Logos 8 launched on October 29, 2019 bringing some interesting new features to the popular Bible software program for Mac and Windows. They also updated their mobile apps for iOS and Android and launched a significant update to the Logos Web App. These updates unify the Logos experience. We’ll focus mostly on the Windows and Mac versions, looking at the new features in the Logos 8 upgrade.
Logos 8 Video Overview
You may want to see Logos in action so I’ve provided an overview of the user interface. Also, see our previous review of Logos. Here’s my video overview below:
The five reasons to upgrade include:
- Dashboard – a more useful homepage compared to previous versions.
- Workflows – these make the Guides even better, especially for beginning Bible students.
- Notes – they’re getting better, even if they’re not yet as good as other programs.
- Canvas – while you’ll probably need some design skills, the Canvas tool helps you make nice visual presentations of ideas.
- Speed – searching and indexing take far less time than previous versions.
1) Logos 8 Review: New Home Page Dashboard
Previous versions of the Logos 8 Home Page included a mixture of articles from the company’s websites, snippets or images from books, and links to various books and features in the program. Most advanced Logos users turned off the Home Page and opened the software directly to their favorite layout or last used workspace. Faithlife changed the Home Page adding what’s called the Dashboard. As a result, users may prefer to leave it as the default look when opening Logos 8.
The Dashboard still has links to articles, books, and features like the old Home Page. However, above those you now see a collection of cards that link to things like your personal prayer lists, lectionary readings, reading plans, courses, and workflows.
Users can add cards by clicking on the plus icon in the upper right corner of the Dashboard (see image above).
You can add the following to your Dashboard:
- Courses – training in various areas that bring Bible college training to the user via their Bible software.
- Daily Devotionals – devotional books quickly accessible on the home page.
- Layouts – a collection of books used for different kinds of Bible study.
- Lectionaries – the organized reading of scripture arranged by usually by a denomination for an entire year.
- Prayer Lists – create a list of items you want to pray about.
- Book and Bible Reading Plans – organize a plan to read the Bible or another book and put it here to quickly access.
- Workflows – the step-by-step study plans.
The cards work like hyperlinks to open those features in Logos.
Above the plus icon, there’s a Settings icon. This handles the layout of the Dashboard. Users can change how many columns the Dashboard includes. To go back to the Dashboard from anywhere in Logos 8 click on the Home icon at the left end of the toolbar.
The Dashboard on the installed Windows or Mac version of Logos 8 looks a lot like the Logos Web App Dashboard. You can find the Web App at app.logos.com. The mobile apps also now have a similar Dashboard on the Home page.
2) Logos 8 Review: Workflows for Step-by-step Bible Study
Almost 15 years ago, I bought a copy of Logos 3 and installed it on my Windows PC. The Passage Guide changed my view of how Bible software could help me prepare sermons and Bible studies. The Logos Passage Guide searches your entire library for references to a given passage in each book and presents the results categorized in types of books – commentaries, cross-references dictionaries, and much more. They also offer guides for both English and Original Language study of words and topics.
In Logos 8 they improved on the Guides, amped up the study power, and created a new style of guide called a Workflow. The program comes with a few built-in Workflows plus a Workflow Editor. You can find the Guides and Workflows under the Guides menu item. If you don’t like the organization of the built-in Workflows, you can create your own and they will sync to other machines and to the Logos Web App.
The built-in Logos 8 Workflows are:
- Basic Bible Study
- Basic Biblical Topic Study
- Biblical Person Study
- Biblical Place Study
- Expository Sermon Preparation
- Lectio Divina
- Passage Exegesis
- Praying Scripture
- Word Study (Original Language)
Imagine a seminary professor sat next to you as you worked and told you what steps to take while you studied the Bible. That’s what each of the Workflows does for Bible students. Each Workflow focuses on a specific kind of Bible study. For example, the Basic Bible Study Workflow will guide you through the steps of studying a passage for personal edification and offer to let you share your thoughts or quotes with others through social media or by exporting a document. Preachers will like the Expository Sermon Preparation Workflow. It guides the preacher through the steps of studying a passage and then organizing thoughts into a sermon outline. Consider working through it if you preach or teach the Bible. It’s well-organized and presents a wonderful study approach.
