How to directly insert images into a Paratext project from a searchable database

The SIL Repository provides over 2800 black and white or color illustrations. Finding the best image among so many can be a challenge. However, it is now possible to do an image search from within Paratext, searching by chapter reference or by keyword in multiple languages. Here's how:
  • Visit the official SIL Sample Illustration Repository (hosted in Dropbox). Alternatively, you can check out the experimental space for sample illustrations at tiny.cc/sampleimages. This contains beta versions of the color images, and beta versions with keywords in other major languages. It's hosted on Google Drive.
  • If using the official repository site, download directly or to your Dropbox the folders that you want to use samples from.
  • If using the experimental site, either browse within the appropriate language folder for the sets of images you want, and download those, or download all images by right-clicking on the language folder and selecting Download. (Alternatively, you can add the relevant folder to your own Google Drive folder, and sync that to your local drive using Google File Stream (on corporate accounts) or Google Backup & Sync (on personal accounts).)
  • Note that these are low-resolution watermarked images. (In all cases except for WBT image sets licensed under CC, the full-resolution originals are available only for bona fide typesetters, who will automatically substitute them for your sample images at typesetting time.)
  • Unzip this collection to a folder within your Pictures folder. (This will ensure that the images are included in Windows’ search index. If you’d rather store these files in another location, add that folder to Windows’ search indexing. Here’s how to add it.)
  • In Paratext, position the insertion point in the passage where you want to insert a picture, and click Insert > Figure...
  • Click the Browse button.
  • Navigate to the folder where you unzipped your collection. 
  • Click in the SEARCH box in the top right corner:


  • Enter one or more terms to search for, such as baptism or dove, and/or enter a chapter reference as the 3-letter book code plus the 2-digit chapter number. E.g. MRK01. (Not MRK1, as that might match MRK10, MRK11, etc.)


  • You can expand a search by using uppercase OR between two terms. For example, “lamb OR sheep” will include pictures that have either a lamb or sheep keyword.
  • You can filter an OR search by enclosing it in parentheses and adding the additional term. “(lamb OR sheep) digital” will show us images of lambs and sheep that we’ll be able to get permission to use in our app.
  • You can use a minus in front of a term to exclude it. So if you’ve already looked through all the sheep pictures, and now you want to see lamb pictures that you haven’t seen yet, you can search for “lamb -sheep”. 
  • Typically, the first time you do a search, you'll need to adjust the display settings for the results. If your search results are not displayed with extra large icons, in the upper-right corner, click the drop-down arrow to open the view options:


  • Select “Extra large icons”:

  • Optional: To make space for even more images, you may want to hide the navigation pane. (Organize > Layout > Navigation pane: Uncheck)
  • Optional: In addition, you can resize this window to fit more images by dragging a corner or edge, or by double-clicking on the title bar to maximize it.
  • Double-click on an image from the search results to select it.
  • Enter a Caption.
  • Best Practice: If you only want this illustration to be used in print publications or you don't expect to receive permission to use it in app or Web, for Location enter “p”. (See How to tell Paratext which images are for print and which are for electronic outputs.)




  • Click OK.



Regarding Translating the Keywords into Languages of Wider Communication

Note that in many cases, Google Translate gets thrown off by the English wording. Titles in English often omit the articles (a/an/the) and use a present participle verb without the context of a complete sentence; Google Translate does poorly with such wording, so we are tidying up the English first to get Google's best translation. Then there are issues of Google Translate's skewing due to its training corpus: It wants to translate ram into Hindi as the name of the god Ram; or bush into Swahili as the former president Bush. The AI folk have said they can refine the Google Translate result for us to focus it on Biblical vocabulary. Finally, after these steps are complete, we'll need mother-tongue speakers of each language to review the results and manually correct them where needed. Please let us know if you'd like to contribute to this effort.

We also need to determine which languages are worth supporting here. I just picked Hindi, Swahili, French and Spanish out of thin air without any real data on number of translation teams that would be relying on each. If you have any estimate of the number of current and projected translation projects that would need keywords in any language of wider communication, please give me your estimates. It needs to either be a language supported by Google Translate or one that you have a way to process for us. (Tok Pisin??)

Contact Dan at [email protected].


Contributors to this page: dan and dhigby .
Page last modified on Thursday November 12, 2020 05:56:00 GMT-0000 by dan.


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