An Accordance Workspace for All the Things

Many people think of Accordance, and Bible software in general, as a place to go in order to perform a complicated specialty search in the biblical text. Accordance can, however, be much more than that if you can easily shift between workspaces.

Comfortable workspaces are the key. If you try to use the same workspace for every task, things quickly become crowded and confused. No one likes to work in a crowded mess.

In this series of posts, I want to introduce you to several workspaces to help you answer questions that arise when reading. For most of these posts, I will assume that you are reading from a print text and turning to Accordance as a tool to aid your reading. Before the series is over we will look at a couple reading workspaces as well.

These posts are focused on questions that arise while reading ancient versions. There is a ton of information out there for the basics and how to get started with Accordance. There is not as much out there providing helpful workflows for readers of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. I’m trying to be helpful for this audience primarily.

Let’s take a look at a workspace that is designed to answer as many questions as possible with the least amount of clicks possible. There is a lot going on here, but it is, in my opinion, still relatively easy on the eye. There is definitely order to the chaos.

When working in a workspace with a few compact zones, there are three keyboard shortcuts I find very helpful.

Shortcuts for Compact Zones

These keyboard shortcuts help you maximize space, move easily to and from full screen reading, and search in a way where your results are displayed in a tagged search tab.

  • ⌘+⌥+zero to show/hide the menu bar — Hiding the menu bar gives you a little more screen real estate at the top of the screen and creates a cleaner overall look, in my humble opinion.
  • ⌘+⌥+M to maximize/minimize a zone (Windows: cntrl+alt+M) — so helpful for jumping quickly to full screen and back to a compact smaller zone
  • ⌘+4 to search current resource (Windows: cntrl+4) — helpful to remember for a lexical search or especially for a quick search for multiple words

Now, let’s walk through the function of each zone. For clarity, here is a screenshot where I’ve labeled each zone in blue font.

Zone 1 Top for amplifying

The text portion of zone 1, on the left side of the screen, is primarily for amplifying, not for reading. Remember, the assumption is that you are reading with a print text.

From this zone, I might do the following:

  • triple-click to jump to a lexicon
  • single-click a word to execute a live-click search of the current text and other texts of the same language (for more on live-click, see below and check out this post)
  • single-click a reference to see the passage in other ancient Bibles and a translation
  • navigate to a passage so that I can then use the info pane below for quick reference
  • amplifying to a search tab in the same zone using ⌘+4 — Again this is especially useful for quickly searching on a phrase. Running a search this way, rather than using live-click, also allows you to access of the benefits of a normal, fully-tagged search tab.

Zone 2 for lexicons

Question: What would a lexicon have to say?

Triple-clicking a word in a tagged text takes you to a lexicon in Zone 2. Many times the compact view is enough, and I can get right back to reading. Other times you want to explore the entry more or read the whole thing. Remember, you can use ⌘+⌥+M to maximize/minimize the zone.

Zone 3 for Live-Click

Zone 3 is where we are taken if we live-click a word in a tagged text. I’ve written about live-click in more detail before. Here, I just want to point out two live-click features I use every day and talk briefly about setup.

Here’s the questions we can answer in this zone:

  • What would a translation say?
  • What would another ancient version say here?
  • Where else is this word used?

Single-clicking a reference allows me to see the texts of a user group I created called Ancient Bibles. This user group contains the primary tagged texts of all the ancient Bibles in my library. When I say primary, I’m thinking of the texts most important for textual criticism. I also include one translation, the NRSV, which will cover the HB, GNT, and LXX canons.

⌘+⌥+M allows me to quickly maximize the zone, check out the passage, and then get back to reading.

Single-clicking a word runs a search on my current text and all the texts of the same language. I created a different user group for this. This user group has all the tagged texts I own for each language.

⌘+⌥+M is especially helpful here.

Setting up live-click

Setting up live-click to work like I’ve demonstrated above is not difficult, and once you have done it save the workspace so you don’t have to do it again.

Here is what my settings look like.

My live-click settings
My live-click settings

The two user groups I’ve created are called Ancient Bibles and Primary Texts:

  • The Ancient Bibles user group has one tagged text for each ancient Bible in my library and one Bible translation.
  • The Primary Texts user group contains one tagged version of each ancient language text in my library. This allows you to see אַשְׁרֵי, for example, in the Hebrew Bible, Ben Sira, DSS, Mishnah, and inscriptions (if there were any occurrences). In one click you are able to replicate the type of frequency data you find in the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, but instead of just seeing a number of occurrences, you can see the words in context and even jump to the tagged texts with just one more click.

A couple more notes on setup here:

  • Text size — Since I use this zone so frequently, I set my default text sizes based on how I want the text to appear in the text browser when I live click.
  • Delay — I think it is important to select “Delayed” in your live-click settings so that live-click isn’t so easily engaged that you can’t perform other click sequences.

Zone 1 Bottom for the info pane

What about commentaries, grammars, apparatuses, manuscript images, cross-references, et al.?

The bottom of zone 1 on the left is a helpful place to put the info pane so that you can access these tools. If you need more room, you can open a saved workspace dedicated to a particular commentary, Bible dictionary, etc. I’ll write more about setting up saved workspaces for this purpose in another post. For now, I think the info pane and its function here is pretty well understood.

Wrapping Up

I hope this workspace post gives you some ideas for how you can use Accordance to answer the questions that arise when you read. Shoot me a note on the Accordance forums or on Twitter if you have questions or topics you would like me to cover in this series.