Users can create their own Guides or Workflows using the New button in the lower right corner. It pops up a list of two options – Make a New Guide and Make a New Workflow. These open the editors letting users create their own workflow.
The Workflow editor lets you add a new section by clicking on an Add button. A list of sections and tools pops up. Click them and then edit things to give you the tools you want to include in your custom Workflow.
I haven’t mastered Workflows yet. I like the built-in Workflows, but they’re not exactly what I want, so I plan to create my own soon. If it feels a little challenging, check out the Logos Pros page for tutorials.
3) Logos 8 Review: Notes Feature Reengineered
I use notes a lot in Bible software. It’s the most important feature in my arsenal, aside from reading the Bible, language study, and commentaries. Unfortunately, Logos ranked well below other companies in the quality and usefulness of their Notes feature. With Logos 8, they’ve made significant improvements to the Notes feature with more changes on the way.
In prior versions, if you tried to put your notes in one document, the program crashed and slowed down. In Logos 8, no longer do users need to worry about the program crashing from a large Notes document. We can now put everything in one file and group them by Notebooks. In prior versions, they used to store highlights in the Notes documents. This caused some confusion and still does for some users. They did away with different files and now put them all in one place and group them into Notebooks. You’ll see this the Filters (green section below).
The new Notes feature lets the user add a note without having to organize it into a file (although you can if you want).
In the image above you’ll see three sections of the Notes editor:
- The green box shows the filters.
- The center section in yellow shows what the Note is attached to. (In the Bible, you see the yellow squares that indicate that the verse has a note attached to it.)
- The red section shows the actual Notes editor.
The filters let you organize notes by the book of the Bible or other Resources, like a commentary, dictionary, or monograph (single author book). You can also organize them by type – highlights or notes. There’s also the time modified from last 7 days, 14 days, or 30 days.
The actual Notes editor offers basic tools like text forming, alignment, lists, and adding links. The links will show up automatically if you type a passage like 1 John 1:9. It becomes a hyperlink to your top Bible. It also is a pop-up box. You can use the link button on the toolbar of the Notes editor to add links to other places like a commentary. When I refer to something I learned by reading a commentary or other book, I copy the link using the menu in that book (three dots at the far right end of the book’s toolbar). Then I create a link in my notes to that book’s content so it will pop up when I hover over it or jump to it when I click it.
Each note can link to a Bible passage or other book. I don’t make a lot of notes on things like commentaries or lexicons. I do create notes on my Christian Living books or Leadership books. However, you can edit that Anchor, which is the location to which that Note connects. Sometimes I connect a note to a single verse but then realize this note should connect to a range of verses. I can Add Anchor in the Notes Editor (see above).
There’s now a New Note button in the upper right corner of the Notes Editor. With that button, you can add a new note to the notebook or to a Bible passage. This also lets you quickly add a highlight of the current Bible verse. If I select a Bible verse I can click the New Note button and it will attach a note to that verse only in that translation. I would prefer that the default would detach it from the translation and attach it to the verse in all translations so that I can see the notes indicator whether I’m reading the CSB, the KJV, the NASB, and others.
All of your notes will sync to Logos servers. Some may dislike this, but it means any note I add to the Web App or on my iPad will show up in the desktop version. If you don’t use other devices and don’t often enjoy a solid Internet connection, then this may not outweigh the privacy concerns some might have.
4) Logos 8 Review: Canvas for Visual Presentation
Logos 8 adds something called Canvas, a way to visually present data. A lot of preachers and Bible students like to use mind mapping to organize their thoughts. Now you can in a Canvas. People who love Infographics can make them in Canvas. They can create charts, lists, and more.
