Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Using FREE Legacy Charting Pre-release Edition

The following news release from Legacy Family Tree was received via email today:


We are getting closer to the release of Legacy Family Tree version 7. We are just as anxious as you are for the great new features to come, but we also want to be sure that we haven't overlooked anything.

One of the biggest new features will be the ability to create large-scale wall charts, including drop-down descendancies, fan charts, hourglass charts, and many others. This part of Legacy 7 is nearly complete, and we are now "officially" inviting you to take it for a free test drive.

Legacy Charting will be included with Legacy 7 Deluxe edition, but until June 15, 2008, this special pre-release edition is freely available to everyone.

Key features:

* Creates 18 different types of family charts
* All charts are easily customizable
* Choose the number of generations to be displayed
* Select the contents of each box
* Pick from a variety of color themes, including the popular 4-color coding system
* Select from a variety of beautiful backgrounds and page borders
* Insert your own pictures and clipart
* Easily email any chart to family members
* Export to .pdf, .bmp, .jpg, .png, .tiff, .psd
* Order a wall chart and have it delivered to your front door
* Includes a thorough help reference system for easy reference

System Requirements: Windows 98 or higher (including Vista); 20 mb free hard disk space; 256mb RAM

Pricing: FREE for the pre-release edition

Download now: http://www.legacycharting.com/


I downloaded the software, installed it and tested it for about an hour (first frustrating, then enjoyable!).

My first test was to import a FamilyTreeMaker 16 .FTW file. The file imported, but the charting software did not work correctly - if I selected a person, it made a chart for a different, seemingly randomly selected, person.

UPDATE 6:30 PM: On the advice of the Legacy Charting developer, I compacted my FTM file and it worked perfectly! Thanks, Luc.

So I imported a GEDCOM file of another database, and it worked fine. The file had over 9,000 individuals, so this is a pretty fair test.

I selected the immigrant ancestor, Robert Seaver (1608-1683), to make a Descendant chart of. I asked for 12 generations. The program worked for awhile (maybe 30 seconds) and produced a very large family tree with 6,997 individuals in it. With the size of the boxes selected as 2.0 inches wide and each generation 2.0 inch wide with 0.5 inch spaces between boxes, the chart created was 8,585 inches wide and 44 inches high. You realize, of course, that this chart would be over 700 feet wide - more than two football fields! If I printed it out on 8.5 x 11 paper, it would take 4,040 pages. And a lot of scotch tape, I think!

The program is very versatile as far as appearance - themes, colors, box items, box style, font, line widths, box size, backgrounds, titles, etc.

Here is just a part of the resulting chart for the Descendants of Robert Seaver with the smallest magnification, from a screen shot:

I zeroed in a bit on several of my generations in this zoomed-in screen capture:

Here is a higher magnification screen shot with my grandparents and great-grandparents:

There is a "crosshairs" box in the lower right-hand corner of the screen that shows where the screen image is located in the overall wall chart.

In this pre-release version, the user can save the chart in a proprietary Legacy format - the other formats, including .JPG, didn't show when I tried to save the chart. But there are ways around that - I did a screen capture (Ctrl-Print Screen") and saved it as a .JPG in my digital imaging program.

UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: I was able to see how to save the file as one of the advertised files in the Export feature - but I was afraid that doing so would crash my computer.

This program is really very easy to use and can be used to make almost any kind of chart you want. I experimented a bit with backgrounds and other neat options. I don't recall if they will let you import a picture of your own to use as a background.

The problem for users will be controlling the number of pages needed to print out a very large chart and the cost. There's a compromise that needs to be made between font size, box size and number of generations to show. Perhaps a larger cost will be to find a building or a wall that can handle a chart like my Descendants of Robert Seaver (1608-1683) 12 generation chart - it would go half way around Petco Park, or could serve as confetti for a long parade, I think! Don't count on seeing my chart at the SCGS Jamboree.

The presser says that this chart program will be included in Legacy 7.0 when it releases. Cool. Will it make Legacy cost more?

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