. 3 Tips for Using Logos on a Touchscreen Laptop

3 Tips for Using Logos on a Touchscreen Laptop

I can hardly believe I did it, because I loved my nine-year succession of four MacBooks and two iMacs, but I just moved back to the PC world for some of my daily work.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks: I love running Logos on a light, touchscreen, Windows laptop. (Note: tips for Mac users will also appear in this post. Don’t run away.)

I was with Logos Bible Software for Mac in its earliest days, before it achieved parity with the Windows app. For years the experience between Mac and Windows has been nearly identical. But there is one thing that necessarily sets the Logos Windows app apart from the Logos Mac app right now: touchscreens. There are currently no touchscreen Apple laptops.

In time-honored Internet fashion, here are three tips for using Logos on a Windows touchscreen laptop or tablet (such as the Surface Pro).

1. Hit F11 to go to full-screen reading mode

When I’m actually reading a book rather than just referencing it, and when I’m sitting down (say, on my daily bus rides), I hit F11 to go into Reading Mode:


(Cmd+Alt+R on the Mac does something similar but with a little more toolbar visible:)


2. Hit Ctrl+Alt+Left to rotate your screen to portrait.

To me it feels more natural—and more comfortable in the hand—to read my laptop in portrait mode, like so:

The quickest and easiest way to make this happen is to hit Ctrl+Alt+Left (this is a Windows system shortcut). Then tap the forward and backward buttons on the touchscreen with your finger—or just touch the right side of the screen to advance a page and the left side of the screen to go back a page.

Hit Ctrl+= to increase text size, and your screen will automatically move from two-column to one-column (this is what I prefer, though to each their own).

Hit Ctrl+Alt+Up to go back to normal landscape mode when you’re done.

(With a little app—I have used Display Rotation Menu—you can switch screen orientations quickly on Mac, too.)

3. Quickly swipe to select text, then highlight it

This third tip won’t work on a Mac yet; it’s only for touchscreens (though it works very nicely and intuitively on iOS): to select text you swipe quickly from the first word you want to highlight to the last one.

This took me a little time to master, because my muscle memory kept telling me to select text the way iOS does (in most apps apart from Logos), selecting one word by pressing long on it, then extending the selection one way or the other with a little handle.

Once you’ve selected text on your Windows touchscreen laptop, you can highlight it quickly if you have already chosen a shortcut key in your highlights palette. I assigned “Y” to Yellow, and that’s the color I use most frequently for highlighting. So after I’ve selected some text I jab the “Y” key and my text is highlighted (cool Millennials such as myself now “jab” keys on their keyboards; it’s just what we do). Then I keep reading.

Logos on all platforms

I am now, like Logos, running all the major consumer software platforms—except Chrome OS (and sorry, Linux users, you don’t count as a major platform and I don’t think you want to; the whole point of being a nerd is vengeful exclusion of those who persecuted you in high school—I should know). I’m on Windows 10 at work, Mac OS X at home, iOS on my iPad, and Android on my phone. In order to serve you, dear reader, I’m trying to make sure I experience Logos as you do, no matter what platform you’re on.

The Logos web app, of course, may one day effectively put Logos on every OS imaginable (and Biblia.com is useful right now if you’re away from your own computer and need to access your library). But for now there are little differences among the platforms. If you’re on Windows, I’ve just shown you some things you can do. (If you’re on Mac, you can use points 1 and 2.)

If my favorite tech reviewer, David Pogue, was right once to compare the Mac vs. PC debate to a religious war, then I’m a relativist peacenik sticking roses in gun barrels. I want Macs and PCs both to stick around (and iOS and Android), putting pressure on each other to innovate. A touchscreen laptop wasn’t something I ever thought I’d care to have, but it has proven genuinely useful, not least in my reading in Logos.

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.Free Bible Software. Priceless Insights. clickable image

Written by
Mark Ward

Christian, husband, father, writer, ultimate frisbee player when possible.

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  • Thank you! I use Logos on a Surface Pro 3, and I’ve wondered why I couldn’t interact with Logos as I do numerous other applications. Then I tried your swipe-highlight in reading mode, and was very happy to see that at least it works there.

  • I personally have not found the Windows Desktop program as being very touch friendly. For Windows tablet users who have only 32 GB to work with along with the OS and other needed programs, the Desktop program takes up too much space. I have to hide resources, which are then hidden on my main computer, just to have it on my tablet. I have Logos on my android phone but I would prefer to have it on my tablet, which after about 9 months of tweaking, the desktop program takes up too much space. I wish I could designate which resources to have on each device. On my main computer, I can have all of it. On my tablet, only selected resources that I truly need.

    It is time to get the Windows app into development and out to the consumer!

  • Thank you for taking the time to write this post. I use a Similar touchscreen model of PC and found this very helpful in using Logos on my laptop!

  • Mark,

    Is your use of an Android phone purely a function of “eating your own dog food,” or would you have chosen that over an iOS device if it was purely a personal choice?

    I don’t know many folks that pair Android phones with Macs in their arsenal. I myself use an iPhone, but I have been transitioning to all of Google’s services, so it’s become a “Google phone.”

    How is the experience of using Logos for Android on a Chromebook? I’m considering a mobile computer purchase soon, and I’ve going back and forth between a Chromebook and an inexpensive Windows 10 laptop. Don’t really need a powerful machine (primarily for writing and some web surfing), but access to Logos would be nice.