The new Canvas feature shows up under Docs on the main Logos menu (see below).
Click the New button and it will show a list of all the various document types that users can create in Logos 8. Canvas shows up second.
When you open a new Canvas you see the following:
The left column shows your tools. The center is the blank canvas. The right shows the Document settings for configuring the document. I tested this and came up with pretty basic results. I’m not as talented as the winners of a contest that Logos had for the private beta testers. Here’s a couple of beautiful examples of what a user can do with a Canvas.
The above shows the seven days of creation. The beautiful creation by Randy W. Sims shows the creation’s days and what was created each day. When you create this kind of Canvas, it will interact with the viewer. In the example above, viewers can click the days to see what was created in each day of the week of creation. Take a look at the example below created by Reuben Helmuth.
In this interactive Canvas, the home and arrow buttons at the bottom will take you to the first screen or to the next and previous screens. The above shows the last page. You can create these yourselves given the time and effort.
What would you use the Canvas tool for?
- Mindmap of a passage or topic
- To display information about a passage or topic, like the first example above
- Show a visual outline of a passage with images to explain concepts
- A flowchart of a book of the Bible to quickly show the outline in a visual way
- Visually explain aspects of a Hebrew or Greek word with links to examples in the Bible
That’s just a small list of what you can do. Your own creativity will be your only limit. Also, you can share your Canvas creations with others and download others’ creations.
My first thought when I saw the Canvas document was this: I want this on my iPad so that I can draw the shapes and lines with my Apple Pencil. It is available on the new Web App.
5) Logos 8 Review: Speed Boost in Searching and Indexing
“Logos takes a long to start up, search the library and forever to index the library.” I hear more people complain about these two things than anything else. Logos promises that Logos 8 will help fix the speed issues. They say installation (which includes indexing the library) will take half the time since it’s 2X faster than Logos 7. Searching, they claim, will find results 10X faster.
I didn’t run any benchmarks on any of these claims. Launching Logos 8 takes longer than other Bible study programs I have installed but it’s much better in this latest version. It launches in under 10 seconds on my 2017 MacBook Pro with a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 300Mbps Internet connection. Your speed will vary first based on Internet speed, processor, and RAM. The greatest impact will be from the kind of hard drive. If you don’t have an SSD, it will be significantly slower.
Indexing, the process of Logos organizing their database for searching, does take a long time the first time you install Logos. However, it’s gotten a lot better in recent updates to Logos 7 and 8 seems a little faster. It’s no longer a real issue.
The speed of basic searches in Logos 8 dramatically improved over Logos 7. If you do a lot of complex searches, you will likely notice a big bump in search speeds.
This version of Logos changes how you start a search. They used to have a dedicated Search button on the toolbar by itself. However, now the search box is integrated into the command box. To perform a search you type your word and then a drop-down shows you options. For example, I searched for “predestine” and it shows the option to run a Word Study Guide or to Search Predestine, search in my favorite Bible, or in everything in my library. The first option searches in Bible dictionaries but doesn’t say that. The second obviously searches in my number one Bible. The third option searches the entire library. And it did the search in under 2 seconds, much faster than before.
We’ll take a closer look at the mobile versions of Logos Bible apps in a separate review, but here’s a quick look at what’s new. Notice below the Home Page on the far left. Notice it has a version of the Dashboard under an ad for their Faithlife Connect subscription service.
You also see that they replaced the Bible icon with a Store icon that opens a store to buy more books. This was met with negative feedback by users. There are store links in many places, like the top of the Menu which you access from the icon on the bottom right. See it in the screenshot on the far right at the top. I hope they change this because this takes up a lot of space with a feature that most users will never use after they buy their package, which most do from their website.
Above you’ll see the new app on an iPad. It shows the Bible on the left and a commentary on the right. The center button on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen opens a switcher that lets you open new screens and open dual panes that you can link or unlink as they will scroll together. That way the screen above will let you scroll down in the Bible and it will force the commentary to scroll also.
