by Terry Wilhite
We all have our favorite major chain bookstores but we're not impressed anymore by their vast offerings or their pretty décor. We've come to expect these niceties from the "big boxes." Similarly, it's hard to be wowed by Bible software these days. Titles inside Bible software now are countless and interfaces are easier than ever to use. But as with my favorite bookstore, what turns my crank with Bible software is the intrinsic feel I get when I'm searching for resources under deadline pressure, trying to put my hands on just the right "nuggets of gold." Do the developers make my job easier? Does the layout of things make sense to me? Do I leave wanting to come back soon for another great experience?
WORDsearch 7's Thompson's Chain-Reference Leader's Library answers those questions in the affirmative and gives me a good feeling. All of the tools that one needs for easily done, extensive research are there, organized neatly and they provide the best use of limited computer screen real estate of any Bible software I've seen. For example, in the library view, every item I click in the list of library contents becomes a window on my screen. The more sources I click, the more windows that are displayed—resized so that none ever overlaps.
What I really like is that those multiple windows can be combined on a single window, so at the top of that singular window I see multiple, clearly-labeled file tabs showing what's available inside that particular window. For example, I could create a window that contains all of my Bibles, another that contains my commentaries, and one that contains the built-in word processor. I can also save different window layouts of my screen for easy recall, depending on just what kind of project I have to do.
With Bible software, it's easy to have so many "bells and whistles" going at once that one can easily get lost. I found that hard to do with this software. Just as you can maximize a window in the Windows Operating System to bring a view full screen, you can do that inside this software, but WORDsearch 7 adds a really nice touch: When a window is brought full screen, small buttons at the bottom of the screen are instantly substituted for all other windows—labeled neatly so that I can instantly recall another window with the click of a button. Bringing the currently selected screen back down to its minimal level returns all my other windows to their place in my current layout. (There are video tutorials installed with the software to show you how the major features work.)
One of the things I like most is the real-time search function. When I'm searching, other resources I've chosen immediately keep pace in the search results window with the verse or phrase I've highlighted. That's a blessing, considering I've waited minutes (seemingly days) for some Bible software to run a search through the contents of an entire library. In addition, I found it very easy to see parallel translations. The software even memorized my study preferences.
When I'm in the Bible view, just the right buttons are there to do what I'd expect to be able to do in this view—previous chapter, next chapter, show personal notes (so that I can make my own for a particular passage), show cross references (real time updates, as I described previously), show Strong's references, among other options.
WORDsearch makes great use of the right-click function of the mouse. When I wanted to do something inside the software, many times I've just right-clicked and was presented with the appropriate options. A great use of technology is this software's ability to pronounce Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionary for you. Click on a word and hear it sounded.
Equally impressive as the Chain-Reference Bible and Leader's Library is WORDsearch's Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible Library. With this tool, you'll have outlines for the entire New Testament, verse by verse and references for more than 4,000 Bible topics. Thousands of outlines are instantly available in such a user-friendly researchable framework, material that can be used as a start to build your own messages.
Individually, these are power-house programs and together they're more than most of us could have ever imagined owning in print, yet they're handy and affordable, thanks to this great computer technology.
I highly recommend that you investigate the other titles that are available by going to www.wordsearchbible.com.
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