Setting Up Your eSword Workspace for Peak Efficiency
The eSword default options work great “right out of the box.” So much so that some
users don’t delve into optional configurations. While their eSword experience is
still quite pleasant, they never harness the full power of eSword. The purpose of
this article is to help the diligent student of The Word fine tune his/her eSword
experience to maximize their productivity. Less time “sermonating” is more time “parenting,”
or “visiting,” or “shopping....” [NOTE: This blog post was written using e-Sword
Using eSword’s “Options” Menu to Prepare Your Custom Experience
It Will Make Your Study Time More Productive
Let’s start with the “Options” menu. Lots of helpful customization options are neatly
tucked away right there.
SET YOUR DEFAULT FONTS
I’m a “Times New Roman” guy. You might prefer Arial, or Trebuchet, or a number of
other fonts. Change your default font to your favorite so that you can ease your
eye strain. Here’s how:
Go to “Options/Fonts....” At the very top of the window, you’ll be able to set the
Default font for your Bibles, Dictionaries, Commentaries, Daily Devotions, Bible
Reading, Prayer Lists, Scripture Memory, Graphics Viewer, STEP Reader, and Sermon
Illustrations. Choose the standard font you’d like eSword to use throughout the program.
You can set the size, too.
Do not change the fonts below the “Default Font Size” selector. Greek, Hebrew and
Latin must be “TITUS Cyberbit Basic,” or many of the Greek/Hebrew/Latin resources
will not display correctly.
The Default font setting does not affect the modules in the Editor Window (Journals,
Topics, & Study Notes). Those are set by the user in the Editor window. Once in the
editor window, choose “Format/Font...” to select the default font for that particular
SET YOUR TOOLTIP FONT
Go to “Options/Tooltip Font...” to select the font and size that eSword will display
when you mouseover a Green tooltip hyperlink. I have “Times New Roman” 11 point selected;
that works well for me.
Please note: as of version 9.9.1, the only customizable option under the “ToolTip
Font...” area is the point size. But still, that’s nice to be able to set to 11 (or
12, or 14, or 10, etc.).
SET YOUR “RED-LETTER” SETTINGS
I don’t like the “red letter” editions of Scripture. To me, that’s commentary. You
can change the “red” letter color from red, to dark red, to black. I chose black.
Under “Options/Text Colors...” you can change several settings. eSword nicely gives
you a sample result right on the page. And here - you can change “Red-Letter” to
SET YOUR SCRIPTURE TOOLTIP VERSION
We all love the multiple Bible versions that are available using eSword. Did you
know you can choose any of your translations to display in ToolTips?
Go to “Options/Scripture ToolTip...” to set the versions. You can choose a translation
as an Old Testament ToolTip, and another version as the New Testament Tooltip. Example:
you might want your “Old Testament” version to be “Hebrew Old Testament Interliner”
and your “New Testament” version to be “Greek New Testament.” Or something else.
Set them to what you want them to be. Now when you mouseover a Tooltip, that version
of the Scripture appears in that box.
If you’re like me, you simply set them both to “King James Version.”
SET YOUR SCRIPTURE TOOLTIP DICTIONARY
Go to “Options/Strong’s # ToolTip...” You are able to choose a Dictionary to use
with both Old and New Testament Strong’s tooltips. You can choose “Brown, Driver,
Briggs” for the OT, and “Thayer’s” for the NT, if you like. Most, though, would probably
keep their Dictionary set to “Strong’s.”
SET YOUR “PARALLEL SCRIPTURE” SETTINGS
In your Bible window, the last tab to the right is the “Parallel” view. Here you
set which Bibles you want to see in Parallel view. Choose the Bible versions using
the drop down boxes at the top of the Bible view.
SET YOUR “SCRIPTURE COMPARISON” SETTINGS
The “Compare” Bible view is just to the left of the “Parallel” tab. However, the
versions to use for the “Compare Bible” are set in the “Options” menu.
Under the “Options/Compare...” menu, you can choose which versions of the Bible you
want to use when you select “Compare” in the Bible tab.
SET YOUR TABS TO “DISPLAY TABS IN A SINGLE ROW”
If you have a lot of eSword resources, you probably begrudge giving up so much of
your workspace to “tabs.” (I hated it.) eSword 9.9.1 makes it really easy to turn
that massive tab space into one simple row - and thereby maximizing usable work space.
In the “Options/Resource...” window, simply select the box at the very bottom of
the window: “Display Tabs in a Single Row.” Do so, and reclaim all of that precious
SET WHICH RESOURCES TO DISPLAY
Want to remove some resources without deleting them from your computer?
Example: you don’t need to see Spurgeon’s Treasury of David (tab name: “Psalms”)
most of the time, so you’d like for that tab to vanish. But you don’t want to delete
the resource, because you know that you’ll want to look at it at some point. What
In the “Options/Resource...” area, simply select with the check boxes which resources
you want eSword to display. Unchecked resources are not deleted; they are simply
left unopened by the program. To view those tabs later on, just return back and re-check
NOTE: if you want to permanently delete a resource, this is the best place to do
so. Simply right-click a resource, and you’ll see the permanent deletion option.
eSword removes all copies of this resource that live on your computer - including
“Virtual Store” copies that you may not even know that you have. This is by far the
best way to delete eSword resources.
Using eSword’s “Windows Dockability” Feature
Maximize What You Want To See
Temporarily Hide What You Don’t
When eSword 9.5.1 came out with these “dockable” windows, all was forgiven for the
difficulty we had upgrading to 9.0. Yessir, these dockable windows are that cool!
Let’s take a look at the best configurations to maximize Bible Study.
