Family Tree Maker Tips and Tricks
It’s always a good idea to keep copies or backups of your work. You can save to a different location on your hard drive or select another method—removable media (floppy disk, CD or DVD, flash drive).
Your notes may include information that you do not want to include in reports or share when you export your tree. You can make a note private by clicking the lock icon on the note toolbar.
You can display birth, marriage, or death dates in the Index on the Family tab. Simply click the Show additional data button in the toolbar and choose a date type.
When you create a custom report, you can add facts that aren’t available in other reports. For example, you can include age at death, age at marriage, and parents’ names.
Instead of deleting a group of individuals, you might want to simply detach the group from the people they’re linked to. That way if you ever find a connection, you can simply reattach this branch to the appropriate member of your family, and you won’t have to re-enter any information.
If the notes you want to enter are in another document on your computer, you can “copy and paste” the text so you don’t have to retype existing information.
After adding a lot of new information or merging a family member’s tree with yours, it’s a good idea to check your tree for duplicate individuals. You can do this using the Find Duplicate People option on the Edit menu.
You can create your own media categories to help you organize your photos, documents, and media items. To create a category, go to the Media workspace and click the Edit button next to the Categories field.
You should use the Compact File tool (on the Tools menu) periodically to optimize performance in your tree, remove unnecessary items, and reindex your file.
You can change the name of your tree at any time. On the Plan workspace, highlight the tree you want to rename in the Trees section. Then select the Rename Tree option from the Options button.
If an Ancestry hint you’ve accessed isn’t relevant to the individual in your tree, you can ignore the hint and it won’t appear in the list again. To do this, access the hints for an individual. On the search results page, click the hint you want to ignore. Then click the Ignore record button on the toolbar at the bottom of the window.
You can open a Web Search result in a separate browser window outside of Family Tree Maker. When you’re looking at a Web Search result, click the Browser Options button in the toolbar and select Open in New Window.
If you want to know the name of a button or find out its use, move the mouse over the button and a tooltip will appear.
If you mistakenly link a media item to the wrong individual, you can unlink the item. Got to the Media workspace and select the item. On the Detail tab, click the appropriate individual and then click the broken link icon.
You can create a report of all the events that happened at a specific location. On the Places workspace, select a location. Then click the Share button and choose Export Place Usage Report for This Place.
If you want to share your tree with someone who doesn’t own Family Tree Maker, you can upload your tree to Ancestry.com or export your tree as a GEDCOM.
Want to know how many generations are in your tree? The Current Tree tab on the Plan workspace shows a variety of statics about your tree including the total number of people in your tree, number of marriages, average lifespan, and file size.
If you want a picture of an individual to appear on screen and in charts and reports, you need to assign a portrait to the individual. To do this, go to the People workspace. Right-click the silhouette and add a new picture from your computer or link to a picture you’ve already added to your tree.
Many of us have ancestors from foreign countries. If you come across a name or location that uses foreign language characters, you can enter them using the Insert Symbol option from the Edit menu.
If you find Web Search results hard to read, you can enlarge the size of the text. In the browser toolbar, click the Browser Options button and select Text Size.
You can change the location where Family Tree Maker saves new trees. Select the Options button from the Tools menu. On the General tab, choose a new default location by clicking the Browse button.
You can save a report so that it can be opened in a word-processing program such as Word. After you create the report, click the Share button under the main toolbar. Then select Export to RTF. The report will open in your default text program.
To print a photo or image in your tree, go to the Collection tab on the Media workspace. Select the item and click the Print button under the main toolbar. Then choose Print Media Item.
You can edit a person’s information while viewing a chart. Simply double-click the individual’s box and the Edit Individual window opens.
You can create your own custom facts using the Manage Facts option on the Edit menu.
Did you know that many actions can be cancelled by immediately selecting the Undo option on the Edit menu?
You can use the History button on the Media and Source workspaces to view the items you last edited or added to your tree.
The latest news and updates from Family Tree Maker can be viewed in the Web Dashboard on the Plan workspace.
You can use the Global Spell Check tool (on the Tools menu) to look in your tree for spelling mistakes and transcriptions errors.
If you can’t see Ancestry search results, make sure that your Ancestry subscription has been linked to Family Tree Maker. To do this, use the Activate Ancestry Subscription option on the Help menu.