e-Sword 9.0.1: A Bumpy Turn onto a New Road

E-sword 1.o was released almost exactly nine years ago. Since then, it has gone on to some nine million downloads and worldwide use, including an ever-increasing demand for multiple language interfaces  and support for the apocrypha/deuterocanonicals, as Christians of all nationalities and traditions have come to use the software for personal bible study.

Now at the end of April, 2009, a major change has come to e-Sword as the database engine behind the software (Access/Jet) has finally lost Microsoft support. Thus Rick Meyers, the originator of e-Sword, has changed the database underneath e-Sword with the brand-new e-Sword version 9.0.1.

What does that mean?

As the title of this post suggests, a bump while turning onto a new road. Specifically, to quote Vaughn Jacobs of the excellent e-Sword Users dot org:

“all the current modules are useless in the new version”.

Well, more accurately, all add-on modules need to be updated to the new database format. This is not a problem with “official” e-Sword modules found at e-Sword dot net and eStudy Source dot com, because Rick Meyers has already switched those over. No, the problem is with the fourteen hundred user- created modules like those collected at e-Sword Users dot org. They won’t work with e-Sword 9.0.1. And while there is work going on to convert the old format modules to the new, that’s a lot of work and very few hands.

It’s a bit of a dilemma, then. On the one hand, the new version has some excellent features, as Rick Meyers catalogues in the release notes:

“This update uses a completely different database format for all resources. Everything is faster and more reliable as a result of this change… Study Notes can be made on any verse in the Bible, now including the Orthodox Apocrypha and the Catholic Deuterocanon…You can now Export the Study Notes and Topic Notes in HTML, Word DOC and Adobe PDF file formats, in addition to the previous plain text and Rich Text formats…You can now Import both HTML and Word DOC files directly into the Study Notes and Topic Notes…Localization of the e-Sword user interface continues with the implementation of fully Unicode compliant controls.”

On the other hand, the thing that so many e-Sword users loved was the availability of so many resources under one roof, so to speak, and most of them free. The user of e-Sword 9.0.1 is going to miss many of these resources, most only temporarily.

The obvious answer to the dilemma is to wait until many resources are converted to the new format to switch over. This is not a problem for old time e-Sword users. It does affect new users interested in the wide selection of user-created modules, however, and I personally can’t give new users the obvious answer. My glitchy Internet Explorer locks up at every site where I tried downloading the setup file for the last old format e-Sword version, 8.0.6.  Maybe that’s my IE, maybe it’s the unreliability of those sites. You’ll have to discover that on your own, e-Sword users. Be careful what and where you download.

Speaking from the sidelines, as I have no special channel to Rick Meyers or the folk at e-Sword users dot org, my take on the format change is that it is partly necessitated by the sheer age of the program, and partly a solution to the long-standing issue of easy copyright infringement with user-created modules. There has always been talk of many resources that might become available for e-Sword, except that publishers take understandable exception to some e-Sword users creating and distributing modules of copyrighted works without any remuneration to the copyright holders.  I suspect the new version will curtail that capability, which will then encourage publishers to make in copyright works available for a modest price.

There is also talk of many out- of- copyright works that are all but ready for release for e-Sword, which may now see the light of day as version 9+ modules. That’s something to look forward to.

So, what is my conclusion about the big change? See the title, again. I hope that better and brighter things are ahead for e-Sword, after we break in the new “engine”, so to speak. It’s an excellent program I use almost daily, and I am only encouraged by its expansion into the non-Protestant traditions and its new multiple language interface support. These changes only make it a program for all Christians around the world, which I believe was Rick Meyers’ intention when he created the program nine years.

35 thoughts on “e-Sword 9.0.1: A Bumpy Turn onto a New Road

  1. Well, I don’t know enough about programming to know how much work would have to be done for an Iphone esword, but the change to a new databae format might have made that more possible.

    I know some people consider esword terribly twentieth century. We’re newfangled twenty-first century nowadays, after all. The HTML capabilities sound like a step into more contemporary computing, but I’m terribly behind the curve, so what do I know?

    I gather esword live is at least a work around for iphone users, but of course, it requires an internet connection.

    I am optimistic about esword’s future.

  2. Now, why did they have to go and do that?! I have too many odd modules on my eSword that I’ve hunted down over the years, so I guess that I won’t be downloading the new one. Oh, and I also hate the lack of an index to the left.

