How to Make Your Logos Screen Look Like a Pro’s

organize-screen-like-proI frequently have lots of books and Bible and articles and dictionaries and commentaries and guides and search tabs open in Logos. How do I organize and manage them?

Like a pro, a Logos Pro.

If you let me give you some basic tips on how to organize your screen, I’ll reveal an extra trick for those truly dedicated to window management.

1. Don’t have too many columns

I have three computer monitors, one of which I have rotated vertically—because any person on the street who cares about computer monitor orientation can tell you that massively wide letterbox screens are not well suited for reading or writing. They make line length unmanageable.

I am ruthless about screenspace, because if I try to get more than two columns on my tall monitor, I feel like I’m sitting in coach between two body-builders:

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I prefer first class and its breathing room (and its hot, moistened face towels—a Logos Now feature). Even on a widescreen monitor, I don’t let my columns proliferate.

I always use the right-hand side of my Logos window for books and articles. The left-hand side I reserve for Bibles, searches, and guides. This way I always know at a glance where I’m at and what I’m doing. I may have multiple tabs open, but never multiple panels on my main screen. Just two:

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2. Use your second monitor

LCD monitors are cheap these days, and many or most of us have more than one on our desks. And here comes my promised trick. If I feel I must have more than two windows open, I pop one out of Logos and move it over to one of those secondary monitors.

Here’s how: you can always right click on a tab and choose “Open in a floating window.” But I like to control my whole computer from my keyboard as much as possible, so I use ⌘⌥F on my Mac (Ctrl+F11 in Windows) to float whatever the current window is.

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This is particularly useful when I want to turn my Bible panel into a “Multiview Resources” panel. I pop out Logos windows like this one that requires multiple columns, and I place them on the widescreen monitor that I have next to my vertical one.

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If you run Windows, you can then take that Window and move it to a different monitor using ⊞Win+↑, ⊞Win+↓, ⊞Win+←, or ⊞Win+→. (Mac users will need to cough up $12.99 for an app sold by a third party—unless someone knows a better solution.) This means that with a few lightning-fast keyboard shortcuts that are now part of my muscle memory, I can float a Logos window, move it to another monitor, and maximize it. I am a true nerd.

3. Check out Quickstart Layouts

There is a brand new Logos 7 feature for window management which I hope new users, especially, will take advantage of: Quickstart Layouts. If you’re just not sure how to arrange your screen, let my team of Logos Pros help you by choosing one of our premade layouts. “Bible and commentary,” “Bible Journaling,” “Devotional,” “Greek Study”—whatever Bible study task you want to perform, we’ve prepared a layout for it.

Of course you can modify these layouts and make your own. I’ve set up layouts in the past for study of different Bible books. All my best commentaries on Matthew come up automatically, for example, when I initialize the “Matthew” layout I created.

My basic encouragement is to find a simple method of window management and stick with it. Even a well-designed user interface like that of Logos can become cluttered and confusing if you force it to.

But it’s a free country

However, it’s a free country (or free European Union or free anarcho-syndicalist commune or free wherever you are), and the fact is that you can do what you want. You can make your screen look like this and I will still be your friend:

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Well, “friend” in the Facebook sense.

mark ward
Mark L. Ward, Jr. received his PhD from Bob Jones University in 2012; he now serves the church as a Logos Pro. He is the author of multiple high school Bible textbooks, including Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption.

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Comments

  1. rob lambert says:

    Do you mind posting a picture of the three monitors?

    i am going through this right now

    thanks

    rob

  2. Andrew Zoll says:

    MARK!!!!

    SizeUp is the app I knew I needed, but didn’t know I needed! Thanks for putting that in here! I stand in solidarity with your nerdiness!

    • I also use bettersnap tool. I’ve had it for several years and it’s only $2.99 and it allows you to create your own keyboard shortcuts and drag windows to edges like in Windows.

  3. John Fidel says:

    Mark, with your eye for how things look I am surprised that you did not consider the rule of thirds used in photography. For a horizontal screen such as on a laptop, having 3 panes, with the bible in the center is much more visually appealing and efficient in many ways. If you have any of the Guides open and make a selection using your 2 pane suggestion, the result will open in the second pane, which is probably your bible. I like Guides, Searches and Tools left, Bible center and resources right. Click on a PG link and it opens in the resource pane with your Bible text in full view. Just my preference…

    I do appreciate you pointing out the usefulness of floating windows. On a Mac you can have multiple screens and switch between them easily, if multiple monitors is not an option.

    I enjoy your posts.

  4. Mark … concur totally, but I do have a third panel up. Basically, at times I over highlight a selection of text and desire to delete the undesired section. Since the highlighter “delete” function cannot be assigned to a “hot key” like I have done for my critical highlighters. So, I have a small panel that shows just the “delete” function for highlighting.

    • Ah but it can! ⇧⌘K! (Ctrl+Shift+K on Windows)

      I was in precisely the same spot as you until I realized this! (I also mistakenly had that shortcut assigned to something else in another app. What a relief it was to get that settled.)

  5. Peter Jensen says:

    Nice! I had a second screen back when I had an iMac, but switched to a MacBook Pro. No space for a second screen, these days.

    • Thanks for commenting.

      I’m not sure what I would do without my secondary monitors! But when I’m “stuck” using just my MacBook Pro I do somehow manage it. I rely heavily on Size-Up to manage my screen space with keyboard shortcuts.

