Thursday, September 19, 2013

Making a Descendants Chart Using Legacy Family Tree 7.5

I received a question in email from a correspondent last week about making a Descendant's Chart using genealogy software, and so I set out to look at how to do this in the three major software programs I have. 

She specifically wanted a chart that showed a set of parents, and then their children with their spouses (all of them), and all on one sheet of paper.  She had 10 children to the one sheet of paper might be a problem, unless their boxes are very narrow.

This post uses Legacy Family Tree 7.5, and I've done posts using Family Tree Maker 2014  and RootsMagic 6 also.  Maybe I'll learn something in the process too.

1)  In the Family view in Legacy Family Tree 7.5, with my great-grandfather Frank Walton Seaver highlighted, I clicked on the "Reports" menu item (not the "Reports" icon) and saw a dropdown list:

From the dropdown list, I chose "Legacy Charting...":

From the list of different charts, I chose the "Standard" Descendants chart.

2)  I exercised all of the "Appearance" menu buttons (Themes, Box Items, Borders, Sizing, Background and Privacy) and finagled them a bit and ended up with:

This chart is 34 inches wide and 11 inches high full scale.  It uses four pieces of paper.  I did include birth, marriage and death information.  Here is a "full scale" view:

I used a 20 point font for the title, a 14-point font for the Name and 10-point for the vital information.

3)  I wanted to save the chart as a JPG file, so I clicked on the "Publish" button and a dialog box opened with options for file types a button to calculate the file size, and a browse button to pick a file folder to save it in:

I saved it as a JPG and the file size is about 0.5 mb:

There are 14 persons in the third generation, 7 children and 7 spouses.  I could reduce the box width to 1.5 inches to get it on three pages, but the names get word-wrapped.  I have a problem with the thumbnail pictures not showing up for some of the persons even though they show up in a family and pedigree view.  

I like this rendition of the descendants chart - it has what I want in it, and is relatively easy to read in full scale.  

4)  I used the "Help" button to find out how to make this a Landscape chart and succeeded:

But that came out 33 inches wide and 17 inches high, and would print on 6 pieces of paper.

5)  My correspondent wants 20 names across on one sheet of paper, and that won't happen with any of these programs since the boxes would have to be 0.5 inches wide.  

As we've seen, none of the three programs I've looked at have the flexibility to stagger the longest row of people up and down in order to minimize the width of the chart.  

I may be left to recommending that they use something like Powerpoint to create text boxes and enter text and move them around to fit.  With that, the boxes would still be only 1.05 inch wide at most (on an 11 inch wide piece of paper) for a generation with 20 persons in it.  Or use a fold-out 11 x 17 piece of paper for the charts.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Geolover said...

Randy, under your comment no. 5 you said "As we've seen, none of the three programs I've looked at have the flexibility to stagger the longest row of people up and down in order to minimize the width of the chart."

In RootsMagic that is not so. The 'canvas' size is not fixed. Click on Layout in the tool bar and you can add vertical depth so you can move boxes around to create more layers/tiers using the existing boxes. They are easy to move, but one has to keep fiddling with the linking lines. It helps if you use the Grid display (View menu). The line corners can be moved - click on a line and put the cursor into a corner, which will display a teeny circle by which to move the corner. Aligning horizontal lines is not always easy.

Once you have the chart compacted some using the tiers, click on each box in the chart (holding down Ctrl) and move the whole thing to left margin. Then you can use Layout again to reduce chart width. If you reduce width before moving the boxes you may not be able to get to all the ones on the right!

Geoff said...

Randy - in Legacy, on the Appearance tab, click on the Sizing Options button. Here you can control the spacing between boxes and between generations. This may get you closer to what you want. You can also use the snap buttons on the left to drag either one generation, or the entire chart around so it will line up where you want it. Hope this helps - Geoff

Geoff said...

...also using the appropriate snap button you can manually drag up/down those in the last generation, but a good idea for an automated feature for the future. We'll consider it....

Cousin Russ said...


I know it's not part of your testing, and I don't know the intent of you reader was, but the Book Format, in FTM2014, might get you what you want.

I'll try to show you.


Jim's Girl said...

I really appreciate everyone's comments. I'm sure with all this help I can print dad's family tree just the way he wants it.

Kate, aka Jim's Girl