Accordance Made Easy

Master these seven basic concepts, and Accordance Bible Software is a breeze to use.

by David Lang (Posted: 9/20/02)

 
As one of the developers of Accordance Bible Software, I am constantly telling (and showing) people how easy Accordance is to use. But let's face it, the first time you launch Accordance and see all those palettes and buttons, it can be a bit overwhelming.

Admittedly, Accordance can look quite complex to the first-time user. We could have tried to shield the user from that complexity by minimizing the number of palettes and buttons he sees, but we decided against it. While such an approach to interface design may seem to shorten the user's initial learning curve, it only serves to increase his overall learning curve once he has gotten beyond the basic functions of the program. So rather than hiding all but the most basic features of Accordance, we decided instead to concentrate on making the program's interface as straightforward and consistent as possible.

Thus, while Accordance does indeed offer a myriad of advanced features and capabilities, all of these features can be mastered with relative ease. All you need to become an Accordance power user is a firm grasp of a few key interface concepts:

1. Searching is Central

Whenever you launch Accordance, the first thing you see is a large window called the Search window. Yes, it's surrounded by several palettes with lots of buttons, but we'll get to those in a moment. For now, we need to understand that the Search window is the central element of the Accordance interface. In other words, the Search window is where all the action usually starts.

Accordance is built around the idea that Bible software should center around the act of searching the Bible. After all, isn't that the main thing you're going to use it to do? So rather than simply displaying the text of the Bible in some generic Bible window, and then requiring you to do something extra to perform a search, Accordance gives you everything you need to perform a search right from the very beginning.

The Accordance Search window is designed to make defining a search as quick and painless as possible. You can find a passage by entering its reference, or you can search the text of the Bible for a particular word or phrase. You can specify the Bible translation or original language text you wish to search, limit your search to a specific range of verses, use a variety of sophisticated search criteria, and even specify whether you want the elements of your search to appear in the same verse, chapter, clause, sentence, paragraph, or book. But before we get into the nuts and bolts of how to use the Search window, we need to make sure we understand one other key interface concept:

2. What You See is What You Get

I'll never forget the first time I saw a true WYSIWYG word processor. After struggling to write several seminary papers using WordPerfect for DOS, I went to a friend's apartment and saw him using MacWrite on a Mac Classic. It was amazing! Each of the fonts appeared onscreen just as it was going to appear on the printed page! Titles were centered, tabs were marked in the ruler at the top of the page, the margins were clearly visible--it was a thing of beauty!

Accordance is built around this same simple concept that what you see should be what you get. That's why the Search window is not only the place where you define a search; it is also the place where the results of that search are displayed.

Look at the following example and you'll see what I mean:

In the top part of this window (above the thick black divider line), a search has been constructed to find every verse in the New Testament of the King James (KJVS = King James Version with Strong's numbers) in which "love" is followed within three words by "Christ." In the bottom part of the window (beneath the black divider line), we see the results of our search clearly displayed. If you were to leave this window on your computer screen and come back three hours later, you would be able to see immediately what you had been searching for before you left, because what you see is always what you get.

This WYSIWYG concept has been carried over to every other window in Accordance. Let's look, for example, at a Map window:

Here we see that the settings in the pop-up menus at the top of the window determine the geographical features which are displayed in the main part of the window. Once again, what we see in the top part of the window is what we get in that window's display pane.

Now that you have the WYSIWYG concept down, you should be able to figure out how to use each different kind of Accordance window, whether it be a Search window, a Tools window, a Parallel window, a User Notes window, a Map window, a Timeline window, or whatever. Each kind of window looks remarkably similar to the others, and any differences between them are merely a function of the particular kind of information they enable you to access.

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