This is the second in a series of posts on Accordance preferences. Yesterday we covered some of the General settings. Today, we'll cover the rest of them.
In addition to letting you choose how you want Accordance to start up and what information dialogs you want to have displayed, the General settings let you tweak Accordance's amplify behavior.
When you select a word or verse reference in Accordance, you can then choose to search for that selected text in any Accordance resource. This is the process we call amplifying. For example, let's say you select the Greek word λόγος in John 1:1, then choose BDAG from the Amplify menu on the Toolbar. A new tab containing BDAG will automatically be opened to the entry on λόγος.
There's something else to notice about this search: in addition to searching for the selected word in the Greek Entry field, Accordance has also searched the Scripture field for John 1:1. This makes it easy to click the down Mark button to find where John 1:1 is cited in this long article.
Doing a search for both the selected word and the verse in which it appears can also help to distinguish among homographs: words that are spelled the same but mean different things.
This two-pronged searching when you amplify is almost always a good thing, especially since Accordance will still find the selected word even if the current verse is not cited. Still, there are some users who just want to search for the selected word without also including the verse reference. Consequently, the General preferences has a checkbox labeled Include reference when amplifying from text to tool. Uncheck that box, and Accordance will only search for the selected word without including the verse reference.
Another Amplify setting you can choose is Require selection for amplifying. If this box is checked, you must drag or double-click to select a word or verse reference before amplifying. If this box is unchecked, you can simply click in a word or verse reference so that the cursor is blinking inside it, and Accordance will regard that as a valid selection. Thus, you could simply click inside the word λόγος in John 1:1 to select it. Many users like this convenience: you can simply click to select something and then amplify. However, others find it too easy to click something and select it without meaning to. If you're in the latter camp, check this box to make sure you must do more than just click to select something.
The last Amplify option in the General preferences is Confine amplify to the same workspace. If you find yourself opening more than one workspace at a time, you may want to consider this option. Let's say I have one workspace for New Testament studies, and I amplify a word in the Greek New Testament to look it up in a Greek lexicon. In another workspace, I have the Greek Septuagint text, and I decide to amplify one of those words to look it up in that same Greek lexicon. Because I already have a copy of that lexicon open in the New Testament workspace, Accordance will look up my Septuagint word there, in my NT Studies Workspace.
If, however, I have Confine amplify to the same workspace checked, Accordance will open a second copy of my lexicon in the same workspace as my Septuagint text. That way, each workspace will have its own copy of my lexicon that will only be used when I amplify from a word in that workspace.
The last section of the General settings offers two more general options. When drag and drop text editing was first introduced, some long-time Mac users found it disconcerting, so we allow you to disable it. Also, the default behavior of the Accordance Slide Show mode is to advance to the next slide when the mouse is clicked. If you don't want mouse clicks to advance slides, you can specify that they be ignored.
That's it for the General preferences. Next we'll look at the Appearance settings.
Last week I wrote a series of posts designed to teach you powerful original language search techniques. In the final post of that series, we did a search for any inflected form spelled epsilon-iota-sigma (regardless of its breathing mark and accent), finding two inflections of the lexical form εἷς, along with three inflections of the preposition εἰς. This screenshot shows both the Search tab and the Analysis which we customized to list the inflected forms beneath each lexical form.
The unusual thing about this search result is that it found one occurrence of the preposition εἰς which has an acute accent. Since εἰς does not usually take an accent, it's natural to want to check out the accented occurrence. But how can you find it?
Now that you've read through all the posts of the previous blog series, you should be able to figure out how to construct a search for the one occurrence of the inflected form εἴς, but it's easier just to have Accordance do it for you. To do that, simply select the form εἴς in the Analysis window, then choose Search Current Resource from the Amplify button of the Toolbar.
This will open a new search tab with the search already defined for you and the result displayed.
From this we can see that the preposition εἰς is accented because it is immediately followed by an enclitic—that is, a word that causes the preceding word to be accented. That's the kind of thing that is only important to die-hard Greek geeks, but I hope you can see the convenience of amplifying from the Analysis tab. Whenever you see a word or form listed that you just want to explore further, simply select it and go to the Analysis button of the toolbar. It's quick, it's slick, and it's easy.
Accordance has always offered two distinct ways to access any resource. You can simply open it, in which case you'll get a new window showing the beginning of that resource; or you can amplify to it. Before you can amplify to a resource, you must first select a word or verse reference you want to look up in that resource. For example, if I select a word like "Heaven" in a Bible text, and then amplify to an English Bible dictionary, that dictionary will automatically open to the first article which mentions heaven. As I said, Accordance has always let you choose between simply opening a resource or amplifying to it. How you do each of those things has changed somewhat over the years.
Way back when we first introduced tools such as commentaries and dictionaries in Accordance 2.0, you opened such resources by opening a new tool window from the File menu. To amplify, you could choose the resource you wanted from the Amplify menu or the Amplify palette. The Amplify palette was a vertical palette with buttons representing each kind of resource. You selected the text you wanted to look up, then chose the resource you wanted from one of those pop-up menu buttons.
The Amplify palette could only be used to amplify a selection. If you chose a resource from that palette without first selecting some text to look up, you would get an error message. We soon found, however, that users wanted to be able to open a specific resource from the Amplify palette, and they were frustrated that they couldn't.
In version 3 or 4, we added another palette called the New Window palette that could be used to open resources without having to amplify to them. This palette was horizontally oriented and contained most of the same buttons as the Amplify palette. By having two separate palettes, we kept the open and amplify functions clearly separate, but we also doubled the number of buttons, and people would sometimes get confused as to which palette to use.
In version 6, we overhauled the interface to adapt to OS X's new look and feel, and we reduced clutter by combining the functions of the New Window and Amplify palettes. Here's a rather fuzzy pair of screenshots from an old article I wrote about those changes.
Note how the New Window and Amplify palettes (left) were replaced with a single Resource palette (right). If you selected some text to look up before choosing a resource from the palette, Accordance would amplify to that resource and search for your selected text. If you did not have any text selected to look up, the resource you chose from the Resource palette would simply be opened. If you ever wanted to override the selection and just open a resource, you could hold down the Control key on your keyboard or right-click.
In general, this was a great improvement, but the double function of the Resource palette did confuse some users. If you had text selected and didn't know it, you could try to open a resource from the Resource palette and be surprised to find that it had performed a search you didn't intend. Over the years we made improvements to try to alleviate this kind of confusion, but ultimately, we recognized the need to separate the open and amplify functions once again.
Accordance 10 therefore clearly distinguishes opening from amplifying, while avoiding undue clutter or duplicating interface elements. If you locate a resource in your library, you can always open it by double clicking its name or book cover. If you have text selected, you can also click the Amplify button which appears when you hover over that resource. This way, even when you have a selection, you can always choose between opening and amplifying.
Likewise, you can use the Toolbar to open and amplify. Selecting a resource from the New item will open it. Selecting a resource from the Amplify icon will search it for the currently selected text. You can also use the Amplify menu of the menu bar.
By making resources accessible through the Toolbar and Library, we've eliminated the need for the Resource palette altogether. Even though the Amplify/Resource palette has been a central feature of the Accordance interface since the very beginning, I've been pleasantly surprised at how few long-time users have complained about its removal. Most of you have quickly adjusted to these new ways of accessing resources, and we hope the clear distinction between opening and amplifying is making Accordance much easier and more enjoyable to use.