I prefer to use the Logos Web App over any other online Bible study website. While it’s still not feature-complete compared to the desktop app, it’s better than any other online tool.
Web App ToolbarThe most recent release brings powerful Bible study to the Internet making it a great solution for Chromebook users. It needs some tweaks to work better in iOS Safari and Android Chrome browsers. You can use it for free with a limited library, but if you’re already a Logos customer, you can use the full version.
Here is what’s available in the Web App:
- Same Home page as Desktop similar to the Mobile app.
- Same toolbar as the Desktop although the Docs, Guides and Tools menus show fewer features (see comparison above).
- I can open many of the documents created in the desktop app, but I can only create a few.
- Guides menu shows the Workflows but fewer Guides.
- Most of the often-used Tools show up but not all of them.
- Customized Toolbar icons show up just like it does in the desktop app however with fewer of the icons I placed on my Desktop toolbar (see comparison above).
- The Layouts icon shows options for layouts, but none of my customized or the built-in Layouts in the desktop app.
- Links menu takes me to other online sites and actually has more links than the desktop.
- There’s a User Profile icon in the Web App but not the Desktop toolbar.
- A lot of the tools in Desktop including the new Canvas.
Logos 8 Costs
Logos handles upgrade costs by factoring in what books users might already own. So you can see estimated costs of upgrading below. We also listed the cost for brand new users of each level of Logos 8 Bible software. Prices are rounded.
The full feature set, meaning all the new features plus what they used to include in previous versions will cost $600 brand new and $193 for those upgrading. If you want more books to go with your package, see the list of costs below. The second price is estimated based on what you already own. Logos uses dynamic pricing to give discounts so you don’t pay twice for books you already own.
The first price below is for new buyers and the second is an estimated price people upgrading from version 7. If you own version 6 the upgrade will cost more.
- Starter – $295/$93
- Bronze – $630/$128
- Silver – $1,000/$295
- Gold – $1,550/$419
- Platinum – $2,150/$662
- Diamond – $3,500/$1,408
- Portfolio – $5,980/$2,171
- Collector’s – $10,800/$3,980
The Faithlife Connect Option:
Users can get Logos 8 another way: Faithlife Connect users will get Logos 8 as part of their subscription. Faithlife Connect offers a subscription at multiple levels. The Starter subscription costs $8.99/month billed annually or $11.99 monthly. You get the latest version of Logos when released. Plus you get a small library of books. Add-ons include a video service called Faithlife TV, their monthly print magazine called Bible Study Magazine, and one video course per year. Video courses show users how to use Logos to study specific topics, like learning original languages, overviews of a book of the Bible and more.
I subscribe to the Essential Faithlife Connect level and this gives me a slightly larger library, 2 video courses, 2 free eBooks per month, and a 2% reward for books I buy (this gives me future discounts). The Standard level adds 4 courses per year and a bigger library. The Essential’s level is the sweet spot.
Happy Logos customers should get the upgrade for the speed improvements, the Workflows, and the new Dashboard. If you like to create visual presentations of your study material, then the Canvas tool will further entice you to upgrade.
Every Logos 7 user or users of older versions should definitely look closely at Logos 8. People unhappy with their current Bible software should always take a close look at Logos, Accordance, and WordSearch if you’re on Windows. e-Sword and Olive Tree offer more simple packages.
If you long for a desktop-class computer program with touch support for your Windows touch machine, then you’ll have to wait with Logos. Their mobile app supports touch support, but while you can use your fingers and a stylus like a mouse, they still are not designed with touch in mind, so you’ll experience some problems on a computer with a touchscreen.
Faithlife Connect is a low-cost way to get a look at Logos 8 without a long-term investment. You can get a 2-week free trial and if you like it you can subscribe or buy the software. People who want to own their software outright instead of subscribing should look at the various packages available. I use Logos every week to prepare my sermons. It’s one of the top options for high-level Bible software.