map, the distance between those points will be given in the Instant Details box. If, while doing this, you click the mouse button and drag in a different direction, the distance will continue to accrue, so that you can follow along with a route to measure its real distance. For example, if you display Paul's Second Missionary Journey and then option-drag-click-and-drag to follow each change of direction, you'll discover that he traveled more than 700 miles from Syrian Antioch to Troas. If we could only measure the distance between those points as the crow flies, we would get a very misleading distance of 585 miles.

By the way, you can also option-drag across the Timeline to measure temporal "distance." For example, you can option-drag from the beginning of David's life to the various events in his life to find out how old he was. Drag to his adultery with Bathsheba and the age you get might surprise you.

Great tip. That work better, especially when using the atlas with a projector during a lesson.

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