  • I appreciate the article. However, tip 3 does not work for me. I am wondering if text selection in program settings has to be set to something in particular for this to work, or maybe there is some other setting that needs to be made either in the OS or in Logos? No matter how fast I swipe, all Logos does for me is scroll the text in the window.

    I use Logos 6 on a Surface Pro 3 regularly for reading, without a keyboard. However, to do highlighting I have to use my surface pen to select text, and then have my highlighting window open so I can specifiy highlighting. I would love to be able to use only my finger for highlighting as you describe. Unfortuately, as I have already mentioned tip 3 does not appear to work for me. Additionally, since I would rather not have a keyboard attached to my Surface Pro 3 when reading, I would have no way to “jab” a key to specify highlighting.


    • It took a little bit of getting used to for me. Experiment with how long you have to hold your finger down before Logos senses that you want to highlight rather than turning a page.

      The highlighting key problem is one I can’t solve, however, without a Surface to test it on. I’ll ask a friend of mine here who has a Surface.

  • Thank you for your post, very useful. I just wish Faithlife could hurry and develop a Linux front-end (maybe based on the mac OS X environment), even making it a community-pricing to enable it. Of course, logos online will be nice as well, but right now Logos is the only thing preventing me to use Linux as my main OS…

  • Mark,
    Thank you. Is there a similar way of highlight without being in “Reading Mode?” Most often I highlight in order to add a note. When I try to do that it jumps me out of reading mode. Then I have to return to reading mode to highlight again.

  • Have been contemplating a new laptop for just mostly Logos (which I have used since day one of Biblesoft)…hate having to move over to the desktop to access all my books that the Kindle will not. Read (somewhere) that “touch” was not really recommended for some applications. What has been your experience in general…will be following this for Logos applications especially.

    • In general I think Windows 10 does a good job of putting together a touch-based and a keyboard-based operating system. I don’t have any apps so far that I’ve found are not touch-friendly but that I wanted to use touch in.

      • Thanks for the reply Mark. Will probably get one on order to replace the old XP laptop soon.

  • I love to use my iPad to preach and teach from using the note document feature. I create my outlines on my laptop and then access them on my iPad. Bible verses are hyperlinked using a split screen and I can hyperlink quotes from books in my library. I just don’t see how having a touchscreen laptop holds any advantage. Yes there is more you can do in Logos on a laptop, but trying to hold it in your hand(s) is awkward and there is no way I could use it like I use the iPad. I do wish Logos would get the iPad software up to speed with the laptops. We can always hope. I do wish there was a better module for doing sermons and Bible lessons that also kept tract of where and how often you preached a particular sermon. We can always….

    • I thought holding it would be awkward, too, but for me it isn’t. I think it had to be a lighter laptop to work.

      Let me tell you, Gaius, that this company has plenty of people in it with the same ministry needs and desires you have…

  • Thanks. But your suggestions rely heavily on keyboard shortcuts. What about Windows tablets with detachable keyboards (like Microsoft Surface and my Samsung)? I don’t think there is even a way to leave full screen without a keyboard. Would be great if Logos could add some functions to be accessed by touch (for example through long press or a symbol in one of the corners that expands into a menu when touched.

  • Do you have any mobile tips? I like doing Greek word studies on my iPhone while listening to a sermon to try to put things together better but I have some trouble with it. I agree that the ios app is not nearly up to speed with the windows app. Also, I use a Dell venue tablet with a detachable keyboard for reading. There was some helpful info in this article, thanks!

  • What touch screen laptop did you end up purchasing? After ten years on the Mac, I myself have moved to a Windows machine as my day to day machine, although I’m using a Dell Precision Workstation (powerful mini server) as my primary machine (Logos runs practically instant on it).

    My MacBook Pro has kicked the bucket, and while I’m comfortable with my iPad, ideally I’d like to look into a touchscreen notebook as my notebook/iPad replacement for running Logos.

    • My laptop was selected for me by the IT department here at Faithlife. =) I think they made a very good choice: the Asus Zenbook UX305.

      In the interest of full disclosure, I ended up having to go back to Mac for some key apps that just didn’t pan out in Windows (even though I researched them, sigh), though I still run Windows in a VM on my MacBook Pro. I would love to run Windows on a cheap desktop box just for easy access; running a VM is pretty demanding on the MacBook’s otherwise zippy system.

      The one thing I really liked and now miss is that touchscreen. It really is handy; I find myself reaching to my Mac screen sometimes…

      • Sounds like an interesting notebook. I’ll look into it.

        Feel free to shoot me an email sometime at Mallardcomputer.com (under Executive Leadership, click the link on the bio to my contact form). I’ve been enduring the transition from Mac to Windows and may be able to assist you with PC replacements to some critical Mac apps. I’ve worked 10 years on the Mac before moving to Windows, so I’m very comfortable about what’s on the Mac and finding PC replacements for it.

        I would recommend a dedicated machine for Windows versus the VM on a Mac. Even on my iMac, my Windows VM was pokey at times. Although my new Windows workstation has an 8 Core Xeon processor, 64 GB RAM, 2 TB Flash storage, and an 8GB graphics chip, so I’m ready for anything. Logos runs practically instant on it.

        • Thanks for the offer, Nate. I’m afraid I already made my decision with the laptop; but I may take you up on that if I get a desktop box or something…

Written by Mark Ward