  3. Esteban,

    I like the changes in theory, but in practice I use many “odd modules” myself, so I won’t be upgrading until there is a simple way to use them in the new version.

  4. The end of Microsoft support for the Jet engine really should not frighten current users of the software. IMHO, e-Sword pre-April 2009 was quite adequate. I use it every day, and as others have noted, have a great many modules I’ve either scrounged or created over the years.
    As to the copyright issues: I think they may, unfortunately, be a large driver. And I say unfortunately not out of any disregard for living authors, but for the fact that the sacred text has become big business. Where would we be had Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John been captive to copyright laws? Sorry, Mr. Dickens and Mr. Clemens, but the new technological age should not be held hostage to 19th century standards.

  5. The warning about updating was intimidating.

    I had purchased NKJV for the earlier version. I looked through old emails trying to find registration codes, record of when I purchased, etc. but wasn’t able to find anything. I thought I would have to pay again. In the long run, I was able to login to eStudy using my email address. Fortunately, they keep a history of purchases and redownloading was simple.

    Good news: all my study and topic notes and extensive highlighting of scriptures were preserved in the upgrade to 9.0. (these were all personally added via the application–not add-ons)

    I hope we see a new navigation system for moving between books and chapters real soon. Not too pleased with the new style. I have to open the navigator by clicking an icon or pressing F2. Then I have to click/scroll in 3 different columns: book/chapter/verse. The old index on the left wasn’t the greatest, but more accessible than new model. Actually, I liked the tree index that was there in 7.

    Would love to see some kind of tagging mechanism also. For example, select a verse and add a tag, so I could start classifying certain verses as applying to healing, provision, salvation, promise, forgiveness, etc. Obviously some verses could fit into different topics, so tagging would be ideal.

    Still the best deal going for an awesome bible program!! I’d hate to be without it. Thanks, Rick.

  6. Rick Myers should do the decent thing and use Open Source development tools for e-sword.
    These will (probably) never go out of date and will certainly make it easier for 3rd party developer to make the addons we have come to enjoy.
    The other bonus of using FOSS is that e-sword could then be truly cross-platform which will benefit many more people.
    Given that the whole point of this is to spread the Word of God, surely Open Source is the way to go.

  7. I haven’t updated yet and am wondering about all the STEP files that I have imported from QuickVerse. Does anyone know if I will still be able to access those files with Version 9?


  8. I downloaded the new 9.0 version and now I can’t find the old one to put back on my computer.
    I shouldn’t of updated!!!
    Does anyone know where I can get the 8.0 version?

  9. I’ve answered my own question by upgrading to Version 9 after making a backup of the previous version. All the imported STEP files are still accessible.

  10. Does anyone know if you can run both versions in different directories. Say maybe change the older version folder to another name?

  11. I upgraded to ES9 and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Honestly, I believe the brother had it spot on when he wrote that this was all just Myers’ attempt to force folks to abide by his rules regarding copyright.
    Now, I am NOT endorsing nor condoning copyright infringement.
    It’s illegal and as Christians we are to avoid such things.

    My MAIN issue has been with Myers’ himself.
    I asked him why he didn’t tell us all we needed to know before we upgraded. I got no reply.
    I asked him why his own modules didn’t automatically convert.
    TWO emails later, he told me that I needed to re-download everything I had gotten from his site. (both free & paid for)

    I asked him why there were NO specific details about moving the .top files to the doc&settings>user>esword folder BEFORE upgrading… a fact NOT listed on his site. I got no reply.
    I asked him where I could find the set up for E-Sword 8 so I may revert, I got a snippy reply about his “doubting that I can find
    ANYTHING for ES8” now.

    Honestly, I believe there are two reasons behind this upgrade:
    Copyright issues and Myers has become arrogant over the popularity of his program.

    I used E-sword for hours daily, I think this is a sad ending to a program that was truly blessed and used by our Lord.
    I also read that any future add on downloads will require you to re-install ES9 for EACH of the add ons, OR monkey with ESword’s registry settings, NOT a good idea. I’m sure someone will come up with a converter that actually works at some point to avoid this.

    BTW brother McCabe Thanks for your link to the ES8 set up.
    I know I will be downloading that soon. I may miss out on all the new modules for ES9, but at least I will have ES8, and since Myers’ has been so helpful I hardly see the need to support him via purchased modules.


