3 Tips for Navigating Your Books in PocketBible

Posted on: October 20th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 26 Comments

Navigating PocketBibleIf you want to explore the contents of a print book, you know to look at the table of contents inside the front cover. When it comes to Bibles, you may be able to flip through and be fairly close to the book of the Bible you are looking for because you are already familiar with the structure of that type of book. But how do you navigate different types of books in PocketBible? Where are the tables of contents?

GoTo = Index/Table of Contents

The key to simple navigation of any type book in PocketBible is the GoTo icon on the toolbar. Most PocketBible users know to tap on this icon if they want to go to a specific place in the Bible–here you can specify Book, Chapter and Verse to move to an exact location. But did you know this same button works similar for other types of books as well (i.e. dictionaries, devotionals and commentaries)?

When you tap on the GoTo icon in PocketBible, it presents you with an index or table of contents based on the book you currently have active. Thus, the navigation options presented change based on the book you are viewing. There are five categories of books in PocketBible:

  • Bibles – you can navigate Bibles by Book | Chapter | Verse.
  • Commentaries – while these books are organized by Bible verse, navigation options will also include links to introductory articles and appendices along with options to drill down to comments on specific Bible books, chapters, passages and verses.
  • Dictionaries – there are two types of PocketBible dictionaries:
    • English dictionaries – navigation is in article order, usually alphabetic but sometimes topical.
    • Greek/Hebrew or Strong’s number based dictionaries – navigation is by Strong’s number. Unless you have Strong’s numbers memorized, it is best to use a Strong’s numbered Bible translation to navigate to a definition as described here: How can I Use Strong’s Concordance in PocketBible?
  • Devotionals – navigation is by date. If you tap on the GoTo icon with a devotional active, you’ll be presented with a calendar. If the date is off or you are behind schedule, you can reschedule or start the readings over.
  • Other – the books in this category vary widely by type but one thing is the same for all, tapping on the GoTo icon with this type of book active will still present you with an appropriate index to navigate the book easily.


A major feature of PocketBible, Searching, lets you quickly find what you’re looking for in PocketBible without navigating an index. Just type in any word or phrase in the search field (look for the magnifying glass on your toolbar) and you’ll be able to choose from a list of places in a book where your search word(s) were found.

Synchronizing Books

Take advantage of PocketBible’s ability to synchronize books automatically and you won’t have to worry about navigating. If you go to John 3:16 in your NIV Bible, all other Bible translations will move to that same verse and your commentaries will move to that verse if they have a comment on it (this option can be turned on/off in PocketBible). Dictionaries will sync by topic/article as well. For example, if you look up the word “Aaron” all open dictionaries will move to their article on Aaron, if applicable. The same if you tapped on a Strong’s number – all open Strong’s numbered dictionaries will move to the article on the active Strong’s number.

A Bonus Tip

A quick way to move between open books is to tap on the title bar of the active window. You’ll get a drop down list of books that are open in that window or pane and you can tap on any book listed to move there. You’ll also see options in the drop down list to close or open books in that window. (Mac and PC users will see tabs for opening and closing books). See a video of this.

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26 Responses

  1. EdH says:

    I’ve generally been very happy with navigation within PocketBible. The only issue I have is within dictionaries.

    Say you want to look up “mite.” Getting to “M” is pretty fast in something like Easton’s, Nelson’s or New Unger’s, but then scrolling down dozens of screens to get to “mite” is tedious. Sometimes it is faster to search for it in a bible, then do an autostudy.

    I don’t have a suggestion either. I don’t know how you elegantly solve this digitally. You could have a sub-menu like:

    but I am not sure that is elegant. This just seems to be one of those times where flipping through a paper dictionary is faster. Of course, you’d need about 30lbs of paper to come close to what Laridian puts on my phone.

    Yeah, you could search, and a word like mite will get you there faster, but if you are looking up “Jesus” or “Rome” you’ll have so many hits it wouldn’t help much.

    • Craig Rairdin says:

      Which platform? On iOS, if you’re looking up an arbitrary word (that is, not selecting it from the text of a book), go to the menu and select Look Up. Enter the word. On Mac, “searching” for “mite” in a dictionary will take you directly to the dictionary entry for mite AND show you everywhere it occurs.

      • Edh says:

        well, there you go. iOS. Never used that before. Wonder what else I’ve missed?

