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Camp Logos took me from know-nothing to advanced

TJ Luoma , @tjluoma

Over the weekend, I attended the Camp Logos training seminar for Logos Bible Study software. I have been to lots of seminars, but this was my first one specifically about software, and I went in not really knowing what to expect. I was completely blown away by how useful it was.

When Logos for Mac came out last year, I spent a little bit of time using it, but I never really got into it. Logos 4 is a major redesign, and it was recently released for Mac. This is software that I could use on a daily basis, and learning more about it would save me a great deal of time, so it seemed like a good fit.

Read on for more...

Logos is a cross-platform app, and it deviates from some of the normal Mac ways of doing things. For example, the toolbar next to the "Command" box can't be customized by right clicking and choosing "Customize," but the instructor (Morris Proctor, a former Logos user turned full-time teacher and author) explained that we could type commands into the command box and then drag them from there onto the toolbar. For example, he had us type "Close All" in the Command field, then drag it over to the toolbar; this gave us a one click "clean up" button rather than having to close a bunch of windows one at a time or remember the keyboard shortcut.

The way Logos handles windows and tabs is also different than most other Mac apps. There's a main window; inside the window are tiles, and inside the tiles are tabs. Logos has a "Layouts" menu, but it didn't really make much sense to me, so I had mostly ignored it. We learned how to manage windows, tiles, and tabs, plus create our own custom layouts and "link" windows together so that as one window changes, the other windows will automatically scroll or change to keep up.

Now, I have a custom layout that shows me four different Bible translations and another that shows me a Bible and commentary side-by-side. Morris also explained that if we get to a point where we have a bunch of different Logos windows on our screen, selecting one of the predefined layouts will tell Logos to "clean up" our workspace and organize it automatically.

I've organized my library so that I can do more refined searches and have a better chance of finding what I'm looking for without having to sort through a bunch of unhelpful results. By prioritizing some items in my library (open the Library, click on Prioritize), Logos knows which Bibles and commentaries I prefer and will choose those when I access other tools.

That's just a tiny fraction of everything we learned. We met for four hours on Friday evening and all day Saturday. During that time, I went from someone who knew practically nothing about Logos (other than how to do a basic text search) to being able to do advanced searches, customizations, and actually use the software in the most efficient way possible. Every single tip, trick, or "How To" in the course is going to be useful to me going forward.

Since Logos for Mac is fairly new, I wondered how much Mac interest there would be. I was surprised to see that about 40% of the people who attended were using MacBooks. Although the demonstration machine was a Windows box, Morris also made sure to mention both Mac and PC keyboard shortcuts, so I never felt like a "second-class citizen" as a Mac user.

If you are a Logos user who wants to learn more about the software, especially if you think you're not getting everything out of it that you could, I highly recommend Camp Logos. I wouldn't be surprised if even people who consider themselves very familiar with Logos learned some new tips and tricks. Check out the schedule of upcoming seminars to see if there's one near you. Morris also sells two training manuals on his website. I bought both of these, not only as a refresher, but also because there's more in there than we could cover in two days. I also bought the Inductive Bible Study book and sermon preparation book, which show how to use the software for specific purposes.

(Accordance Users: don't feel left out! Accordance runs some free training seminars for you. I plan to attend one of those if I can work out the timing and find a location close enough.)

Editor's Note: TJ's registration fees for Camp Logos were waived by the training organizers after he signed up; he paid his own travel and lodging expenses. Other than that consideration, no sponsorship or advertising relationship exists between Camp Logos and TUAW. See our policy on blogger travel and coverage.

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