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Accordance 13 Bible Software [Review]


Accordance 13 is the latest update in the advanced Bible study market. There is a modest improvement over the previous version and it comes at a modest price. For an additional cost, you can add new books to your library with one of the new upgrade collections. The developers focused first on making Accordance more user-friendly for their users. Accordance 13 adds features making it more understandable for novices and advanced users alike.

We’ll take a look at the new version and analyze whether it’s worth the upgrade. If you’re searching for a powerful new Bible study program, read along:

What’s New in Accordance 13

Accordance added some great new features in the most recent update. You can get a more detailed look in this video with two of the Accordance Bible Software’s training team, Mark Allison and Rick Mansfield on the Theotek Podcast.

The above video shows off most of the new features. Some of those will not be lifechanging unless you have narrow needs. Accordance Bible Software gives details on all of the new features on their website. Here’s the list of my five favorite new features included in Accordance 13:

  • New Colorful Themes
  • Find Preferences Easily with Search Box
  • Built-in Training and Tutorials Show How to Use the Software
  • New Highlighting Tools
  • PDF Import Tool

 Let’s take a look at the above five new features that make it worth the cost of upgrading to Accordance 13.

#1 – New Colorful Themes

Users can change the look of Accordance 13 in the program’s settings panel. Get to it on a Mac by clicking on the Accordance menu. Then choose Preferences. In Windows, you’ll find the Preferences menu by going to Edit and then Preferences. There’s a keyboard shortcut to get to it as well. On Mac use COMMAND + , (that’s the comma key), On Windows use CTRL + , (again, that’s the comma key).

accordance 13 preferences on macos


Now find the Appearance option inside Preferences. There’s a drop-down box in the top center of the box labeled General Theme.

appearance screen in accordance 13 preferences

Take a look at the slideshow below to see what each of the Accordance 13 themes looks like. Click each image to see the full screenshot.

#2 – Find Preferences Easily with Search Box

The Settings menu in Accordance includes hundreds of ways to customize how you use the program. Because it includes so many customizable features, it may be hard to find them. A new search box was added to the Preferences window that allows you to type the feature and it shows a list of possible settings. Click the option you want and it opens the tab where that setting shows up.

#3 – Built-in Training and Tutorials

accordance 13 built-in tutorials

The update to Accordance 13 now offers built-in training and tutorials. On your toolbar, you’ll see a Tutorials menu. If it’s not there, right-click the toolbar and choose Customize Toolbar. Find the Tutorials button and drag it to the Toolbar.

For Windows users, go to the Help Menu and choose Tutorials.

tutorials accordance 13 on windows

Click on the button and a menu drops down with dozens of included Tutorials. The top section shows the Tutorials grouped by Difficulty level (Easy, Intermediate, Advanced). The rest of the menu shows them based on Topics.

Click on a Tutorial to run it. The Tutorials will show you how to accomplish certain tasks and will include each step of the process. You can either do it yourself or there’s a button labeled Do It For Me.

Above you’ll see one of the Easy Tutorials that shows users how to Open Books. Notice that it has a Do It For Me button and an Exit button so you can quit before the Tutorial finishes.

Open Books Step in Tutorial

The Tutorial will walk you through each step. Above you’ll see the 2nd step in the Open Books Tutorial. It points to the Library and highlights that part of the program user interface.

Accordance is continually adding new Tutorials. The Tutorials feature alone makes the upgrade worth the price. If you’re a new Accordance user or want to learn more about the program features after you’ve mastered the basics, Accordance 13 is the right option.

#4 – Highlighting Tools

accordance 13 quick highlighting tool

Accordance has always offered a highlighting feature, but in the new version, it is improved in some interesting ways. Now, there’s a pop-up tool that shows recently used highlighting styles so you can quickly add them to text.

Notice in the image above that I used the yellow and light blue highlighter. It also shows the eraser and the style palette button, which opens the full highlighting style choosing panel as seen below.

accordance 13 highlighting styles palette

The Pen Tool lets you mark up the text in a new way. Draw circles or boxes around words, connect things with lines, arcs or arrows, and the program will automatically smooth it out and make them look more professional.

accordance 13 highlighting styles palette
The new Pen Highlighting lets you draw on the screen. Compare it to the one below.

As you change the size of the text, the lines will move to the new location.

accrodance 13 highlighting redrawn
Notice that the pen markup moved with the words when compared to the image above.

A new Whiteboard Tool lets you draw on the screen. This makes teaching with Accordance on an external display useful. These highlights go away unless you screenshot them with your computer and save them in a note.

On a Mac, you can take a screenshot by using the SHIFT+ COMMAND+4 and draw a box around the marked-up text. On Windows, use the Windows Snipping Tool using the directions found on Microsoft’s support page.

Add the image as a note on the passage by hovering over the right margin next to the verse. Click on the plus icon that pops up. In the upper right corner of the new Note window Click the image icon. Select the screenshot, and this adds the image to your note.

There is also an eraser tab in the Highlighter window. Click it and then click on the drawing marks to get rid of them.

