MSWord and BeST: Making a commentary and Commentary Introduction


By Mark Turney

(Used by permission)

1. First step is to go to this link on the eSword users website and read about importing text files and the formatting codes that BeST and eSword use. The explanation on that page will help you understand much of what I will explain below.


2. Open/Create your commentary document in MSWord and make any formatting changes you wish (ie. Bold, italics, spacing, paragraphs, etc). (Note: I use MSWord 2007 so my instructions are specific to that version but from what I remember of Word 2003 the process should be basically the same.)


3. Next you must make sure your commentary entries have the correct Book, Chapter and Verse format at the beginning of each entry. Again you need to carefully read the link I gave in step one to understand how this works. This will affect how you import the commentary text using BeST.


Personally I don’t like have to click on each verse in eSword to be able to see the commentary text for that verse. I find it easier for study to have all of the commentary for a chapter of the Bible available for viewing in the commentary window.


The way I do it is as follows. At the beginning of each chapter I put the Book, space, Chapter, colon, and verse 1 (ex. Matthew 1:1) followed by a space and then the beginning of the text for the chapter. At the beginning of the last paragraph of commentary notes on the chapter I again put the Book, space, Chapter, colon and last verse number for the chapter (ex. Matthew 1:25). Then when I convert the file into a commentary module I instruct BeST to store verse notes in all verses for the chapter. I will explain later how to do that when you are in the BeST program. The result is that BeST converts all the text for Matthew Chapter 1 verses 1 – 25 into text that you will see in your commentary window when you have Matthew chapter 1 open in a Bible window.


This is a quick way to format the references for the commentary because you only have to type in two book, chapter and verse references for each chapter rather than one for each verse. I generally then just put the verse number only in bold at the beginning of each individual verses commentary.




Psalm 1:1 God’s blessing on the Godly


I. The discriminating choices of the godly (vs 1-2)

II. The future of the godly and the wicked in contrast (vs. 3-5)

III. God’s choice to bless the godly and not the wicked (vs. 6)


1 Commentary text on vs 1


2 Commentary text on vs 2


3 Commentary text on vs. 3


4-5 Commentary text on vs. 4-5


Psalm 1:6 6 Commentary text on vs. 6



4. Once you have finished preparing the text of your commentary including the Book, Chapter and Text references you will use the “Find and Replace” tool in MSWord to insert the correct formatting commands into the text so that BeST will be able to make the commentary text look similar to what you see in Word. You can search for and change the following.


(note: in the “Find and Replace” window there is a button titled “More”. If you click on it you will see more options available. Two of those options are buttons labeled “Format” and “Special” Some of the commands I refer to below can be selected using the menus these buttons offer.)


a. Search for all bold text and replace with: <b>^&</b>


1) Place your cursor in the “Find What” option and select ctrl+b on your keyboard. You will see under the “Find What” option the word “bold” appears


2) Next place your cursor in the “Replace With” option and type: <b>


3) Then click the “Special” button and select the “Find What Text” menu option. You will then see ^& appear in the “Replace With” option next to where you had already typed <b>.


4) Finally type </b>.


5) Click the “Replace All” button


b. Search for all italics text and replace with: <i>^&</i>


1) Follow the same method as explained in searching for bold text with the exception that you use ctrl+i for the “Find What” option.


c. Search for underlined text and replace with: <u>^&</u>


1) Follow the same method as explained in searching for bold text with the exception that you use ctrl+u for the “Find What” option.


d. Search for all paragraph marks: ^p and replace with: <p>^p


1) Place your cursor in the “Find What” option. Click the “Special” button and select the “Paragraph” menu option. You will see the symbol: ^p appear in the “Find What” option.


2) Place your cursor in the “Replace With” option and type <p>


3) Click the “Special” button at the bottom of the window and select the “Paragraph” menu option.


4) Click the “Replace All” button.


e. Search for all: ^p<p> and replace with: ^p

(note: This final search is to get rid of the symbol <p> on all blank lines in your document. The reason for this is to keep BeST from creating a double, double space between paragraphs when it converts your document. The example below shows what the end product should look like with the formatting codes included.


(note: if by chance some of the blank spaces in your document had bold, italics, or underline formatting you will see places in your doc where formatting symbols appear without any text between them [Ex. <b> </b>]. In my experience this does not create a problem for how the document will appear in eSword. However if you are like me and it bothers you to have anything messy in a document then you can use the Find and Replace tool to get rid of them.)




Psalm 1:1 <b>God’s blessing on the Godly</b><p>


<i>I. The discriminating choices of the godly (vs 1-2)<p>

II. The future of the godly and the wicked in contrast (vs. 3-5)<p>

III. God’s choice to bless the godly and not the wicked (vs. 6)</i><p>


<b>1</b> Commentary text on vs 1<p>


<b>2</b> Commentary text on vs 2<p>


<b>3</b> Commentary text on vs. 3<p>


<b>4-5</b> Commentary text on vs. 4-5<p>


Psalm 1:6 <b>6</b> Commentary text on vs. 6<p>


(tip: If you want to see what this will look like in eSword, cut and past this example into a Word document and follow the instructions from step 5 forward as a test to see. After you have created this test module you can delete it in one of two ways. In eSword open the Options Menu and select Resource. Find the test commentary in the list of commentaries. Right click on it and tell it to Delete permenantly. Oddly this feature, that used to work for me is presently not deleting the file and I am not sure why. So if that happens a second option is to go the eSword folder on your where all the modules are stored and delete it there. Usually you will find it C:\Program Files\e-Sword. Make sure you remember what name you gave it and delete the correct file.


