Many Bible software users make use of the built-in notes feature in addition to reading Bible passages and commentaries, including me. To make the Accordance Bible Software 25-Day Switch, the notes feature will need to record my observations, questions and findings.
Since I work on both a desktop, laptop and my iPad, it will also need to sync between the three devices easily, I’d rather they synced automatically. Finally, I want some formatting options, including bullet or number lists, automatic hyperlinks to Bible passages and basic text and paragraph formatting.
How well does Accordance work? We’ll take a look in part two of the Accordance Bible Software 25-Day Switch from Logos Bible Software and the companion mobile apps from Faithlife.
Accordance Bible Software 25-Day Switch: User Notes
First, let’s take a look at the user notes in Accordance. Any verse with a note will show it with an icon in the right margin next to the verse. See the arrow in the image above. It shows the note on Matthew 3:11. The red box shows the content of the note opened in a separate window.
To add a new note, click on the blank spot next to the verse along the right edge of the Bible window. A dialog box will pop up asking which User Note file to add the note to. A window will pop up over the main Accordance screen to edit the User Note. After you create the note you can save it by clicking on the Update button in the lower right corner of the pop up window.
The Update button highlights my first big annoyance with Accordance Bible Software User Notes. You have to click Update! I’m used to Logos which automatically saves your notes while typing them. And it does this seamlessly and quickly for most users. The few people who struggle with this issue includes people with underpowered computers. That’s merely an annoyance, however. I can get over it.
However, another significant annoyances comes from the fact that the User Notes tool pops up in a box on top of the Accordance Bible Software program. Why can’t I open the note in a window pane and edit it right in that window pane? If you open your User Notes file in a new window pane and click in the note and start typing to edit it, the note opens in a User Note pop up window.
The User Notes window toolbar includes the following functions (from left to right):
- Keyboard chooser – drop down lets you pick…
- Default – COMMAND+OPTION+SHIFT+D
- Greek – COMMAND+OPTION+SHIFT+G
- Hebrew – COMMAND+OPTION+SHIFT+H
- Font face
- Font style (like bold, italics, etc)
- Font size
- Font color
- Link – select text and click here or use link dialog box or select text formatted as a URL and OPTION+Click on this button to quickly add a simple link.
- Auto-link – click to create automatic. links out of Bible passages.
- Insert picture
For the Auto-link button to work, the passage will need to use typical passage formatting like John 3:16. URLs with HTTP:// work but not just www.kevinpurcell.org by itself.
At the bottom of the User Notes editing box we get arrow buttons. Two sets up of UP/DOWN buttons will jump to the previous or next note in your file or will add a new note on the previous or next verse. When you click these buttons they automatically update and save the note file. To delete a note, just clear the box and hit Update. If you close the Note editor, it will ask you to Update. That keeps you from entering a long string of notes and then fail to save the note.
After you save a note, the Notes box will open to show your notes. You can’t edit them in this box, but they will be displayed here. That dialog box has a few buttons as well. You can close it using the little X in the upper left. The center to area has a drop down menu that shows all of your User Notes found by the program. The upper right has a font size Up and Down to make the notes look bigger or smaller in the display box. The last button in the upper right looks like a Settings icon. It has the following items…
- Move Up – moves the whole box to the right end of the current window.
- Move Down – moves the note box to the bottom part of the window.
- Show Interlinear – grayed out in a notes box, but there for when you’re displaying a Bible.
- Enter Reading Mode – opens window in full screen without any window controls or toolbar (Keyboard shortcut CONTROL+R)
- Auto-scroll – starts to scroll the window automatically.
- Untie Scrolling – breaks the link between the Bible window and this window.
Accordance Notes Pluses
Here’s what I really like about using the Notes Tool so far during my Accordance Bible Software 25-Day Switch. First, it’s fast! Logos notes can get a little slow. The auto-update and sync feature on Logos probably slows it down since it’s phoning home to the Logos servers every time it saves. Accordance doesn’t do that until you sync them on exit or manually.
Second, the Notes Tool has all the basic features you need. We can format text and add images. It supports Unicode which means you can enter Greek and Hebrew text. Plus, it adds links to Bible passages and you can also add links to websites.
Third, users can link their notes to Bible passages, websites and even other books in your Accordance library. If you have a file on your computer, you can link to it too.
Select the text you want to add the link to and then click on the link icon (third from the right on the top toolbar of the User Notes Edit window). Choose the kind of note you want. If you are linking to a file on your computer, then choose File and click on the Choose File… button. Pick your file and then click on OK to create the link.
Resource links will let you add them to any book in your downloaded library. A drop down box opens so you can select the book. Play around with it to see all that this powerful linking tool can do.
Finally, Accordance gave us a better way to sync notes between the Mac, Windows, and mobile versions of Accordance. Instead of doing it manually over Wi-Fi as the used to require, users can connect their Dropbox account to Accordance and sync that way.
Syncing with Dropbox
See the video above to learn how to do this and how to use the sync feature. Unfortunately, it forces you to manually sync from the mobile app to Dropbox. You can set the desktop version to sync each time you exit the program. It’s a shame the mobile app won’t do this automatically. Since they require it, they should put the sync button in the main window of the app instead of nested in the library window, which forces you to tape a few times. I added a button to my toolbar on my Mac version of Accordance even though it syncs automatiaclly upon exit.
The Accordance video tutorial collection includes some great help on using their software. They offer an awesome one on using notes in Accordance Mobile. There’s another one covering the desktop version’s Notes tool.
BibleWorks users can import their notes into Accordance thanks to a recent update from Accordance.
Accordance Mobile Notes
In Accordance Mobile, add notes by long pressing on the Bible verse. A new window pops up with many options. Select User Note to add a note or edit one aloready in place. Now choose Notes file you want to use to add this note. I use the same file for all my tasks.
A verse with a note already attached will show a tiny note icon in the right margin (see the left image above). Tap on it to see a popup displaying the note. Tap on Edit to change the note or Open to read it in the lower half of the app.
Notice the Note editor has font formatting.
You can’t add links like you can in the Mac or Windows version. UPDATE: To add links to your mobile notes press and hold on text and then choose Link from the pop up menu. The Plus icon on the top toolbar will let you add images from your mobile device. The up/down arrow moves to the previous or next note.
Lessons Learned from Accordance Notes Use
Here’s what I’ve decided after making this switch for the first few days. First, I will see if I can get used to using the Accordance User Notes tool in both mobile and on my Mac. I think I can adapt.
Second, I’m seriously thinking about dumping Bible software notes tools entirely. For years I used PC Study Bible and lost all of those notes because I didn’t know how to get them out. e-Sword lets you move your notes out and so did QuickVerse. I used both of those for years. When I used BibleWorks for a few years before jumping to Logos, I loved that they saved their fils as RTF files. Logos makes it really hard to get notes out of the program.
I should probably use a third-party solution to record m notes. I may do that with a simple Word document for each book of the Bible. Some like Evernote, but I’ve stopped using the service due to the subscription fees. I already pay for Word. We’ll see after this 25 days.