Sunday, October 3, 2021

Exploring RootsMagic 8 - #1 - the Main Screens

 I have started exploring RootsMagic 8, and thought some of my readers might be wondering about it.  I'm going to explore the program in a series of posts.

After downloading and installing the program, I started working with it.  I imported one of my RootsMagic 7 trees, and tested as much as I could in the Essentials version (which is free to download and use, but has many features crippled).  Unfortunately, the Unlock Key I was given by RootsMagic in email on Thursday doesn't work, even though I paid for it back in February 2020.  But I can still use Essentials and investigate best practices for using RootsMagic 8 as far as data entry, source citations, navigation, etc. are concerned.  

RootsMagic 8 is a complete revision of previous versions of RootsMagic.  The workflow to do things is significantly different, as is the navigation on the various pages.  I think that all of the RootsMagic 7 features are still there, but the process to use many of them is different.  Right now, there is a Help page system online, but the specific text may not reflect how RootsMagic 8 actually works.

One of the first things I did was to change the window pane sizes on each page, and I chose a light blue background instead of the ugly default gray background on the pages.  

Now - on to the different Main Screens on the left margin of the program screen.  This will be an overview - later posts will look at each Main Screen.

1)  The program opens with the "Home" Screen (assuming you have already opened a data file):

The Main Screens are in the left-hand column on the screen - they are "Home," "File," "People," "Places," "Sources," "Media," "Tasks," "Addresses," "Search," "Publish," and "Settings.  

The "Home" Screen has panes for "File Properties," "News," "Help and Support," and "Updates."

2)  The "File" Screen is:

On the "File" Screen you can work with RootsMagic data files.  You can "Create a New RootsMagic File," "Open a RootsMagic 8 File," "Restore From Backup," "RootsMagic-To-Go," "Backup," "Import Data," "Export Data," "Tools," and "Close File."  

The three vertical dots at the far right of the top line of the screen (in the dark green line) has more links, including "Help," "Check for Updates," "Learning Center," "Register RootsMagic," "Technical Support," "Visit," and "About RootsMagic."

To the left of the three dots on the top line of each Screen is an icon for "Command Palette" (where you can jump to an action, like add a related person, set relationships, etc. - there is a long list of actions!).  There is also a Search box to find everything you need.

3)  The "People" Screen is:

In the second column, there are panes for the highlighted Person, including a timeline of life events.  Below that is an Index of Persons (alphabetical by last name first), and icons to show "Index," "History," "Bookmarks" and "Groups."  To find a person in the Index, you have to type the name (last name first) into the search field under the icons.

In the third column, the highlighted person, their spouse, their children, their parents, the spouse's parents, and the children's spouses are shown in the "Family" pane.  Double clicking on any one of those persons takes you to an Edit screen for the Person.  There are icons for different views of the Person under the "Family" line - for "Pedigree," "Family,' "Descendants," and "Couple List View."

The three vertical dots on the "Family" line at the right side of the top of the screen provides links to "More Options" - "Fact type list," "Search and replace," and "Show task for person."

The "Tool" icon to the left of the three vertical dots provides links to the "Relationship calculator," "Soundex calculator," "Date calculator," "Calendar," "Count tree," "Data clean," "Auto merge," "Merge duplicates," "Manual merge," "Not duplicate list," "Problem list," ad "Not a problem list."

An Add icon (+), a "Delete" icon (a trash can), and an Edit icon (pencil) are to the left of the Tool icon.

4)  The "Places" Screen is:

The second column pane has the list of places in the database to date, in alphabetical order, including latitude and longitude, and number of events for each place listed.  The third column pane is for "Edit Place" and the user can see the map locator, can edit information, and, for the highlighted place, can make notes, see media, see tasks, see the events for the place (by clicking on the Events line), and see WebTags.

The three vertical dots on the "Places" pane enables the user to "Reverse place," "Delete selected place," "Merge places," "Geocode selected places," "Geocode all places," "Print places," "Split places," "Gazetteer," "Show unused places," "Place Clean," "Search and replace," and "Show tasks for selected place."

A search field (you have to type in it), an Add icon (+) and a "Delete" icon (a trash can) are to the left of the three vertical dots.

5)  The "Sources" Screen is:

The second column pane is a list of Sources  listed alphabetically (these are the "Master Sources").  The number of entries for a particular source is in the right-hand column of the second pane.  Highlighting a specific source opens the "Edit Source" pane in the third column which highlights information for the "Master Source," "Master source, text, media, etc." and "Footnote" information.

The three dots in the "Sources" pane provides links to "Merge sources," "Print sources," "Delete selected source," "Copy selected source," "Merge all duplicate sources," "Merge all duplicate citations," "Source template list," and "Show tasks for selected source."

