I believe that the software engineers at Logos combined the handling of highlighting and notes for one reason – to drive me crazy. As a vocal critic of recent practices by the company, I think Bob Pritchett and the clan had a meeting late at night in Bellingham, WA (the headquarters) brainstorming how they might drive me nuts. The outcome was the decision to add highlights syncing their note file synching infrastructure. Logos stores highlights as if they were blank notes on a passage or selection of book text with a visual markup added to the Bible or book.
Kidding aside, this forced me to review how I used highlighting and notes in Logos. Previously I just had a couple of notes files:
- One for Bible Study
- One for Book Notes
- Highlights were a separate file hidden in the structure of Logos Bible Software
If I was working with a Bible, then I’d add all of my text-based observations to the Bible Study note file. If I was reading a book, then I would add them to the Book Notes file. Following this same workflow will get complicated the more I use the feature. The cryptic names Logos gives to books makes it worse because each note will have a strange name with letters. I read The Passion Driven Sermon by Jim Shaddix (you should read it) adding a lot of notes and highlights. In the note file for that book it refers to the book as PDS:CWPPCL instead of something that makes sense to me.
The system is no longer set it and forget it. You have to pay attention to where you’re adding the notes and the highlights. Adding highlights via the iPad forces you to either use the default open note file or you can select one. I still haven’t figured out how to tell the desktop version where to add the highlight. It has all highlights set to the a file name for the highlight style when I’d like to add it to a file for the book. Crazy! Before it was simple. All highlights were just quietly and conveniently synchronized. Now they get muddled in with my Book Notes or Bible Study notes files or whatever other files I’m using. I don’t like that because I like to open a book and see all the highlights just for that book listed in the note file. Before I couldn’t do it at all so this is better. Logos made this possible, but they also made it difficult.
My Video Demo
Still Much Better Off
Before I get to far down this road, let me say that we are miles ahead of where we were and I like being able to use the Notes feature in Logos and I also like having them synchronized with my iPad and iPhone. I’m also looking forward to when I can do so on my Kindle Fire too.
My Notes and Highlighting Solution
I believe this could be made easier with two things.
- I can right-click and add note to a specific note file, so why not right-click and add highlight to a specific highlighting note file?
- Let me open a note file and put a toolbar button that I can click, adding a default highlight style to selected text in another window to the current note file.
- Let me simply drag and drop highlighting “notes” between note files for when I accidentally put my highlight in the wrong “notes” file.
Going forward, until Logos makes this simpler, here’s my solution: I will create a new file for each book I read and keep all of my notes in that file. I will still have a note file for Bible Study where I will still add Bible study observations and findings. I underline every passage I preach so that I can look back and see what I’ve already covered and when. After I highlight it with an underline, I edit the note created by the highlight and put the date, time and place there. I created a new Highlighting palette and added a new style and gave it the keystroke P so I can select text and hit my keyboard’s P key to add the underline. I add a date to the “note” so I can see that I preached that text already. For my Bible text highlighting I will just let Logos handle it with the various note files for the highlighting palettes. Right now, when you add a highlight using the Highlighting tool (accessed from the Tools menu) it opens with four default palettes:
- Solid Colors
- Emphasis Markup
- Highlight Pens
When you use a highlight from one of those palettes it places an empty note with the highlight marking style you chose into a file by one of those four names. I created a fifth palette called Passages Preached and added my new style and the matching keystroke to that palette. That way all my passages preached underlines get added to that file.
How to Create a New Highlighting Style
Her are the steps to create a new palette and thus a new highlighting note file.
- Open the Highlighting tool from the Tools menu
- Click on the New Palette button at the top of the Highlighting tool
- Give the new palette a name. I chose Passages Preached
- Hover over the new palette and a down arrow appears at the end – click it to show the menu (or right-click the new palette)
- Choose Add New Style
- Select the markup style you wish to use in this new palette (there are six traits to choose from) and customize it as you prefer
- Give it a name at the top
- When finished create the new highlighting style, click Save
- Click the down arrow again (from step 4) and hover over Shortcut Key
- A list of letters flies out to the right. Select one.