Guide to running SwordSearcher on Linux operating systems

SwordSearcher 9.1 running on Ubuntu 22.04

I’ve written a Guide to Running SwordSearcher on Linux Operating Systems.

While SwordSearcher is designed for Microsoft Windows, many SwordSearcher users, or potential SwordSearcher users, have asked if there is a version for Linux operating systems.

There is no Linux version of Windows, and you can view the system requirements here. What I recommend is using a virtual machine like VirtualBox to run Windows applications on Linux, but that is not always an option for people and does require one to purchase a Windows license.

However, it is technically possible to run SwordSearcher on a Linux system without a virtual machine, using a tool called Wine, which stands for “Wine is not an emulator.” Wine is a way to run some Windows applications on operating systems like Ubuntu.

Getting SwordSearcher to work with Wine is a matter of patience and persistence. While I cannot provide a guarantee of support for using SwordSearcher this way, I have written a guide to setting it up.

Please see this forum post for the full guide, and be sure to read all the way to the end for some caveats.

Guide to Running SwordSearcher on Linux Operating Systems

Quick tip: Clone panel from the Topic Guide

If you’re using the Topic Guide to find more information on a given topic, sometimes it can seem inconvenient to look at the material, because by default, it will move your Book or Commentary panel content away from what you may be reading.

There’s an easy way around that: Clone Panels (see the Help section). The way this works is instead of moving your Book panel to the content you clicked on, a new window is created instead, leaving your Book Panel alone.

Clone Panels have been part of SwordSearcher for years, but version 9 adds the ability to create a clone panel from the Topic Guide by right-clicking the entry title and selecting Open in a Clone Panel from the menu. This makes it super easy and fast to review a lot of material on a topic without changing the course of your current Bible study.

SwordSearcher Topic Guide

Cloned panel containing topical content

Also, you don’t even need to right-click. Hold down the CTRL button while you click the link, and SwordSearcher will open the content in a clone panel.

Navigation tip: Switching between book tabs and the history menu

SwordSearcher’s Books and Dictionaries panel is designed to help you review similar materials in different books. For example, if you’re viewing the Nave’s Topical Bible entry on Anathema Maran-atha, the Watson’s Dictionary tab is highlighted, and clicking on it will take you to the Anathema Maranatha entry in that dictionary. This works even though the two books use different titles. Note the subtle difference of the hyphenation in Maran-atha.

This is possible because SwordSearcher has a special “best match” algorithm it uses when you switch between book tabs. Minor spelling or orthographic differences don’t typically present a problem for reviewing similar material because of this feature.

However, if you switch between books that do not have similar entries, it is possible to “lose your place” if you don’t realize what is going on. For example, if you’re reading a book comprised of chapters instead of a dictionary, it’s not likely there will be a “close match” in another book. If you switch tabs, SwordSearcher will usually just take you to the first entry.

Sometimes this might seem confusing, and you may wonder how to get back to what you were looking at before.

That’s easy. Just use the back button in the books panel. It remembers what you were viewing. It also has a long memory. Click the back button to go to your previous entry, or, right-click the back button to see a history of what you have viewed in the books panel, and you’ll get right back on track in no time.

The “Back” history menu in the Books panel.

The Bible and Commentary panels also have back/forward navigation buttons with history menus.

Updated video: Making your own books and commentaries

SwordSearcher has long offered the ability to create your own content in the library. This functionality has steadily been improved with new features and tools. Version 8.2, released last week, improves the editor by live-linking verse references as you type. Up until 8.2, verse references were only linked when the entry was saved. This worked well, but now you can make changes and additions and verify that the references are correct before saving the entry. This and other changes over the years prompted me to update (well, completely re-do) the tutorial video on user modules which you can now watch here.

Get an instant book outline from any Bible verse

SwordSearcher includes a book module called Outlines of the Books of the Bible. A great way to use this book is from the Bible margin, where you can link into the verse’s place in an outline of the whole book.

From any verse in the Bible panel, just click the OutlinesBB margin link to see it in an outline of the book, like this:

OutlinesBB link in the Bible Margin
OutlinesBB link in the Bible Margin

This will open the outline for the book, with the verse position highlighted, like this:

Outlines of the Books of the Bible: Esther Chapter 2

That’s it!

What if you don’t see the OutlinesBB book link in the margin?

Right-click the Margin toggle button from the Bible panel, and make sure it is selected in your list of books to include in the margin area:

Right-click the Bible margin toggle button...
Right-click the Bible margin toggle button…

...and make sure OutlinesBB is selected in the list.
…and make sure OutlinesBB is selected in the list.

Quick Tip: Viewing multiple matches from a Full Library Search

If you are doing exhaustive research, one of the tools you might use in SwordSearcher is the Full Library Search (found on the search menu). This lets you find words in your entire library, including books and commentaries, with just a few clicks. Here I am going to show you a very small change in SwordSearcher 8.1 that makes it easier to review search results:

After a Full Library Search, you are presented with a list of entries in your library that contain what you are looking for, along with a preview of the first match in the entry, like this:

Full Library Search results showing that Genesis 1:1 in the Ellicott commentary contains the word "condemned."
Full Library Search results showing that Genesis 1:1 in the Ellicott commentary contains the word “condemned.”

As you can see, there is a match in Genesis 1:1 in the Ellicott commentary. When clicked, the full entry is loaded in the commentary panel.

Now what is important to remember is that the search results are shown a lot like a web search– you only see the first match in the preview. But there may be more.

So in version 8.1, a small change was made to make it easier to cycle through multiple “hits” in the entry. Now there are two additional buttons on the toolbar for the Commentary panel that appear if you are viewing a search result:

The + and - buttons (circled) allow quick scrolling to each match in the entry. These buttons only appear when viewing search results in the panel.
The + and – buttons (circled) allow quick scrolling to each match in the entry. These buttons only appear when viewing search results in the panel.

You can also use the keyboard numeric keypad + and – keys to perform the same action. In fact, this has been possible in previous versions of SwordSearcher, but was hard to learn about without reading the manual. These new buttons make it a lot easier.

The buttons also appear when using the Verse Guide so that you can cycle over multiple verse references matching a verse in an entry.

Understanding the Verse List Bar Graph

When you do a Bible search, the results are displayed in a Verse List panel. At the top of the panel is a Match Frequency Bar Graph that helps you quickly survey the use of the words over the whole Bible.

Match Frequency Bar Graph
Match Frequency Bar Graph

Using this graph you can instantly see where the most and fewest verses are, as well as quickly navigate in the search results.

  • The bars are color-coded for sections of the Bible (Law, Gospels, etc).
  • Hold the mouse pointer over a bar to see the book name and how many verses matched in that book.
  • Click to instantly scroll to the first match from the book.

Just experiment! In no time you’ll see how fast and helpful the bar graph is.

And here are some pro tips:

  • The toolbar in the verse list panel has a toggle button for the bar graph:

Bar graph toggle button
Bar graph toggle button

  • By default, Bible search results show the bar graph, but you can hide it by clicking the toggle button.
  • Other types of verse lists don’t show the bar graph by default. But any verse list actually can display a bar graph, even KJV-TSK reference lists. Just click the toggle button to make it appear.
  • There are even more graphs you can view. Click the Info and Search Statistics button 2017-04-28_13-16-49 on the toolbar for more!
  • If you decide you don’t like seeing the bar graph by default, you can turn it off in preferences. Go to File, Preferences and Settings, Bible and Verse Panels, Verse List Defaults. It’s the setting called Show Bar Graph.

Not seeing the bar graph? It was added in version 8. Please see the upgrade FAQ to learn about upgrading SwordSearcher.