Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 19: Creating a Custom Report

Previous posts in this series are listed in Working in RootsMagic 4 - Summary of Posts.

In this post, I'm going to create a "Custom Report" - defined as a report that the user can select what to print and where to print it. I have always wanted genealogy software to be able to create a list, one page wide, with names, birth dates and places, death dates and places, spouse name, and marriage date and place for all of my ancestors in the database. Let's see if I can do it!

In the "Family" View with myself highlighted, I clicked on the "Report" menu item and clicked the "Custom Report" option:

The "Report Settings" menu opened:

There are five buttons across the top - for New, Edit, Delete, Rename and Copy. I wanted to list only my ancestors, so I selected "Select from List" in the "People to Include" field. When I clicked on that, the "Select People" menu opened up and I found myself on the list of persons, then clicked on the "Mark People" button and selected "Ancestors of highlighted person."

An "Ancestor options" window opened, and I picked "Direct ancestors only" from the list, and selected 12 generations:

With the selection of people to be listed complete, on the "Report Settings" menu I clicked on the "New" button in order to create a new Custom Report. The "Custom Report Designer" opened. This has a field to enter the header information for a column. I highlighted Column 1 in the Header row, and typed "Last Name, First Name" in the text field. Then I clicked on the row labeled "Row 1" in Column 1, and in the "select field" field I found "Name - Surname, Given":

I created eight columns using the "Insert" menu (there are "insert column" icons on the next menu row down):

After entering the header and data field for each column, I had to select the width of each field. The user can specify the field widths, but they have to add up to 100%. This takes some clicking to get right - since I had eight fields, it was logical that each could by 12 or 13%. Here is the final Custom Report Design:

I clicked on the "OK" button and was back to the "Report Settings" menu, where I made sure that in the "Layout" menu I was using a Landscape page. I clicked on the "Generate Report" button and after about 10 seconds, this 81 page report for 12 generations appeared:

Page 1 is above - it is sorted by Surname and then Given Name. Here is page 63 of the report:

I noticed that there was no title on this report. I went back to the "Custom Report Designer" menu and clicked on the "Options" button, which included a report title field, which I filled out. In this "Options" menu, you can choose which field to sort on - to three levels. The defaults are "Surname," "Given name" and "select a field."

At the top of the Custom Report page above, there are buttons for "Settings," "Print," "Save," and "Email." I chose the "Save" option, and a list of available formats appeared - I can save the report as an RTF file, a PDF file, an HTML file and a text file. I expected the program to offer a CSV option also for saving to a spreadsheet file.

I chose the RTF file option, and put in the file name and directory to save it on my computer. When it saved, the file opened in Microsoft Word as a table, as shown below:

This Custom Report option seems very versatile. Once you understand how to select people to include and how to create the Custom Report columns and size them, it is really pretty easy.

I'm ecstatic to have a nice compact list of all of my ancestors. Not every software program can do this as well as RootsMagic 4.

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