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.

SwordSearcher 8.2 Released

SwordSearcher 8.2 is now available.

Be sure to try out the new Word Trees tool — a fun, unique way to see word and phrase connections in the Bible.

If you’re a SwordSearcher user already, go here for your upgrade.

Q2 2018

If you are using a version older than 8.0, be sure to watch the video that shows what’s new in SwordSearcher 8.

New Modules:

  • Joseph Sutcliffe’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments (1835) [Commentary module: Sutcliffe]
  • Reviving the Blessed Hope of Thessalonians (by Douglas Stauffer and Andrew Ray, 2016) [Book module: StauRBHT] A book-form commentary on 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. Includes 17 charts.
  • When the End Begins (by Douglas Stauffer and Andrew Ray, 2017) [Book module: StauWTEB] A book-form commentary on Matthew chapters 24 and 25. Includes 60 charts.

Major new features:

  • Bible Word Trees:Bible Word Trees in SwordSearcher
    • Bible Word Trees show fascinating connections between words and phrases in the Bible.
    • The Word Tree is a visualization tool (like the Word Cloud Generator) designed to help you see Bible search results in a very different way.
    • See groupings of the sentences and phrases flowing into and out of a word or phrase across the whole Bible or just chapters or books.
    • Connections between words and phrases can suddenly become obvious where they can be hard to spot in a conventional list of verses.
    • Fully interactive. Fast.
    • Integrated: load conventional verse lists and search results based on the word trees for further study.
    • See dozens of word tree previews for any portion of Scripture, like a chapter or book, to get ideas for additional exploration, or just to get a new birds-eye view of a passage.
  • Live verse tagging in the user module entry editor:
    • It is no longer necessary to save the text you are editing to see what will be automatically linked as a verse reference.
    • As you type, the editor will “live tag” any text that is recognized as a verse reference so you can see immediately what will be linked and it will instantly respond to any changes you make.
    • You can hold your mouse pointer over the live tag to see the text in a pop-up preview to verify it is what you intended.
    • Additional options when right-clicking a live-tagged reference in the editor.
    • Also added a handy keyboard shortcut for power users to insert a “contextual reference” at the caret position (Ctrl+R):
      • This inserts the book and chapter from the most recent verse reference recognized up to the caret position.
      • This is just a convenience keyboard shortcut to avoid the need to re-type book and chapter repeatedly when making a series of references broken up by other text.
  • Full-library Search Results display has been redesigned:
    • The layout of library search result previews has been improved.
    • More previews of matching text inside of entries are visible without taking up much more space.
    • Match previews also indicate how many individual matches there are in each entry, in addition to each module, so it is more obvious when an entry has multiple matches beyond what is visible in the preview.
    • Significant performance improvements.
  • Many additional optimizations and fixes. See the full revision history for detail.

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.

Quick tip: Library Tab Alignment Options in SwordSearcher 8.1

Version 8.1 adds a new option for controlling the alignment of the library tabs. This option is called Static Multi-Row and affects how tabs are placed in the Bible, Book, and Commentary panels.

Normally, a tab control in Windows software holds to a tabbed folder paradigm. This means that the active tab is always “attached” to the contents below it. If there is more than one row of tabs, clicking a tab in an upper row will move the row down so that it is connected to the contents for the tab. This is how it has always been in SwordSearcher in previous versions. This image demonstrates how the top row “moves down” if one of its tabs is selected:

The usual tab movement for multi-row tab controls. Clicking TSK moves it to the bottom row.
The usual tab movement for multi-row tab controls. Clicking TSK moves it to the bottom row.

Over the years many users have reported that this behavior can be confusing, especially at first. So in SwordSearcher 8.1, a new option was added to fix tab positions regardless of which is active. This is called Static Multi-Row and looks like this:

Static Multi-row Tabs: the BibIllus tab is active, but remains in the top row in its alphabetical position.
Static Multi-row Tabs: the BibIllus tab is active, but remains in the top row in its alphabetical position.

The BibIllus tab is active, but it retains it’s top-row position so that it still appears alphabetically placed.