A search field (you have to type in it), an Add icon (+) and a "Delete" icon (a trash can) are to the left of the three vertical dots.

6) The "Media" Screen is:

The second column on the "Media" Screen is the "Multimedia" pane and has thumbnail images of the media items in the data file.  

The third column is the "Edit Media" pane for a highlighted media item.  It includes the image, "Media" information, and "Other."  I have captions and descriptions for many of my media items and the caption appears under the image and in the fields under "Media."  The media filename is listed.

The three vertical dots on the "Multimedia" pane include "Remove selected media," "Print media," "Fix broken media links," "View selected media," "Build thumbnails," "Search and replace," and "Show tasks for selected media."

A search field (you have to type in it), an "Add" icon (+) and a "Delete" icon (a trash can) are to the left of the three vertical dots.

7)  I will skip to the "Publish" Screen:

The second column is the "Publish, Print and Share" pane.  The "Reports and Charts" options are "All Reports and Charts," "Pedigree Chart," "Family group Sheet," Narrative Report," and "Fan Chart."  The "Online" options are "MyRootsMagic," "Ancestry TreeShare," and "FamilySearch Central."  The "UDSB Drives and CDs" option is "Shareable Drive."

8)  The "Settings" Screen is:

This page provides information about the RootsMagic 8 program settings.  The icons across the top under "General Settings" are for "Program Settings" (shown),  "Folder Settings," "General settings" including Root Person and FamilySearch Support, "Display settings," "Preparer," "WebHint Settings," and "Later-Day Saints Settings."


A final note:  I think that every setting, heading and icon noted above are in RootsMagic 7, either in the icon ribbons or in the drop-down menus.  As I said, there is very little new, but they've moved it all around.  I much prefer menus with words over icons, but they might be going towards a mobile app which prefers icons to lists. 


Disclosure:  I have been a paying customer of RootsMagic genealogy software since about 2006, and purchased RootsMagic 8 as an upgrade package back in 2020.

Copyright (c) 2021, Randall J. Seaver

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uk genealogy hunter said...

Hi Randy
""Command Palette" where you can change the screen colors""

The command palette isn't about screen colours but is a way to find a action i.e. "Add parent" or "Backup". It allows you to jump straight to an action or program option from any tab.

An example if I'm in Tasks and want to add a child to a person. Click the command palette, click "Add Child" from the list and you will get the Add Child box for the last selected individual in the People tab. The Task tab will still be there and active under the "Add Child" dialog box.



Linda Stufflebean said...

If we have a key for RM8, will installing and opening it automatically suck in the trees from RM7?

Randy Seaver said...

Hi George, thanks for the help. I saw a palette and assumed. I fixed it in the text. After I wrote the post I wondered where some of those actions were but it was late and I was tired.

That "Command Palette" probably deserves a separate blog post.

Randy Seaver said...

Hi Linda,

No, you will have to "Import" the RM7 file into RM8. When you first open RM8, it will prompt you to create a new file or import one (from RM, GEDCOM, or other programs). The file page will also permit an Import.

Marian B. Wood said...

Randy, I better follow along one blog post at a time or else I will be hopelessly lost with RM8. Will go looking for my key and get busy this week. TY for being a guiding light in this process of moving from 7 to 8.

Asissman said...

Hi Randy,

I am a FTM user since 1999 in it various versions. I just bought RM7>RM8 just downloaded.

Asking about strategy for bringing trees to RM8 that I have on FTM2019.
1. Make sure the tree is satifactory on FTM
2. Sync FTM tree to including all data and media.
3. Sync above FTM tree now on to RM8.
4. Now have FTM tree transferred intact with all comments, media to RM8
5. Mission complete and start using RM8
6. Repeat above process for all other tree on Ancestry or FTM.

Am I missing something.
Thanks for your help.

Arthur Sissman

Randy Seaver said...

Hi Art,

Your strategy sounds good to me. Does FTM have some sort of quality check on each person and the whole database? If so, you should run that, and sync with your Ancestry tree again, before you import the file using TreeShare to RootsMagic.

PM said...

I went from PAF to TMG years ago, then came from TMG to RoostsMagic 7 when TMG basically ended. I didn't really care for RootsMagic 7 but it seemed better than the other possible programs. Now I have been trying to work with version 8 for over a week and it is the worst program I have ever tried to use. Even just for the upgrade price it is a complete waste of money! Most things are hidden, you have to click all over the place to find what you are looking for. Nothing is intuitive. It actually takes longer to do something in this version than it did in version 7. I don't recommend this version at all.

dlh said...

Hello. This was very Helpful.
Is there a way to delete a database?

I want to delete the databases in RM8 so I have a fresh start when I migrate databases from RM7.

The databases I have put on RM8 were trial so I could learn how to use the program.

Thanks for your help.