Tip for Bibleworks and LibreOffice Users

Anyone who’s ever used Bibleworks will know that it is a powerful program, but one that was written/coded terribly (almost as if Biblical scholars wrote the code and not professional programers). Added to the fact that it is very proprietary and doesn’t use Unicode … (at least Bibleworks 8)…and on a side note, Bibleworks works relatively well on GNU/Linux if one installs it via WINE.

Anyway, being that I hate proprietary software (if I begrudgingly use some), I refuse to use Microsoft Office on principle. LibreOffice is, however, more ethical and respects user freedoms and is superior in many ways.

Okay, to get to the point. When you want to import a large portion of biblical text, especially Hebrew text, the export function doesn’t work well in GNU/Linux, as it doesn’t export in Unicode even though I told Bibleworks to export in Unicode. So I had to scroll through and highlight a lot of text (in my case, Isa 56–66) and then paste it into LibreOffice [side note for GNU/Linux users: did you know you don’t need to use Ctrl+C to copy text when you highlight it with a mouse? Simply highlight with mouse and then paste by clicking the middle mouse button…if you are using a laptop and you don’t have the middle mouse button on your trackpad, simply press both left- and right-click buttons together]. One note: I generally like to have a two-column table when I have Hebrew text on a page, as I may want to have English next to my Hebrew. If you don’t like table boundaries, simply remove them, but you still can keep Hebrew in a separate column from your English or any other text.

Now when you paste a large amount of Hebrew text, LibreOffice will be very laggy and slow, to the point of freezing your computer (almost). To cut down on lagginess, simply right-click any part of the Biblical text and hit “Clear Direct Formatting.” This will free up memory/resources so that LibreOffice can run more quickly (though not up to full speed, given that it has to process all that Hebrew). If you want your Hebrew to align to the right (given that it runs from left to right), simply press Ctrl+R to align the Hebrew to the right. A good, non-proprietary, free font to use is Ezra SIL. It is ethical and looks quite beautiful.

And for numbers in the Hebrew: if they are not working right (that is, somehow they are at the left-hand side of the line), simply go to your formatting tool bar press the left-to-right and then right-to-left. That should clear things up. If you don’t see the button, right click the formatting tool bar (the one with your font name and size), go to Visible Buttons and look for the icons with the pen and left or right arrows. The hotkeys are for the left and the right, Ctrl+Shift+A and Ctrl+Shift+D.

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