This section tells you how to do some simple things with Abel. The rest of the documentation describes all the facilities in more detail.
When Abel starts for the first time after you've installed it, you'll see that there's a circle of bell ropes with a button marked Start in the centre. Make sure the sound on your PC is turned up, then use the mouse to click the Start button. You'll hear rounds on eight. You'll see that the central button is now marked Go. Click it again, and the bells will start ringing a touch of 8-spliced surprise major. If you get bored with listening to the touch before it gets to the end (it's 253 changes long), click the centre-screen button, or press the Esc (Escape) key on your keyboard, to get back to rounds; then press Esc (again) to get the bells to stand.
On the left of the window, you'll see a list of method names; these are the methods used by the current composition. Above the list, you'll see a box labelled "Composition", with a down-arrow at the end. Click the arrow and you'll get a list of the compositions that are available. Click on the one called Plain Course. The list of methods now shows all the methods currently available for ringing plain courses. Double click any of the methods in the list, then click the Start button to get Abel to ring a plain course of that method. Notice that there's a Peal Time box on the left too; you can use the up/down arrows next to it to alter the speed of the ringing.
Methods and compositions are held in method collection files; the one you've been using so far contains various demonstration methods and compositions. If you click the File menu item at top left of the screen, you can then click Open (or you can use the standard Open File button on the toolbar below), the usual Windows file selection dialog appears. Either open the file called 6bell.mcf (you'll then see that it is immediately ready to ring a Plain Course of Bob Minor) or, if you’re a call change ringer, open the file called "Call Changes.mcf".
Now press and release the J key. You'll see that it rings the bell at bottom right of screen, which happens to be the treble. If you'd prefer to ring one of the other bells, just click that bell with the mouse, and the circle will rotate to move it to the bottom right of the screen. For a first attempt at ringing a bell yourself, move the tenor to bottom right: click it. Now, if you click Start, you can join in with the rounds by pressing J at the right moment. Because you have pressed J, Abel will not ring that bell and leave it up to you; if you stop ringing for a few blows however, Abel will take over the bell until you join in again. When you're confident about ringing rounds on the tenor - to the point that you can do it, with good rhythm, with your eyes closed - stop the bells (press Escape), and click the treble. Then make sure you can ring steady rounds - with your eyes closed - on that too. When you're confident about that, you can click the Go button (or press the G key) to start the bells into Bob Minor (or call changes, if you opened that file - they'll be called 'up', unless you alter Abel's Ringing Options), and ring the treble to that. If you're a handbell ringer, you can ring the pair of bells at the bottom of the screen by using the 'J' and 'F' keys (if you first click Options>Open Option File, and select Hand.opf, you'll find many options are set appropriately for handbell ringing).
Now you've got started with Abel! You know how to change method collections, how to select methods and compositions, and how to ring a bell yourself. If you want to, just explore the various menus and controls to see what's there; try clicking or double-clicking on things (and right clicking bells); see what we've included in the various method collection files, and add more methods and compositions, or more method collections, if you wish. Or, if you prefer a more orderly approach, press F1 or click the Help menu, then Help Topics, to get access to all the documentation about Abel; the Using Abel - Overview page is a good place to start. If you need assistance at any time when using the program, just press F1 for help.
When you've finished using Abel, click on the cross at the top right hand corner of the Abel window, or on the File menu then Exit.