As many already know, Accordance Mobile on iOS is an incredible way to take one's entire Accordance Library, or even a smaller subset of it, on the go. And yet as great as Accordance Mobile is, sometimes we wish we had the full power of Accordance 11 in a tablet form. Well, that actually exists! Many don’t realize that it’s possible to run the full Windows version of Accordance on any Windows tablet.
I’ve installed Accordance on a number of different Windows tablets—everything from the more powerful Microsoft Surface Pro series to a low-end HP Stream 7 with only 1 GB of RAM. Here’s the good news: Accordance will run on any* off-the-shelf Windows tablet you buy, regardless of specs. However, tablets in general can bring on their own set of challenges, especially lower-end tablets that may have limited space on the internal drive.
In this blog post, I’d like to give you the benefit of experience and experimentation in running Accordance on Windows tablets. I’ve found that the experience can be quite rewarding, but a little bit of tweaking here and there will make the experience even better.
Note: It has to run on Windows 8, not Windows RT or Android systems.
1. Get a Windows tablet that supports an active/digital stylus.
As I said, Accordance will run on any Windows tablet. However, it is a desktop application and not one designed as touch-first. A number of Windows tablets include an active digitizer in the screen that react to what’s called an active or digital stylus. I suggest taking a look at this maintained list of these tablets with active digitizers at TabletPCReviews. Personally, I would not use any Windows tablet if it could not be found on this list.
Why is this a big deal? As mentioned, Accordance is a desktop application, and some of the smaller touchpoints can be more difficult without a dedicated stylus. Some Accordance interface elements, such as Magnify and Exit buttons in zones, will not even show up when just using a finger (or those mushy-tipped capacitive styluses).
What separates the kind of stylus from the rest is their ability to interact with the screen without even touching it. The tablet knows the stylus is in proximity. For instance in Microsoft Word, if you bring an active stylus within a half inch or so of the screen (on tablets with active digitizers), a new tab will pop up on the Ribbon labeled “Pens."
And if you really want to see an amazing Windows-only trick (sorry, Mac users!), use a digital stylus to effect crossover highlighting in keyed/tagged texts without even touching the screen. As you bring the stylus in proximity to the parallel panes in Accordance, you will see the software come alive in response. I’ve found this creates a whole new way of interacting with biblical texts in the software.
2. Adjust Text Size in the Windows Control Panel.
Having spent a good bit of time with both Windows and Macintosh computers, it is my opinion that currently, Windows doesn’t universally handle HiDPI (what is called “Retina” on Apple devices) as well as the Mac does. While many Windows tablets use these high resolution HiDPI screens, some programs adapt well to it, and others make me squint to see menus and other interface elements.
If you’re not having problems with this, leave things alone; but if you are, consider changing the default text settings. Go to the Control Panel: Display and then check the box that reads, "Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays." Experiment with new settings for a day or two. You may find that not only Accordance is easier to use but many of your other programs as well.
3. Only install the titles you need.
Many Windows tablets still have only 32 GB of internal drive space, with less than 20 GB left available for other content because of the space that Windows itself takes up. Most Accordance installations don't take up much space, but if you find yourself short on room for your content, you have the ability to install only the titles you really need or want.
During the installation process, only check the boxes of titles you want to install. Click the triangle on Collections or Bundles and select the individual titles you want to download. As mentioned, Accordance doesn't take up that much space, and you may find that you can go back later and install the titles you originally chose not to download.
4. Install titles in batches.
I have a large number of titles in my Accordance Library. On most Windows computers, I've had no trouble installing all of them during an Accordance installation. However, I've noticed on some less-expensive Windows tablets an occasional lock-up during installation. While Accordance does not have a heavy RAM requirement to run the software, my hunch is that less RAM can cause problems when installing large libraries.
If that happens to you, try installing your titles in batches. Click on the triangles to reveal all your titles and just check a few at a time. If everything is going well, you can get a bit more brave and select more the next time. It's a bit more time consuming to do this, but better than having to restart installation if the installer crashes.
5. Move your Accordance titles over to the MicroSD, but leave the executable on Drive C:\
I don't know of any current Windows tablet that doesn't come with a MicroSD slot (if only Apple would do the same on the iPad!). This is another tip for those who are feeling cramped on a too-small internal drive.
As might be assumed, the internal drive is always faster than a MicroSD, so it's best to leave files there if you can. However, moving titles over to the MicrosSD (usually Drive D:\) is an option.
Technically, you can choose to put the Accordance executable on another drive during installation, but I don't recommend doing that. The Accordance executable file actually doesn't take up that much space by itself--only about 7 MB. When possible, it's always faster and better to leave the executable on Drive C. However, Accordance gives you the option to move your titles (support files) over to another drive.
To do this, go to the Utilities Menu and select "Choose Support Files Location." I recommend you create a folder here (this has to be done manually in the Windows Explorer), such as simply "Accordance" and then your files will be moved over. From this point on, when you download new titles for your Accordance Library, or even updates, they will go to the new drive location.
6. Change the Accordance Theme.
You may find the default Accordance visual theme to be difficult to read on some screens--especially on less-expensive tablets. To change to something that might display text better, go to Edit: Preferences: Text Display (and Tool Display). Drop the list down to see a number of alternative themes. I recommend starting with "Readability" and then customizing from there. One quick way to increase the contrast of text in Accordance is to make certain that text is actually set to a true Black (it often defaults to what is a dark gray--fine for some screens, but not all).
7. Increase Browser and Quick Entry Font Size.
Making the Browser text larger in Edit: Preferences: Appearance will not only make the titles in the Library larger, but also in the browser (Table of Contents) of individual titles, too. While you're there, you might as well make the Quick Entry text larger, too.
8. Use Portrait Mode for reading.
Having Accordance on a tablet that can be turned in any direction brings new capabilities. Try turning your tablet into portrait mode and even setting it to reading mode (click the action button in any active pane and select "Enter Reading Mode") for a whole new way to experience Acordance.
What about you? Do you have a Windows tablet tip of your own not mentioned here? Feel free to leave it in the comments!