        • Craig Rairdin says:

          I’m hoping I can get to where I can justify rewriting much of PocketBible for iOS to take advantage of what I did on Mac. On the Mac, “search” and “look up” are the same thing. And if you enter a Bible reference in the search field, you get a list of where that verse is referenced, which you can’t currently do on any other platform.

          As far as what you may have missed, I always suggest reading the Help after you’ve been using the program for a while.

  2. JL says:

    iOS platform suggestion.

    Copy verse & Passage Action is all the way down. It will be very helpful, if both of this options moved to the top.

  3. Rick Rump says:

    Nice article, Michelle. Good refresher.

  4. Kent says:


    Wow, lookup, never saw that before works great for english dictionary. However, it does not seem to work for looking up strongs numbers. For example, if I try to look up 8669 in my CWS_OT, I get the message “An entry for “8660” was not found in any of your dictionaries”. This would be helpful when the concordance uses subscript(e.g. 8660a) references and I want to find the main entry in my other dictionary that does not have the subscripted reference.

    Am I using the feature incorrectly?


    • Michelle Stramel says:

      Kent, you have to put an H (for Hebrew) or G (for Greek) in front of the Strong’s number and then it should work with the lookup or the search feature in PocketBible.


  5. Daryl Hoffman says:

    I would love to be able to highlight in other books like “Crazy Love” on my IPad.

    • Michelle Stramel says:

      Daryl, we do have highlighting of non-Bibles on our request list. Thanks for letting us know of your interest in that as well.


  6. Kai says:

    Hi there, I’m currently using the Android platform of Pocketbible. I’ve got 2 questions,

    (1) is there a quick way of jumping from one chapter to another within the same book (say, Matthew 5 to Matthew 20)? When I was using the Palm OS, I could just write ’20’ on the number pad and it’d jump to that chapter.

    (2) in my NIV reference bible, how can I tell the difference between a cross reference or a footnote when I collapse footnotes? They all appear as *


    • Michelle Stramel says:

      Kai, there isn’t a feature similar to the pad on the Palm in the Android version of PocketBible. You can swipe left and right to jump a whole chapter but otherwise, you have to use the scroll or GoTo icon to move to a new place.

      The translator footnotes and cross-references are both indicated with an asterik. There isn’t a way to know which you are getting until you tap on the asterik. You can, of course, also expand the footnotes to see that in the text.


      • CY says:

        I miss the Palm method of jumping quickly to another chapter, too. Hope you will put it on the request list for future development for the Android. The scroll method is a little cumbersome.

        • Michelle Stramel says:

          I don’t know if it would be possible given the different architecture (Android is not Palm) but agree that it was a very useful feature.


      • Paul says:


        The Calculator ‘GoTo’ method I’ve just learned about (see below) might address your first point. If you select this then jumping from Matthew chapter 5 to chapter 20 is as simple as hitting the ‘GoTo’ button, typing ’20’ on the calculator-style keypad, and hitting ‘Go’. Just 3 or 4 taps.


  7. Paul says:

    I have to say, the ‘Go To’ feature is my biggest gripe with PocketBible (Android), which otherwise I find excellent. My two main problems with it are:

    1. it can take 2 to 4 seconds after pressing the ‘Go To’ button before the book selection page appears. That may not sound long, but when a leader’s giving out a reference during a talk it can be frustrating. The list of books/chapters never changes for a given book, so I’d have thought the book selection page should be pre-built/cached and available for display instantly.

    2. Finding a given book, chapter, and verse from the grid of buttons can be fiddly. On my phone I see 8 buttons per row (I guess this changes depending on the screen size). My brain doesn’t naturally work in 8’s so my eyes frantically scan the rows of buttons to find the number I want.

    I’d love to see the option of a keyboard-based ‘Go To’ – with some in-built ‘intelligence’ if possible. Ideally there’d be some form of auto-complete on the book names (I have one or two ideas on this but too much detail to go into here). You could even consider a custom ‘big-button’ number pad that greys out invalid digits while entering a chapter or verse so it’s impossible to type in a non-existent reference. At one time this was done with Google’s alarm clock. Say you were picking a chapter in Matthew which has 28 chapters, initially, all the numbers would be available, but if you typed a ‘2’, then ‘9’ would be greyed out, preventing you from entering 29. If initially you typed a ‘3’ then all the numbers would be greyed out since the only possible match is 3 itself – this would prevent you from typing 30 for example.

    A keyboard-based approach means more button presses overall, but because the buttons would all be in familiar places and could be tapped out with little thought (and, for some people, almost without looking) I feel it would be significantly quicker to use than having to visually/mentally hunt through the grid of buttons in the current implementation.

