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Tuesday, August 12, 2008  

Gold-Medal Shortcuts

I'm not generally much of a sports guy. During college football season, I admittedly obsess over how my alma mater is doing, but that's pretty much the only sport I care about. That is, until the Olympic Games roll around every four years. Then, all of a sudden, I get hooked on all kinds of sports I otherwise wouldn't follow.

In honor of the Olympic Games, I am going to award a few medals of my own. Now, while there can be no shortcuts to winning a gold medal (just ask Marion Jones!), Accordance does offer many keyboard shortcuts which are worthy of Olympic gold. In this post, I will award bronze, silver, and gold medals to those keyboard shortcuts which I think are the fastest, most powerful, and most versatile.

The Speedsters: These are keyboard shortcuts which enable you to get your work done faster.

The bronze medal goes to command-semicolon, which is used to toggle between Searching for Words and Verses in the Search window. This lets you keep your hands on the keyboard while entering a verse search or word search.

The silver medal goes to control-command-C, the keyboard shortcut for the Copy As Citation command. This little shortcut lets you copy text out of Accordance and have it formatted according to the custom citation style you set up in the Citation settings of the Preferences. When you paste into a word processor, the citation is already formatted the way you like, saving you lots of time.

The gold medal for speed goes to all the shift-command keyboard combinations, which we've reserved for inserting search commands into a search argument. Use shift-command-A to insert an AND command, shift-command-O for OR, etc. Let these shortcuts become second-nature to you, and you'll begin entering complex Boolean and proximity searches very quickly. Check out the Enter Command submenu of the Search menu for a complete listing of these I-feel-the-need-for-speed key commands.

Honorable mentions for speed go to the tab key for quickly selecting the contents of the argument entry box, the return key for quickly performing a search, and control-tab for quickly cycling through the tabs in a workspace.

The Heavy Lifters: These are keyboard shortcuts which give you access to power . . . Power . . . POWER!!!

The bronze medal goes to command-F, which opens the Search All window so that you can search some or all of your Accordance modules at once. Of course, you can also amplify to the Search All window directly by clicking and holding on the Search button of the Resource palette.

The silver medal goes to command-single quote, which is equivalent to clicking the Details button after doing a search. Using this shortcut gives you instant access to a wealth of statistical information about your search.

The gold medal goes to command-1, command-2, and command-3. These three shortcuts will automatically open a construct window and link to it. Command-1 opens the Simple Construct for searches in English (and other languages). Command-2 opens the Greek Construct for searches in Greek. And Command-3 opens the Hebrew construct for searches in Hebrew. The Construct window is incredibly powerful, enabling you to build very complex searches using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Innocuous as they seem, command-1, command-2, and command-3 give you quick access to some serious muscle.

The All-Around Athletes: These keyboard shortcuts offer the greatest amount of versatility, and so are likely to be the ones you use the most.

The bronze medal goes to command-comma, which opens the Preferences dialog. The Preferences include so many different options for customizing the appearance and performance of Accordance, that you'll find all kinds of opportunities to use this shortcut. By the way, command-comma is the standard Mac OS X shortcut for accessing a program's preferences, so this one will work for all your OS X programs.

The silver medal goes to command-U, which is the keyboard shortcut for editing a User Note, a User Tool, or a User Layer of the Atlas. That's a triathlon of custom resources you can create using a single, easy to remember keyboard-shortcut. By the way, you can also edit user notes and user tools simply by clicking in them and starting to type. Doing so will automatically open the Edit window for that user note or user tool.

The clear gold medal winner in terms of all-around usefulness has to be command-T, the one keyboard shortcut I say you absolutely must learn. Command-T was originally the shortcut for opening the Set Text Pane Display dialog, which lets you customize the display characteristics of your Bible texts (see the last couple of posts for more on that). As we've added new windows to Accordance for Tools, Maps, the Timeline, the various tabs of the Details workspace, and so on, Command-T has been extended to enable you to customize the appearance of a wide variety of resources. Basically, no matter where you are in Accordance, if you want to see what display options are available to customize, just use Command-T. You're almost certain to find a host of options you may never have realized were there.

Well, that's my breakdown of the medal-winners among Accordance keyboard shortcuts, but there are so many I'm sure I missed a number of worthwhile contenders. For a complete listing of keyboard shortcuts, go to Accordance Help and click on the "Reference section."

By the way, if you've got a favorite shortcut which you think got "robbed" by partisan judges, feel free to mention it in the comments on this post. As for me, I'm off to watch a blistering game of Olympic Badminton! ;-)

Just to point out that the semicolon is on the right of the key 'l'. Other languages, other places for certain keys, so this might help.

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