During beta testing, this new option was liked so well by testers that it is actually the new default setting. So to use this, you don’t need to change anything. However, if you would like to change the behavior, the old alignment method is still an option.

Preferences and Settings (File menu) Tab Appearance page.
Preferences and Settings (File menu) Tab Appearance page.

Choose Normal Multi-Row to use the previous behavior (which is more consistent with other Windows controls). Additionally, you can choose the Single Row option if you do not want multiple rows of tabs at all.

It can also be helpful to change the color of the Active or Inactive tabs here, so that the active tabs “stands out” a bit more. Experiment with the color settings to see what works best for you.

You can also change the shape of the tabs as well. The default setting of Square Corners is the most compact tab style. See what you like best!

SwordSearcher 8.1 Released

This is always one of my favorite things to do every new year: announce a new SwordSearcher release! Version 8.1 is now available and brings several enhancements and some new library content.

Be sure to read the Upgrade FAQ if you are already a SwordSearcher user.

What’s New in SwordSearcher 8.1

New Modules:

  • J. C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (4 vol. commentary) [RyleETG]
  • Ellicott’s Bible Commentary for English Readers (8 vol. commentary edited by Charles J. Ellicott) [Ellicott]
  • Through the Bible Day by Day (7 vol. devotional commentary by F. B. Meyer) [MeyerTTB]


  • By popular request, library tabs no longer change position to force the active tab to appear on the bottom row of tabs. (This is optional in preferences.)
  • New StudyClick function: Ctrl-Clicking a module link (like from the Bible margin) loads the module entry in a clone panel instead of the main library panels.
  • Added full support for Windows “High Contrast” mode:
    • The optional High Contrast setting in Windows 8 and 10 is an easy system-wide toggle (left Alt + left Shift + PrintScreen) that changes the way applications appear when you need to have less color or a black background. It’s a good option for those late nights when your monitor is shining too brightly in your eyes. SwordSearcher now supports this display mode 100%! Please see Microsoft’s documentation on High Contrast Mode for more details on using this accessibility mode in Windows.
  • Added “+/-” buttons to Commentary and Book panels that appear when there are match highlights in the text, from Verse Guide, Topic Guide, and Library Searches.
  • The following have been updated with corrections:
    • TSK and KJV-TSK
    • Web1913 (Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1913)
    • ISBE (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
      • Rebuilt from a new source text incorporating thousands of corrections and formatting improvements.
      • Some missing entries have been restored.
      • Greek and Hebrew text from the original work is now included.
      • Significant improvements to verse linking.
    • KJVSL
    • SGreek and SHebrew dictionaries
    • SRV, SRVSL updated to Jan 2017 text.
    • TR
    • WH
  • Added search results Verse List right-click popup menu copy option: Copy selected text including highlighting. Use this when you want to include the bold/background formatting of the matches in the text.
  • Editor font list most-recently-used persists between editor loads in the same SwordSearcher session.
  • Various enhancements to the following SwordSearcher features and tools:
    • Verse reference recognition.
    • Scan Text for Verse References tool.
    • Printer Page Setup (File menu).
    • High-DPI and Multi-DPI support improvements.
    • Bible Search Result Information and Statistics window.
    • Main search bar.
    • Bookmark system.
    • Forward/Back navigation handling.
    • Clone panel scroll position.
  • Many additional optimizations and bug fixes. More details can be read here.

Try this in your Bible reading

When you come across a verse that is hard to understand, don’t go straight to a commentary. I know, this may sound like a strange suggestion from someone who makes Bible Software, but just give this a try and see what happens. I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with reading commentaries — that’s not what this is about.

Try to make a habit of cross-referencing before you do anything else in SwordSearcher. Before you read your favorite commentators or start clicking on links in the Bible margin for topical references, check out some cross-references first. If you already do this regularly then you already know how satisfying this is during Bible study. If you never really did it this way before, give it a shot using the KJV-TSK in SwordSearcher [video tutorial]. It will help you with copious cross-references. Another helpful tool is the Find Related Verses function [video tutorial], which helps you do Bible searches based on the words in a verse you are studying.


Psalm 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.