      • Peter Jensen says:

        I expand floating tabs to full-screen views, then swipe left or right between desktops. I appreciate being able to maximize a Logos feature like Timeline to its own Space.

        Is there a shortcut to go from a docked tab to a full-screen view, without having to maximize the floating tab?

        • You can always try ⌥⌘R for Reading View and ⇧⌘P for column view. Is that what you mean?

          • Peter Jensen says:

            I was hoping for a 1-step “I can float a Logos window, move it to another monitor, and maximize it” feature, along the lines of an “Open in a full-screen view,” where a docked tab could directly open full-screen on a different monitor or (Mission Control) Space.

            (A true nerd would want to replace 2 or 3-step procedures with single commands!)

          • Ha! Agreed!

  6. Um, in older days, when monitors weren’t capable of displaying a whole page of text, flipping a horizontal monitor to vertical allowed people to view a whole page of text on them — It was great and worked well, though the resultant limitation in horizontal space often made people feel like they then needed multiple monitors. But that was a long time ago, and modern desktop monitors have more than enough pixels to fit a whole page and more without flipping the screen.

    I have a 27″ Retina iMac (5120x2880px) which is like having 3 or 4 older monitors in one. I have more vertical space than I need, and so much horizontal space that it’s like having two monitors side by side. Your “good” layouts with only two columns would have crazy long line lengths on my monitor, whereas your “bad” 4-column layouts would not be narrow at all on my 27″ screen. Some of my own Logos layouts have “only” 3 columns, and the line length in them is actually a bit too long for comfortable reading. I think the tallness of your flipped monitor would drive me crazy. I wouldn’t want to have to crane my eyes to see the top of your monitor when I want to read the top of the page Again, the vertical space on my iMac is more than I need: I can easily display two full pages of text side by side at 100% zoom without flipping the monitor or needing additional monitors.

    Your recommendations make sense, but I think only for people who have made the same somewhat old-fashioned choice of having a very tall, very narrow monitor, and then having to supplement it with additional monitors essentially to make it wider again. Years ago that would have been a “pro” choice. These days, not so much.

    I think the bottom line is that we all need to design layouts that make sense on whatever equipment we use, and different ones of us use very different equipment.

    • I agree with your bottom line.

      I do have a 27″ iMac at home, and I love it, but for writing I still most definitely prefer my vertical monitor (it is, of course, rotatable—so I could make it horizontal if I wished).

  7. I found this helpful, but since I use a MacPro tower with 2 30″ screens and a 48″ 4K in the middle, I can run three columns and two or three rows on each and still see a significant piece of real estate. Organizing content in meaningful ways is far more of a optimizer for me. But thanks for the post.

    • an optimizer, lolz

    • Wow! 48″ 4K? Which one? I’ve never used such a monitor.

      • Samsung 8000 series 4K TV, but there are a number of 4K TVs now with a display port. Use a powerful graphics card (Nvidia 980ti or 1080) and you can drive them all pretty easily at 4K res. I use the Samsung with an HDMI cable and set it up with UHD settings on the TV. Works great.

  8. Jeremy Hulsey says:

    You still use a Mac? :) A friend helped me build a PC for the express purpose of getting the most out of my Logos program. (i7 processor, 64 gigs of ram with an 8 gig radeon graphics card) I have two 27″ monitors horizontal. Depending on my layout there are two columns open on each screen which does away with the line length issue.

    • I tried Windows for a time, in part because I like the way Logos runs on it, but I’ve too invested in the Mac OS. Windows is nice, but it’s not for me. For now.

    • I am sure none of us wants to get into a PC vs Mac war, and I promise that’s not what I’m trying to provoke! I’m just sincerely curious: are there ways that Logos runs better on Windows? I was a Windows user from Windows 2.0, I think it was, but after many years of frustration switched to the Mac maybe 7 years or so ago, and have been very much happier. I would never want to go back to Windows, but I thought Logos was supposed to have been designed to run equally well on both platforms. is that not so?

  9. Thanks for the article and comments! Logos seriously is a TON better with an extra monitor (or two!). I’ve even dreamed of using a projector. Anyone do that? Wouldn’t that be cool?

  10. Bob Braham says:

    I am a relatively new Logos user, but an old retired Information technology guy. I agree with the multiple monitors. I have always liked lots of screen space, Space for gathering user requirements, writing documentation and test plans, and space for coding. I use Finale music for creating music, along with several other screen space hogs. I currently have two 34 inch curved ultrawide monitors and one 24 inch monitor. The two 34 inchers come with software that allows the screens to be divided up into various section layouts. You can drop and drag an app like Logos into a section and it snap open to fill the section and stay put. So here is how I work.

    The two 34 inch monitors are side by side and the 24 inch monitor is positioned to the right turned to a portrait position. The 24 inch monitor is where I create documents. The 34 in monitor in the middle is where I open the main Logos screen using the whole screen. The 34 in monitor on the left is decided into 3 sections where I place up to 3 Logos floating panels like hand books, encyclopedias, or the main commentary that I am referencing. I keep the font large so as to avoid eye strain. Once I have established layouts with the panels as I like, I can change between layouts and the floating panels for that layout go right where they belong.

    A single ultrawide monitor and a smaller monitor one will do wonders for all the things you do on your laptop/desktop. Logos is a powerful tool, so don’t skimp on the hardware.

    • Wow!!! If there’s a way to post a photo of your setup, I’d love to see it, even though I am sure it will inspire terrible tech envy… :)