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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006  

New in 7: Slide Show & Auto-Scroll

Last week, I dropped a couple of hints about a new feature called "Slide Show." If you've ever used (or wanted to use) Accordance in teaching, you're absolutely going to love this.

Accordance Slide Shows are based on tabbed Workspace windows. When you're doing your research and preparing your lesson, simply set up a workspace with tabs containing each bit of information you want to show. For example, you could have a Search window in one tab with the main passage you want to read, along with tabs containing maps, timelines, photos from the PhotoGuide or the Biblical Archaeology Review archives, lexicon articles on important words in the passage, commentaries with key quotes highlighted, etc. You might also have a Details Workspace window showing several of the new graphs available in version 7 (don't worry, I'll get to those soon!), along with an Analysis, Table, or Concordance. The possibilities are virtually endless.

In the screenshot below, I have set up a workspace with the text of 1 Samuel 17, a Map showing the valley of Elah, along with several photos of that valley from the PhotoGuide:

Once you've got your workspace(s) set up the way you want them, you simply choose "Slide Show" from the Window menu, or use the Keyboard shortcut Command-Option-S.

In Slide Show, your workspace is expanded to fill the entire screen, and only the display pane of each window is shown. Thus, in Slide Show, you can scroll and make modest changes to the display of a slide (such as switching translations or changing the text size), but you can't do new searches, since the part of the window where you would enter a search is hidden.

Now, if you look carefully at the bottom of the above screenshot, you'll notice a little floating palette with a pop-up menu and some forward and back arrow buttons. This is the Slide Show controller. The pop-up menu displays the name of each tab in each workspace, enabling you to quickly select the exact slide you want to view. The arrows let you go forward and back one slide at a time, or to jump to the first or last slides. The stop button takes you out of slide show mode (as does the escape key, command-period, or command-option-S). You can also advance each slide simply by clicking the mouse or using the arrow keys on the keyboard, so if you don't want to use the Slide Show controller, you can close it and still get around.

Now, I've already mentioned how the auto-fade option of the Instant Details Box is great in slideshow mode, because it enables you to get instant information just by dragging over a word or link, while keeping the Instant Details Box out of your way most of the time. Here's another new feature that works great with the Slide Show: auto-scrolling.

To use auto-scrolling, you have to turn it on in the Preferences. Just select Preferences... from the Accordance menu, and then select the Appearance panel. There you'll see the following pop-up menu:

Just select the scrolling speed you want (I have mine set to medium) and click OK. From that point on, you just need to hold the command-key down while clicking on the up or down scroll arrow. Voila! The text will begin scrolling automatically—just like a teleprompter—making it easy to read the text without repeatedly scrolling up and down. Just click again to stop the auto-scrolling.

Auto-scrolling only works in windows displaying text (Search windows, Tool windows, User Notes windows, etc.). It doesn't work with the Atlas, Timeline, or picture windows. Auto-scrolling also only works in windows with a single text pane. If you try to auto-scroll a window with parallel text panes, you'll get an error message and need to close the additional panes. But auto-scrolling works both in and out of Slide Show mode, and in Slide Show mode, it becomes especially useful.

For example, it's great for pastors who want their congregations to follow along as they read the text. The same goes for professors and their students. If you're running a radio show or creating a podcast, you can use it as a teleprompter. Auto-scrolling is a little enhancement with a wide variety of uses.

By the way, Slide Show mode and the auto-scroll feature are not just for those select few who own video projectors and speak to large audiences. When I first tested the Slide Show feature, I hooked my iBook up to my TV and led family devotions with the text of the Bible auto-scrolling as I read. My kids thought I was the coolest! (Of course, one hopes that's not all they got out of family devotions that night!)

Slide Show can even come in handy when you're not presenting information to anyone. If you just want to read the text or look at a photo without all the Accordance window controls taking up space, you can just pop into Slide Show mode. That should be of great help to those proverbial 12-inch PowerBook users I've been talking about!

Obviously, the Slide Show in Accordance isn't intended to replace Keynote or PowerPoint. The advantage of full-blown presentation programs is that they feature cool transitions, text animations, and all that funky stuff Steve Jobs loves to do in his own keynotes. But the advantage of the Accordance Slide Show is that it's dynamic. You can view animated routes on the map, modify the information displayed in various graphs, scroll to different parts of the Bible, and more—all things which would either be impossible or require extra effort to do in most presentation programs.

Best of all, unlike Apple with iWork, we don't charge full price for the upgrade! ;-)

Best of all, unlike Apple with iWork, we don't charge full price for the upgrade! ;-)

Um, have you compared the price of a Scholar's Library lately to the price of iWork? ;-)

All in all, Accordance is a better value, though.

In all fairness, the Scholar's Library is not technically Accordance 7. You don't have to buy the scholar's library to upgarde to Accordance 7, and I'm sure the price for the upgrade to 7 will be around $29-39 like the upgrade to version 6 was from version 5. One more week (or less)!

I'm one of those 12-inch PowerBook users... Thanks!

All of these "New in 7" features are very exciting!

All I want to know is if version 7 will have spell check enabled. Eye am en desprit knead ov it. :•)

When projecting from a distance and using expanded desktop it would be very helpful to have Accordance 7 give the option to display the slideshow pane in the projected desktop for the congregation but make search changes and other navigational choices on the hidden monitor. It is too difficult to mouse around in front of everyone. It would also be nice to choose the background for the slideshow so that verses could be placed on top of any custom graphic. This would make it so easy to blend in with other presentation software by just clicking back and forth within applications on the dock or hitting command-tab to switch in and out of Accordance.

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