Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting Help with Family Tree Maker Issues

I ran into a problem thed other day when I was making family tree charts in Family Tree Maker 2009. The program would crash when I tried to export a family tree chart to an Image - like a JPG file. It would export fine to a PDF file, but I wanted a JPG so that I could show off the charts in this blog and on Facebook.

Where did I get help? There are two excellent resources:

1) The Using Family Tree Maker Forum message board at On this message board, Russ Worthington is the Volunteer that answers almost all of the questions about every FTM version there ever was. Frankly, I don't know how he has the patience and the resources to do this!

2) The Knowledge Base "Ask Family Tree Maker" on the FTM Customer Help web page at At this site, you can enter key words and see if they have already addressed your problem. You can also email FTM to ask a question on this site.

How did I solve my problem? First, I asked Russ on the message board. You can see the thread here with my question (sent yesterday morning), and our discussion of the problem down to resolution. Russ pointed me to the Ask Family Tree Maker Knowledge Base, suggesting article # 4087 "FTM 2008 or 2009 crashes while printing or exporting a chart/report." He also suggested rebooting my computer as a potential fix (I wonder how often this is recommended?).

The Knowledge Base article didn't really address my specific problem - exporting to an image - it dealt mostly with crashes caused by an HP printer driver that happens when the user tries to print a chart.

Rebooting my computer (I leave everything on for days at a time...) seems to have worked. I was able to create images of my charts this morning after rebooting the computer. Of course, before my problem arose, I was able to do that also - it's just that after several exports to image, the program crashed.

All of this "Help" took place over 11 hours. I posted my first question at 10:13 AM yesterday, and Russ's final response was last night at 21:00. I didn't read it last night, but did read it this morning, worked on it, and am pleased with the help.

If you are a Family Tree Maker user (any version) and have problems with or questions about the software, you can use the Knowledge Base and the Using Family Tree Maker Forum message board to get answers and results.

I appreciate the dedication of Russ Worthington to help the Family Tree Maker user community. There are over 51,000 messages on this Genforum message board, and I'm guessing that Russ has answered most of them - very patiently and completely. Russ also finds time to write on the Family Tree Maker User blog - he has been posting "how-to" articles about using FTM 2009.

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