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BibleWorks out of the box: Review of BibleWorks 9, part 1 (setup and layout)

August 3, 2012

The perennial question: Should I upgrade my BibleWorks program? I was perfectly happy with BibleWorks 7 until I upgraded to 8. (Then I was really happy with 8.) I thought 8 was such a vast improvement that when 9 came out, I saw no need… at least until I got to know version 9 a little better. Versions 7 or 8 are certainly still powerful in their own right, but my upgrade to 9 has been a great experience so far. In this and future posts, I’ll highlight why. Today: BibleWorks 9, out of the box.

The installation is easy and quick. I consider myself somewhat proficient when it comes to computer know-how, but certainly don’t have programming expertise. No matter. BibleWorks is easy to install and keep updated. And the BibleWorks staff is constant in making updates available if and as they find bugs in the program. Better than any other computer software I’ve used, in this sense.

BibleWorks 9 comes with a “Quick-Start Guide,” which has the Installation Instructions (they are mercifully short–three pages and easy to follow) and a 12-page Orientation to BibleWorks guide. The guide focuses on the Search Window, the Browse Window, and the Analysis Window, and gives instructions and specific examples as to how to best utilize each in studying the Biblical text. My only quibble with the helpful guide is that the images contained therein seem to be from BibleWorks 8, not 9. But that doesn’t really keep it from doing what it needs to, namely, quickly and effectively orienting the new or only somewhat experienced user to using the program well. (The instructions do detail the contents of the new tabs in version 9.)

BibleWorks 9 adds a delicious fourth column (essentially, a second analysis window). It looks like this (click on the png below for a larger view, if you wish):

Already this opens more options. There are also more available tabs in the Analysis Window. For example, the new “Use” tab, in my third column above, instantaneously shows you all the uses of a word with how many occurrences it has in that book and version (here, the WTT=Hebrew Bible). You had to search on a word in previous versions to do this (using the first column above). I find this particularly useful for vocabulary acquisition. As I come across a word I don’t know in the text, I can easily see–does this occur 121 times and I should know it? Or is it just in the text two or three times, so I was okay in not knowing right away what it means?

The “Verse” tab and the “Mss” tabs are new, too–those are worthy of their own post. (Anyone familiar with BibleWorks, whether they have 9 or not, may already know that this new version allows you to look at and work with images of original manuscripts.)

And, what I find best of all, you can drag and drop the tabs between the third and fourth columns so that you can customize your setup. I had already figured out a setup so that I had my own equivalent of a “fourth column” in BibleWorks 8. Now I can do even more! Check this out (from a previous post):

It’s a thing of beauty.

BibleWorks has unbeatable customer service. The user forums are active and always helpful. (Good things to know when you’re considering getting set up with them.) And they’ve provided quite a few videos to show users their way around the program. If you don’t want to wait for the rest of my review, you can see all that’s new in BibleWorks 9 here. You can order the full program here or upgrade here. It’s even on Amazon!

I received a free upgrade to BibleWorks 9 in exchange for an unbiased review. See my prolegomenon to a review here.

What do you think?

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