REMOVING THE “LOOKUP SCRIPTURE REFERENCE” WINDOW
Rick dislikes this particular feature. I do, too. He actually removed it once (at
least), but the backlash was vocal enough that he put it back in. I take it out.
See that little pushpin in the top-right of the frame? Push it. Bye-bye, lookup box!
(If you feel the need to restore it, click the “Lookup Scripture Reference” tab on
the far left of the Screen. There it is. If you want it to stay, push the pin again.
DECREASING THE DICTIONARY VIEW
How important is the Dictionary window to you? Most users will find it very necessary
but very little used. So there are two options to best maximize the usage of the
space for the dictionary.
Option #1 - we’ll call this the “Minimal Space” Option. If you’ll hover your mouse
just over the top edge of the dictionary, you’ll see the mouse change from an arrow
to a railroad track. When the mouse is in the railroad track setting, the window
may be re-sized. Just hold the left mouse button down, and drag the dictionary frame
towards the bottom of the screen. When the frame stops moving, you’ve reached the
dictionary’s “Minimal Space” option. That’s as short s the dictionary can be.
Option #2 - we’ll call this the “Vanishing Space” Option. Push the dictionary pushpin,
and the dictionary disappears. Don’t despair: it’s still over there on the left edge
of the screen. Whenever you want to take a look at a dictionary entry, just click
the tab. When you’re done using the dictionary, click on another window, and the
dictionary vanishes again. If you want the dictionary to “unvanish,” simple click
I prefer Option #1, but to be quite frank, I use the dictionaries so little that
I probably should use Option #2.
COMBINING THE EDITORS WINDOW WITH THE COMMENTARY WINDOW
Most users play with their eSword windows configuration, and know they can hide/unhide
the windows. But did you know you can combine them?
I have a lot of .topx files; and I use them regularly when I’m studying. Most of
the time, I don’t need to see both the Commentary window and the Editor window. So
I combine them. Here’s how:
Click (and hold) the top of the Editor frame (the darker blue bar that says “Editors”).
Drag it up towards the middle of the window selector, and release it right in the
middle of the selector. See the pictures at the bottom of this article.
Now you can use the tabs at the bottom of that window to move back and forth between
the “Editors” and the “Commentaries.” (If you dislike what just happened, grab the
“Editors” top frame and put it back down below. Voila!) You can put the dictionary
down there, too. But I found the dictionary “minimalized” and the Commentaries/Editors
combined worked best for me.
CHANGING THE WINDOWS PERSPECTIVES
You can also change the horizontal size of the windows. Hover the mouse over the
middle partition; when the train tracks appear, you can drag it left or right. Dragging
left decreases the Bible/Dictionary window and increases the commentary. (Vice versa,
Now don’t be afraid to experiment with these settings. You might find a configuration
you like better than those above! If you get to a spot where you cannot figure out
how to “get back to normal,” simply choose “Help/Restore e-Sword Settings.” That
will revert everything back to “factory defaults.” (Use this as a last resort, however.
All of the other personal settings that you like will be reset, too....)
Using The Whole Screen
Studying To Teach, Preach, and Reach
Some users who simply use eSword as a personal devotional tool may not need to customize
eSword with all of the above recommendations. After all - it comes “right out of
the box” ready for a tremendous devotional experience.
But for those who “Teach, Preach & Reach” - eSword isn’t the only Windows program
you’re using when eSword is open. You also have a Word Processor open. If you’re
eSwording to create lessons, handouts, and sermon manuscripts - to teach, preach
and reach! - you may need a better monitor. Here’s why:
TVs were originally built with a 4:3 ratio perspective. The standard computer screen
was modeled after the perspective of the TV. But movies aren’t made in that perspective.*
Films are made wider - with a 16:9 perspective. You can tell in older movies that
some scenes aren’t right on a TV: they’re either squished (so everything looks really
thin - ever see John Wayne’s “Chisum” on an older TV?) or something had to get cut
out of the right side, the left side, or both sides (“Casablanca” on an old TV just
DVDs started to be made available in “wide screen.” The top and bottom of the TV
screen was black - but that’s because the entire width of the movie was available.
The “wide screen” versions were very popular with viewers. When TV makers realized
that consumers wanted to see the widescreen movies, widescreen TVs were made. And
once wide screen TVs were made, wide screen computer monitors were next.
And that brings me to eSword configuration!
STANDARD WIDTH COMPUTER SCREEN
With the old 4:3 computer screen (same shape as an old TV), eSword and a word processor
can both be open (eSword on the left, word processor on the right, or vice versa);
but in order to see “margin to margin” on your word processor, it could not be viewed
at 100%. With both eSword and WordPerfect open, I could only view my sermon notes
at 75% to get margin-to-margin access to my notes. When I was 30, that was fine;
at 35, it caused some fatigue; and at 40 - headaches.
WIDE-SCREEN COMPUTER SCREEN
My solution was to upgrade to a 21" widescreen monitor. And oh! did that solve the
problem! With the 21" widescreen (16:9 perspective, instead of the older 4:3 perspective),
I could have the left half of the monitor showing eSword. My eSword was divided into
two colums: Bible on the left (with a very small dictionary window open below it)
and the Commentary/Editors window on the right. Clicking around from commentary to
commentary was easy. Using the dictionary was fine.
The entire right half of the widescreen monitor allowed me to see my WordPerfect
- margin to margin! - at 100% view size. I can type full size sermon notes in WordPerfect
while I can see my full size eSword text at the same time. That, my friends, is the
way to write!
So, if you’re still using a 4:3 monitor, may I kindly suggest it’s time for an upgrade.