Creating a desktop e-Sword Devotion from a Microsoft Excel Document

For this tutorial, I will be using screenshots from BeST Premium.  However BeST Standard will work just as fine.

In the application folder where BeST is installed, there is an "ExampleFiles" folder containing several sample files.  For this tutorial, I will be using the "LutheranHour2007Devotion.xls" file as seen below:

Excel Devotion


Setting up the devotion in Microsoft Excel

A devotion is defined by two criteria:

  1. The date the devotion is to be read, and
  2. the text of the devotion.

So it only stands to reason that the devotion file must have at least two columns within it (that is, the date and the devotion)

as you can see above, the first column in my sample contains a full date including month, day, and year.  BeST does not require you to have the date in a single column, nor does it require you to have the year at all.  In fact you may have a single column with the month and day and it, or you may have the month in one column and the date in a different column.

if you do not have the date for which your devotion is to be read, you can instead include the day of the year in a date column.  Please be aware, that BeST will use a full leap year (that is, one including February 29) when it performs the calculations for determining which date is associated with which number.

But for the purposes of this example, we will use the full date as seen in the example file.

A word about formatting

BeST uses some simple HTML formatting when importing files, by default.  If you wish to use more complex formatting, I would suggest that you put your formatting in Rich text format and import your module using the "raw" format conversion setting.

Some simple formatting that you can use include:

<p>  For a paragraph break
<br> for a carriage return line break
<b>bold text</b>  For bold text
<u>underlined text</u> for underlined
<i>Italic text </i> for italicized text

there are some other formatting codes, but this should be sufficient for our example.

Let's get started!

Start BeST and click on the "Start" button to display the window shown below:

What Do you want to do?


Since we are creating a new devotion, we simply click the "Next" button.

Select the excel file

Navigate to the BeST folder in "program files", open the "examplefiles" folder and choose the "LutheranHour2007Devotion.xls" file. BeST automatically displays possible choices for the type of modules you may want to create. Choose the "Devotion" radio button, and click the "Next" button.  BeST will open the Microsoft Excel file and display the contents of the first sheet within the file.

Display the columns

you will notice that I have resized the columns in the picture above.  You can resize the columns by using your mouse and grabbing an edge of one of the column headers and dragging it to the right.

if your Microsoft Excel document contains more than one sheet, make sure you specify the appropriate sheet before you define your columns.  This is done by using the "Sheet" drop-down box.

Defining the data in the columns

this is perhaps the trickiest part in building a devotion module -- or any module using an input format that contains defined columns.  In order for BeST to know what is in each of the columns within your Microsoft Excel file, you need to click the column header to change the text to identify what is within the column.

Click the column Header

The first time you click the "Ignore" column header above the first date in the file, the column header changes from "Ignore" to "Month".  You would use this value if your first column only contained a month.  However, ours contains the month and day and year.

Keep clicking the header until it displays "Month Day Year".

click the column header above the devotion text until it says "Devotion"

Columns chosen

When all is finished, click the "Next" button.

Selecting the abbreviation for your devotion

In the Description field, enter the text that you would like to have displayed when you hover your mouse over the tab within e-Sword.

In the Abbreviation field, enter the text that you would like displayed within the tab in e-Sword.

If you have any additional copyright information or descriptive text of your devotion, enter it in the Comments field.

when you are finished, click the "Next" button.

Describe your module

select the location of your new devotion

Where to save your new module

this is pretty straightforward.  If you would like to have your devotion file stored someplace other than your main e-Sword folder, choose it here.

when you are finished, click the "Next" button.

Ready to begin

By default,  BeST willhave a number of settings which may or may not be appropriate for you.  In our example, it is not sufficient.  The "Insert Scripture ToolTips"checkbox and unselect the sub-options.  Change the "Format Conversion"setting from "Raw" to "Simple".

Ready to Go

Click the "Begin" button and your devotion will be created.

Final Devotion!