    But, leaving the keyboard-based ‘Go To’ idea aside for a moment, a fix for my first point alone would be a significant help.

    Thanks again for all your hard work on PocketBible. You’re doing an excellent job on a really useful product with what I realise are very limited resources.

    Best wishes, Paul.

    • Michelle Stramel says:

      Paul, we are aware of the delay in bringing up the GoTo screen on the Android version of PocketBible on some devices. We continue to consider ways we can speed that up.

      In a recent update we added two additional options for going to a verse. One is a calculator method and the other is a spinner method. You can find those options under the Settings | Program Settings | GoTo Style in the app. Try one of these other methods to see if they will work for you better.


      • Paul says:

        Wow, what a great response – much of what I was hoping for is already there, I just didn’t know it!

        And it’s great to hear that you’re already looking into the delay in displaying the GoTo screen.

        Thank you very much,


  8. Bruce Gilliland says:

    Looking up words in Android:

    In Windows for the Desktop and in iOS (iPad) I can select a word by tapping or clicking on it and then select Lookup from the popup menu. This takes me directly to the word in a dictionary. If I am not mistaken, I could do this in my old PB for Windows Mobile.

    However, in Android, if I select a word, all I can do is copy it or share it. As Ed H noted above, using Go To to find a word can be a slow process. We really need to get the same Look up capability into Android that is in iOS and the old Windows desktop. I know you folks are working on the Advanced Features Set for Android right now. But I would like to see this as a high priority some time in the future.

    I will say this, the new Search features in Android help some. I can tap on the Search icon, type in the word I want (if it’s not one of those long crazy names from the OT), tap on the select book list and select a dictionary, and then tap on the Search icon again. Depending on the word I am looking for and the dictionary I pick I may find a specific article on the word – or I may not. Try ‘mite.’ In the New Bible Dictionary all you get is a reference buried way down in a long article on money. In the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, you get the article on ‘mite.’

    Typicially when I need to look up a word, it’s when I run across it in Scripture I am reading. That’s why the iOS Lookup method is so good.

    • Michelle Stramel says:

      Bruce, we don’t currently have that exact lookup feature in Android. The more powerful search in Android lets you mis-spell on of those OT words and use the “Sounds like” option in the search to get the information you are looking for 🙂

      This is not to say we won’t ever do the “lookup” on Android but there are complicating factors since the Android OS uses that function – as you noted, a press on a word brings up the text selection and Android OS default copy menu.

      Thanks for letting us know you’d like to see that feature on Android.


    • Craig Rairdin says:

      Everything Michelle said is right, plus this: On the Mac, there’s no difference between “look up” and “search”. If you search a dictionary for a word, the top result will be the dictionary entry for that word. We’re adding that search to Android if it isn’t there already. So worst case, you would either select, copy, and paste the word into the search field, or you would type the word into the search field. The very first result will be the same as doing “look-up”. On the Mac we actually take you to that location automatically. Since you can’t see the text and the search results at the same time on a phone, that is irrelevant.

      The challenge on Android, as Michelle said, is gaining control during text selection. This is similarly awkward on iOS for different but related reasons. There’s just too much going on during text selection for us to make whatever we do feel natural. And while iOS gives us options to insert our own menus and behaviors, Android doesn’t. To get the same behavior on Android we would have to take over all text selection, which is very challenging on a platform that varies from OEM to OEM and from version to version.

  9. Rod Huffman says:

    On Android, long tap to select the word (or position the start and end selection handles to select a phrase or passage), tap the Copy icon at the top, then open Search. Long tap in the Find field and a Paste button will appear. Tap on Paste and the selected word(s) will be inserted into the the Find field.

  10. Bob Ryan says:

    Great article on searching, which I find very easy in Pocket Bible. Two thoughts to consider for the future.

    1. I would very much like to see the ability to search by Highlight color. I highlight according to themes and often I would like to easily flip through the various scriptures around a theme.

    2. In like manner, I’d like to be able to search for words in the contents of my notes.

    Keep up the good work, team.

    • Michelle Stramel says:

      Bob, the first request should be available in all versions of PocketBible in that you can do a search of the Bible and limit it to only highlighted verses, or only yellow highlights. The second request is already available in the iOS, Android and Mac versions of PocketBible. Let me know exactly which versions of PocketBible you are using and I can give you some tips on those if you are not seeing them.


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