Earlier this year, we did a training seminar at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia. Moore college focuses a great deal of attention on teaching a particular exegetical method in which the students create a block diagram of each passage, write their own exegetical comments on the passage, and create their own working translation. Those who use Accordance generally do this by creating three sets of user notes, which they'll conveniently view in parallel panes alongside the passage.
Yet while it is convenient to view all these user notes files in parallel panes, it has not been convenient to edit them—a fact which the students at Moore made very clear. The inconvenience stems from the fact that Accordance does not let you edit the user notes directly. For both programmatic and interface reasons, Accordance requires you to open a separate Edit window when editing user notes. For most users, who may only be viewing one set of notes at a time, opening a separate edit window is not necessarily a major hindrance, but for the folks at Moore, whose screens are taken up with the text in parallel with three notes panes, keeping three additional Edit windows open proved to be a frustrating challenge.
Several Moore students took the time to describe in detail their exegetical method and the reason they were so insistent about wanting to avoid opening three extra windows. While Accordance 8.1 does not do away with the Edit window, it does offer a more convenient way to edit your user notes in place: simply click in a user notes pane and start typing.
When you do, an Edit window will appear directly above the user notes pane without obscuring anything else on screen. When you're done making changes, simply hit the Enter key to get rid of the Edit window and return to viewing the notes pane.
This change to the placement and dismissal of the Edit window should greatly improve the workflow of those who employ user notes to create running commentaries as they study the text. By clicking in the note pane and typing even just a space, the Edit window will appear. By option-clicking the up or down arrow buttons in the Edit window, you can add new notes on the next or preceding verses. And when you're ready to get rid of the Edit window, you need only hit Enter to save and view your changes.
By the way, if you prefer to work with a larger Edit window placed off to the side somewhere, simply use command-U to open the Edit window instead of typing directly. Your default Edit window location will be used when you do.
The folks at Moore College are enthusiastic users who are really pushing the user notes feature, and we know 8.1 hasn't delivered everything they'd like. Still, we hope these improvements will help facilitate their exegetical method, and that they will make life easier for other Accordance users as well.