    • Friend,

      You may not like the change to the new program. That is your privilege. However, please do not support your dislike by assuming a character issue on Rick’s part (i.e. “has become arrogant”).

      Thank you.

  12. Hi brothers I had the same dilemma, Im a spanish reader and when i installed the new e-sword, all mi spanish modules were out am looking for the previous version its a lot better

  13. When will Rick Meyers make e-Sword available to those outside the Christian faith? Oh! He’s starting. I see he’s now doing that by posting some things Catholic with no warning about the false doctrines of the RCC, especially the doctrine that teaches that salvation is by faith plus works, and the teaching that RCC tradition is equal to the Word of God. Blasphemy! When will he accommodate the Muslims? The Moonies? The Hindus? If he’s truly ecumenical as it appears (since his modules are all over the place doctrinally) I figure that is his next step.
    Way to go Ricky baby. You’re giving a new meaning to “be all things to all people.”

  14. K-Hawk,

    Not sure I follow you. Shouldn’t e-Sword be available to anyone? Isn’t that a good thing?
    What specifically are you referring to when you say “some things Catholic”?

  15. Kitty Hawk,

    Rick Meyers isn’t necessarily making all those modules himself. Many, many modules come from e-Sword users who spend much time converting texts into modules.

    As for the subjects you don’t care for, I have two thoughts:
    1. No one is forcing anyone to download anything they do not wish to;
    2. The modules on other Christian traditions and non-Christian traditions can just as easily be seen as information, a necssary part of witnessing to others outside our own sphere.

  16. Very disappointed with this upgrade…. I knew I would have to re-install modules, but they did not warn me that I would loose all my notes, markup, etc. I lost years of study notes and work…. I tried to reinstall the old version and use my backup and now I have registry errors and my many of my database are hosed. I am very disappointed….

  17. Downgrade to the previous version, it’s on the web… just google “e-Sword setup806.exe” and many links will appear

  18. I just downgraded to 8.06. I want to share how I did this, because it is not enough to just run the 8.0.6 installer (it *might* work to uninstall the 9.x version, and then install 8.0.6, but I don’t know if all your files will still be preserved).

    [Note, this requires editing the registry, which — if you’re not careful — might corrupt your system]

    0. In the registry, edit key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\VB and VBA Program Settings\e-Sword\Settings
    Version: change from 9.0 to 7.0
    1. In your e-sword installation directory (typically “C:\Program Files\e-Sword”), remove file
    2. Download and run the 8.0.6 installer
    3. In your e-sword installation directory (typically “C:\Program Files\e-Sword”)
    create a subdirectory named 9.0
    4. Make sure you can see file extensions and move all files which end in *.*x to this subdirectory
    5. In your e-sword notes directory (typically “C:\Documents and Settings\\My Documents\e-Sword”
    create a subdirectory named 9.0
    6. Move all files which end in *.*x to this subdirectory
    7. In the same directory, rename all files from *.*.old to *.*

    *Now*, you can run e-Sword, and you will see all your original bibles, commentaries, notes etc. back again!

  19. By the way, the biggest changes behind the move from 8.0 to 9.0 has been a change in the underlying
    Microsoft database. Before 9.0, all text in the database could be trivially converted to other formats,
    with 9.0 strong(er) encryption was employed, making it at least in some jurisdictions illegal to do so.

    Just like others here expressed, I would also applaud the use of open source software and libraries for this excellent program.

  20. Hello everyone,

    There is an open source alternative to the mess that is now e-sword. It is called “The Word” and can be downloaded here:


    This software is just as handy as e-sword and it is portable! Enjoy and God bless you all.

  21. I would also suggest The Word (http://www.theword.gr).
    It’s not only an ‘alternative’ (this is a big understatement), it’s a much better software. I can think of at least 3 times more features in every area, better implemented and faster. Everyone I knows of switches to The Word after trying it out.

  22. I’m running the topical programs .topx in the /program files/e-sword and they work fine from there. I took them out of the /documents and settings/user/my documents/e-sword directory. I am using the new version 9.6.0. I do like everything in one place if that is possible.

    • The amplified bible for esword 9+ is readily available for purchase from within the program. Esword 9 was a painless upgrade for me.

      Amplified bible for esword 8 is probably lurking somewhere on esnips.com, like everything else.

      I don’t personally use the Amplified.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s