Monday, April 28, 2014

RootsMagic 6 Software Updates - Post 1: Narrative Report Paragraphs

The RootsMagic 6 genealogy software program was updated to Version on 24 April 2014 to incorporate a number of new features and improvements.  The list can be seen at, and is shown below:

The third item on the list is "New:  Added option to narrative reports to start new paragraph after 1) each fact; 2) each fact that has a note; 3) none."

I decided to check it out.  For reference purposes, here is my RootsMagic "Edit Person" screen  for my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942):

1)  To get to the Narrative Reports, I clicked on the "Reports" menu item, then selected "Narrative Reports" and the "Report Settings" screen opened (on the left below).  I set the number of generations, chose "Ancestors and children," set "Sources" for Endnotes, and clicked on the "Options" button to open the "Book Options" screen as shown below:

On the "Book Options" screen, I checked the boxes I wanted for my report, but did not check the "Print notes" option.  At the bottom of the "Book Options" screen is the dropdown menu for the narrative report paragraph options.  There are three options:

*  "Keep fact sentence in same paragraph."  (This was how reports were created before this update)
*  "New paragraph after every fact." (A new option)
*  "New paragraph after facts with notes." (A new option)

I selected the first option to show what the report provided previously.  Here is a screen shot of the top of the report:

As you can see, all of the Facts for Frederick Walton Seaver are consecutive - there is no paragraph break.  Since I did not click on "Print notes" there are no Fact Notes or General Notes.

2)  Back to the "Book Options" screen, I selected the "New paragraph after every fact" option (but still with no Notes):

The resulting narrative report looked like this (this is new):

Each Fact was put into a new paragraph using the standard, formulaic, sentence structure provided in RootsMagic 6 (although the user can alter the sentence structure if desired).

3)  Back to the "Book Options" screen, I kept the "Print notes" option enabled and selected the "Keep fact sentence in same paragraph" option (this is how the narrative report looked previously with Notes):

The resulting report looks like this (two screens shown):

If you look closely on the line that starts "AMENDED" the Fact sentence for the 1880 U.S. Census starts without a paragraph break.

4)  Back to the "Book Options" screen, I enabled the "Print notes" option and selected the "New paragraph after every fact" option:

The resulting report starts each Fact as a new paragraph (this is new):

As you can see, each Fact, with or without a Fact Note, starts as a new paragraph.  If there is a Fact Note, it follows in the Fact paragraph.

5)  Back to the "Book Options" screen, I kept the "Print notes" option enabled and selected the "New paragraph after Facts with notes" option:

The resulting report starts Facts with Notes as a new paragraph (this is new):

However, Facts that did not have a Fact Note are run together.  You can see that on the second paragraph on the screen above - the 1900 Occupation Fact, 1910 Occupation Fact and 1910 Census Fact are not separated by a line break.

7)  I really like that this Option for the Narrative Reports has been included.  I never did like how the Narrative Report printed -- I wanted paragraph breaks between Facts.  Now I can do that - thank you, Bruce and RootsMagic.

8)  Now - a suggestion:  There is only one box to check for "Print Notes."  If I check that, I get both the Fact Notes and the Person Notes.  The Fact Notes are presented first in the Narrative Report, followed by the Person Notes.  There is nothing that says they are Person Notes in the Narrative Report.

I would like to see the "Print notes" check box modified so that I can choose either or both Fact Notes and/or  Notes.  The "Book Options" screen could be modified so that it has:

*  Print Fact Notes
*  Print Person Notes

This is based on the way I have set up my RootsMagic database, I have added Fact Notes for many Facts to include a transcript or abstract of the information provided by the available sources.  Sometimes, I synthesize the information from several sources into one Fact Note.  I also copy some of those Fact Notes into the Person Notes.  Consequently, when I check the "Print Notes" box I get two versions of the same information in the report.

9)  I will look at some of the other new features in RootsMagic 6 (Version in upcoming blog posts.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

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