5. The final step in preparing your commentary for BeST to be able to convert it into a commentary is to save it as a .txt document. BeST cannot import Word documents. So choose “Save As” in Word and in the “Save As Type” Option choose “Plain Text”. Give the commentary the file name you want, make sure you are saving it into the correct folder so you can find it later, and click “Save”. You are now ready to use the BeST program to convert your commentary into an eSword Module.


6. Open BeST and click “Start”.


7. Make sure the “Create a new module or imput new data into an existing module ” option is selected and click “Next”.


8. Make sure the “Import from a file” option is selected and then in the “location of file to import” option locate the .txt file you created. Make sure that the “commentary” type of file is selected. If it is for eSword version 9 make sure the “build for version 9” option is checked. If it is for an earlier version of eSword make sure it is not checked. Click next.


9. Choose the input format type according to how you organized the Book, Chapter and verse format for your commentary. If you format it according to my example you will choose the B C:V-V¶ option. Under the “File Encoding” option choose “Western European Windows”. The “Element Separator” should be a “Colon”. Click next.


10. On the Details Tab type a brief “Description” and “Abreviation” for the commentary. On the Copyright Tab fill in all details you have. Click next


11. In the “Folder Location” option it may have C:\Program Files\e-Sword. Click on the Browse button to the right side of the “Folder Location” option and change the directory that BeST will create the module in to a temporary folder somewhere else on your C drive (Ex. C:\temp ). After BeST creates the module you can then move it into C:\Program Files\e-Sword. Make sure that “Look for files on my windows mobile device is not checked. Type a name for the commentary module. Click next.


12. You are very close now. In this last window you need to make some choices. Do you want BeST to examine the scripture references in your commentary text and automatically convert them into tool tips?


Next you have to decide if the commentary notes are going to be stored in each individual verse or if they are going to be stored in all verses for the chapter or in the chapter notes. This will depend partly on how you formatted the verses in the commentary. For the example I gave you should choose “in all verses for the chapter”.


Because we have already put in the formatting marks for BeST when we went through the find and replace process in MSWord we can choose “Simple (Fast)” Format conversion.


13. That’s it you are ready to create a commentary module. Click begin and BeST will process the conversion. After BeST finishes creating the module you must move it from the temporary folder it was saved into (c:\temp) and place it into c:\Program Files\e-Sword. The next time you open e-Sword you will see your commentary in the tabs in the commentary window.




Often a commentary has an introduction with general information about the specific book. In the eSword Commentary window on the tool bar there are three buttons labeled B, C & V. These buttons are for displaying Book comments, Chapter comments, and Verse comments. Normally the main text of a commentary is found under the Verse comments and the introduction to a commentary would be under Book comments. At present BeST does not have the capability to put text into Book comments. A solution at present would be to put the Introduction text into the Chapter comments of chapter 1 of the commentary. Here is an explanation of how I have done this. (Note: Ben Kruger, the author of BeST explained to me that he initially planned to create the capability in the program to make both Book and Chapter comments but for a number of reasons did not follow through with it. So at present this is an option for creating a book introduction.)


1. Open/Create the commentary introduction in MSWord and make any formatting changes you wish (ie. Bold, italics, spacing, paragraphs, Outlines, etc).


2. Use the same process in step 4, points a. through e. to insert the correct formatting symbols for BeST.


3. On the first line of the document type the name of the book, chapter and verse 1 (ex. Matthew 1:1)


4. On the last line of the document type the name of the book, chapter and last verse of chapter 1 (ex. Matthew 1:25)




Psalm 1:1

<b>Introduction to Psalms</b><p>


<b> Title </b><p>


Text describing this point.<p>


<b> Collection, Arrangement and Date </b><p>


Text describing this point.<p>


<b> Authorship and Titles (or Superscriptions) </b><p>


Text describing this point.<p>


<b> Psalm Types </b><p>


Text describing this point.<p>

Matthew 1:25


(Tip: if you want to see how this looks, copy this example and paste it into a MSWord Document and follow the following steps to import it into the test commentary you made for Matthew.


5. Save your MSWord doc into a .txt document just like you did before.


6. Now you are ready to import this book introduction into your existing commentary module. Move your commentary module out of c:\Program files\e-Sword and place it in the temporary folder you used before to initially create the module. Open BeST and click Start.


7. Except for the following differences that I will explain, you will follow the same basic procedure as described above in steps 7 through 13 for creating a commentary.


a. Since you are not creating a new commentary here, but rather importing this document into the existing commentary, when you come to the “Commentary 9 description as it will appear in e-Sword” window give the file the same description and abbreviation details as you gave the commentary when you created it.


b. In the next step which is the “Into which folder would you like your new module saved?” give the “new module file name (without extension)” the exact same file name that you gave the commentary when you created it. Make sure the Folder Location is the temporary folder where you have placed the module you want to modify.


c. In the next step which is the final window make sure that the “Verse Notes Stored” option is “In Chapter Notes”. Click begin and you one final window will appear asking you to choose one of three options. Select the third option “Update existing file, adding new entries only. Click OK and your book introduction will be converted and added into your existing commentary module. When you open eSword and open a Bible module to chapter one of the book your commentary contains you can then click on the tab for your commentary in the commentary window and click on the C button in the commentary tool bar for chapter comments and you will see your introduction to that commentary.


Conclusion: I hope this explanation helps you successfully create an eSword commentary module. Don’t be afraid to experiment because I don’t doubt that the process I have explained can be improved on. This is only one of different ways that you could format a commentary using BeST. God bless.