Saturday, August 9, 2008

Using FamilyTreeMaker - Post 14: Charts III

I installed FamilyTreeMaker 2008 in early July and uploaded a large database to see how it worked. I also started a new database to test other program features. Please see the list at the bottom of this post for the earlier posts.

In the last post, I described and displayed the Hourglass, Relationship and Vertical Pedigree Charts. In this post, I want to display some completed charts that might be useful for wall posters if the user could get them printed on appropriate material.

I'm using Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) in my database as a starting point for these charts.

I wanted to see how many generations I could put on a one-page pedigree chart. The default is 4 generations. I went up to 6 generations - here is a screen shot of the pedigree of Benjamin Seaver from FTM 2008:

As you can see, I added some color to the names, increased the font size some, and added an old map (one of the options in the Background list) for a background.

You can print the chart by clicking on the [Print] icon in the top right-hand corner of the FTM 2008 screen. You can also [Share] the chart - save it to a .bmp, .jpg, .png or .pdf file if you desire. I saved the Pedigree Chart to a .jpg file and it took 1.141 mb. Here is the saved chart (I think I increased the transparency of the background for this chart):

I was so pleased with this that I made 6-generation charts for myself and for many of my 4th great-grandparents!

I also modified many of the settings for the Descendants, Hourglass and Vertical Pedigree Charts that I created earlier and showed in the last two posts. The process is really very easy - you can create a multi-page Poster chart by making selections from the on-screen boxes and the menu items at the top of the right-hand panel.

For an Hourglass chart, I chose 5 generations for both ancestors and descendants, and then I added the Tree 2 background and selected "Stretch" from the options (this stretched the background over the whole chart). In the menu items, in the Items to Include menu I chose Name, Birth, Death and Marriage from the Facts list. Then I went to the Fonts menu and changed the font size and color for each fact and for the chart format. In the Box and Line Styles menu, I changed the box size, the box line width and color, the box background color, the pedigree line weight and color, and the chart border line weight and color. The resulting chart - in a 33% magnification view, is shown below in an FTM 2008 screen shot:

In the 10% magnification view in FTM 2008, you can see the entire Hourglass chart - a 4-generation chart is 5 pages wide and 3 pages high. The 4-generation chart is 50 inches wide by 17 inches high in full size.

I added another generation to both ancestors and descendants and created another Hourglass chart. This one was 79 inches wide (8 pages) and 21 inches high (3 pages). I saved this chart as a .jpg file, and it was 2.256 mb in size. I saved the chart as a .pdf file, and it was 22.394 mb in size. When I viewed the .jpg chart with my photo viewer program, it looked like this:

All in all, I like the chart making capabilities of FamilyTreeMaker 2008. There are a lot of options to be tested and optimized - there is definitely a learning curve. I estimate that I've spent about three hours getting to this point in the Charts. I'm still tweaking some of the options - just today I checked the box in the right-hand panel of the FTM 2008 screen to "Center tree on page." It made the Hourglass chart above look not so crowded.

One of the options I didn't use was to put a Photograph in the boxes for each person. FTM 2008 gives you options of None, Thumbnail or Photo. The default size is 0.75 inches. You can choose to have silhouettes in each box also. These options are in the right-hand panel menu.

I could send the chart image file to a chart maker (such as Generation Maps - there are others) for them to create a beautiful wall chart of my handiwork. However, it might be better to send your FTM database to companies like Generation Maps, since they can add many special features to your chart.

What would I change? I would like to see the Chart Title moved to the Center of the entire Chart and larger font sizes allowed for the title. I would like to be able to put text boxes on the chart in random locations in order to provide a biography of one or more persons on the chart.

Previous posts in this series:

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 1: Loading. Installing the program and uploading an existing database file.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 2: Exploring. Looking around the uploaded database file to see what the different views look like.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 3: The Menus. Most of the menus were itemized and described.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 4: Starting a New Tree. I started a new tree and added some people demonstrating the program options to do this.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 5: Adding a Source. I added sources to the Facts that I previously entered.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 6: Adding Children to a Family. I added children to a family.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 7: The Person Menu. I described the items in the Person menu and attached a spouse to a person.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 8: Finding a Person in the database. I described three ways to Find a person.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 9: Places I. I explored the vagaries of the Places icon.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 10: Places II. The different map types are discussed and displayed.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 11: Places III. The method to Resolve many places with standardized place names is explored.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 12: Charts I. Introduction to Charts and examples of pedigree and descendants charts.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 13: Charts II. Examples of Hourglass, Relationships and Vertical Pedigree Charts.

The next post will start in on the Reports available in the [Publish] menu.

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