#5 – PDF Import Tool

Users can expand their library with the PDF Import Tool. If you have a PDF file, you can easily add it to your library with this new tool. It’s a little limited, but works.

accordance 13 pdf import tool

Click on the File menu and choose User Files, then Import User Tool. A box pops up that lets you choose what kind of new User Tool to create. Choose PDF from the drop-down box at the top of the new window. Choose Create a New User Tool to make a new file. The program gives you a copyright warning. Click on OK and then find the PDF you want to import. Select it and click on OK.

accordance 13 import to user tool box

The program imports the file. It works quickly unless you have a very large PDF file. Type a title into the box and hit OK and the file will be imported. Now you can edit the file to correct any mistakes in the original document. Hit Update to save the file.

After you import PDF files, they will show up in your Library under My Tools. They behave like any other User Tool.

Other Updates

Accordance 13 offers a number of other new features and updates. You’ll also notice that they added the following:

  • Dark Mode for Mac
  • Search in Easy Install to find files to add to your library
  • Text Command
  • Amplify to Construct
  • Highlight Parallel Words in English, Hebrew, and Septuagint
  • Auto 3D Maps

You can see a demo of many of the above features in the video I made with two of Accordance Bible Software’s training experts on the Theotek YouTube channel.

Accordance 13 User Interface

If you want to learn more about the overall Accordance user interface, see the Accordance 12 review we published in 2017.

The program has a simple user interface with a customizable toolbar across the top. On the left side of the screen, you’ll see the Library. This Library window has a search box at the top to help you find your books. They come categorized by kind of book, but you can customize it with new folders, rearrange the lists, and filter by type.

The program also has Workspaces that you can set up and save. You can save a Workspace with a favorite Bible, commentary and an atlas. Set up Workspaces however you want and then save them. You can sync them across computers and back them up using Dropbox.

Accordance offers a ton of keyboard shortcuts to work quickly. Go into Preferences to find them, learn them, and customize them.

Most Useful Features

While the following features aren’t new, they are useful and make Accordance a great choice for serious Bible students.

analytics in accordance 13

  • Analytics – show your search results in visual form (like the bar graph seen above) so you can learn more about what you’ve looked for.
  • Info Pane – this tool searches your library and looks for content based on the passage displayed in the Bible you’ve got open.
  • Interlinear Tool – customize what you want to show in an interlinear.
  • Amplify – search the whole library for every instance of a particular passage or topic selected in the Bible window.
  • Research Box – search your library for things entered into the Research Box in the upper right corner (see below).

Research Feature Accordance 13

The Amplify feature lets you search the whole library or parts of the library. For example, you can find every place in all your dictionaries that mentioned a Bible verse. Search for the verse and choose only dictionaries in the screen’s drop-down box.

You can learn more about the tools in Accordance using the Tutorials built into the new version or by going to the Accordance support website and find their Podcasts, Live Webinars, Training Seminars and more. Accordance has great training for free.

Who Accordance 13 is Best For

Accordance 13 is best for anyone who wants a fast, reliable program to do advanced Bible study. It’s a simple tool, but, if you only want to search the Bible and read it with a few study Bibles, then you can find cheaper and simpler tools. Scholars, pastors, and seminary students really should take a look at Accordance 13. It has all the tools you need to do advanced Bible study, research, and simple Bible reading.

Scholars translating the Bible into a new language or doing scholarly research will love the advanced language study tools. Pastors can use Accordance 13 for their sermon and Bible study preparation. The large library of Bibles, commentaries, and reference books give a Bible student enough to work primarily in English too.  They also have the tools to help you do language study, even if you’re not a Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic expert.

Advanced students can also use Accordance for simple Bible reading. It opens quickly on a Mac or PC. You can fire it up and find a single verse to include in a blog post or email to a friend.

Should you switch to Accordance from other programs? Here’s who should consider switching to Accordance…

  • Pastors or advanced Bible students using programs or mobile apps that don’t offer advanced searching and language study.
  • People who want large libraries of commentaries and other reference books.
  • Anyone who’s unhappy with their current program or feels like the company that makes their program doesn’t offer very good customer support.


Anyone running Accordance 12 or older should take advantage of Accordance 13’s upgrade price for $50. Or for $10 more add the basic starter collection. A lite version has the basic tools and it’s free. That’s a great way to test it out first. See how it differs from the full program on their site.

They also offer some nice discounts for students, pastors and more as follows:

  • Full-time students
  • Faculty
  • Home-school families
  • Full-time and retired ministers
  • Missionaries
  • Upgrades
  • Crossgrades – switching from a competitor’s program.
  • BibleWorks users now that BibleWorks shut down production.

You probably don’t need to get Accordance if you’re pleased with your current Bible study solution or if you don’t need advanced searching, language features or a large library. Also, if you primarily use a Bible for devotions, don’t get Accordance. The built-in devotion tools are not as good as others.

Many people use digital Bible study on both a computer (Mac or PC) and a mobile solution (iPhone, iPad, Android tablet, phone or Chromebook). Apple users will enjoy using the Accordance mobile app, but the Accordance Android app is way behind. If you’re primarily an Android user, then you should go with another option.

Kevin Purcell
Kevin Purcellhttp://www.kevinpurcell.org
Dr. Kevin Purcell is a pastor, writer, and tech enthusiast. He serves High Peak Baptist Church as pastor. He is passionate about digital Bible study and enjoys helping others delve into God's Word using tech tools. Kevin is married to Barb, an elementary school teacher, and is father to two college-age sons. Pastor Kevin blogs at https://www.kevinpurcell.org/


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