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Customize, Format and Save your chart in Family Tree Maker 1-3

Customize, Format and Save your chart in Family Tree Maker 1-3

Answer ID 9059
How do I customize, format and save a chart in Family Tree Maker?

This is a general overview covering the various options for customizing, formatting and saving a chart of your choice. We also have individual help articles that guide you through creating any chart you choose. Simply search our knowledge base by inputting the name of the report you would like to create in the Search Online Help field.

This article discusses the following:

  • Chart Preview
  • Right Clicking Options
  • Chart Options Icons
  • Chart Options
  • Chart Options Checkboxes

Chart Preview

In the Preview area of your chart there are several options for viewing your chart, as well as general information about the chart.


  1. This icon Image will fit your chart into the preview pane. Depending on the size of your chart, this may make the chart very small, which you could then expand.
  2. This button Image zooms in to 100%, or the actual size of the chart.
  3. This option Image allows you to choose the zoom level of your chart. Click on the arrow to select a zoom percentage, or type a number in the box.
  4. Image This tells you how many pages your chart will print as, as well as the paper size you selected, and the actual size of the Chart. You can change the paper size in Page Setup. Please note you will not be able to export or print any chart larger than 200 inches.

Note: When you create a Relationship chart you will have the following options instead for your Chart Preview:


  1. Image This Hand Tool icon allows you to grab and drag the document to move the page around.
  2. This option Image allows you to choose the zoom level of your chart. Click on the arrow to select a zoom percentage, or type a number in the box.
  3. Image These icons allow you to zoom in and out.
  4. Image These arrows allow you to navigate to different pages of the document.

Right Clicking Options

Note: Right-click options vary slightly depending upon which chart or report you decided to create. For example, the Relationship Chart only has the option to print, export or send the chart via email.

When you right-click on a person’s box you can access the Preview area of your chart. From here there are a few selection options available. You have several different options for selecting individuals from your tree quickly. You can remove people from your chart without removing them from your actual family tree file. This can be extremely useful in identifying relationships, or “branches” within your tree. You can mark generations to make identification easier. You can also export and print from this window.


Removing or Exporting a Branch

To remove a person or entire branch from your chart right click to select them. Then right click any of the selected people and click Remove Person from Chart. This will remove that person from the chart. You can also use this method to delete the people selected from your file, or to export only those people as their own tree. To Export an individual, selected individuals or entire chart click Export from the window.

Marking a Generation

Marking a branch or generation can be useful if you have a large chart and would like to easily differentiate between the people. You can mark up to 3 generations. To do so, right click to select the people you want to mark, then right click again and click Mark Selected. Select a Marking.


The people you selected will change in appearance. You can then go to the Box and Line Styles Image to change the appearance to your liking.

Chart Options Icons

Items to Include


The Items to Include icon Image will let you add any facts you’ve entered in your tree, whether it’s someone’s birth date or their weight, to your chart. Clicking this icon opens a window where you can add and remove facts from your chart. You can also choose to Include only preferred facts, Include blank facts, Include sources, Display user-defined short place names and Print individual numbers with names.


To add a fact, click on the Plus sign. This opens up another window with a list of the facts available to add to your chart. To remove a fact, click on the Minus sign. To change the order in which facts are listed for each individual, select the fact you wish to move and use the Up andDown arrows to change where it appears in the list.

You can also change the labeling options for each included fact by selecting the fact in your list and clicking the Name Options button underneath the list of included facts. A window specific to that fact will open. Please note that the options you choose are only applicable to the chart that you’re working on. For example, if you choose to display last names in all capital letters, this wouldn’t change the way names are displayed in your family tree or in your index of individuals in the People workspace. You can also include only preferred facts, include blank facts, include sources, display user-defined short place names and print individual numbers with names. Once you have made your selections click OK and your chart will automatically be updated.



You can change font options by clicking on the second icon, Fonts Image. This opens a window from which you can change not only the Font, but also the Text style, Size, Alignment, and Color .


You will need to select which type of text to modify from the list of options on the left side of the window. At the top of this list are all the facts you’ve chosen to include in your chart so you can modify those individually, when you finish making your selections click OK and the changes will be applied automatically.

Box and Line Styles


If you would like to highlight certain people in your chart, or add some extra color and style, choose the icon Image for Box and Line Styles.


From the window that appears you can add and remove the borders around people in your chart, add different background colors behind their information, as well as change the background color and border of the entire chart. Additionally, you can change boxes for males and females into different colors to highlight the gender distribution in your family. You can also alter the width and shape of the box sizes and change the color, size and type of pedigree and divider lines. When you finish making your selections click OK and the changes will be applied automatically.

Header and Footer


If you want to add page numbers to a chart, or if you have prepared a chart for someone else and want to include your preparer information, the Header/Footer Image options will allow you to customize what appears at the very top and bottom of your chart. When you select the icon the Header/Footer window will appear.


Note: Depending on what the Layout of your chart is set as, you may not be able to access all of these options. The Poster layout does not have the option to add a Chart Note or page numbers since it is a one page format. In some charts the poster layout is the only option you can select.

The Chart Note , if you have the option to include it, will show at the bottom of your chart. Include submitter info displays whatever you entered as your User Information. This can be accessed through the Tools menu in the top left-hand area of your computer screen. Include date/time of printing will give the chart a stamp of the time or date of when you selected this option. You can also choose to Print “Created with Family Tree Maker” statement or Include page/chart numbers in the header or footer. When you finish making your selections click OK and the changes will be applied automatically.

Insert Image or Text Box


An exciting new feature in Family Tree Maker 3 is the option to Insert a Text Box Image. You can add an image or text box anywhere in your chart by selecting this option.


  • Insert Image From Media Collection opens a window from which you can select media that you have previously added to your family tree file. Choose an image and click OK .
  • Insert Image From File allows you to browse your entire computer to find an image to add to your chart. You will find a variety of decorative images in the Embellishments folder located in the Family Tree Maker folder under Documents. If you want to resize the image, click on the image and move the cursor over the boxes in the bottom-right hand corner. Then click and drag the boxes to adjust the size of the image or select the entire image to relocate on your chart.


    • Right clicking the image gives you several options:
    • Reset Image: restores the image as it was when it was first inserted
    • Move to Front/Back: brings the image to the top, front, bottom or back
    • Move Forward/Backward: brings the image one step or layer forward or backward
    • Layout: Lets you control the way the image is displayed inside the box
    • Border: allows you to add a single or double border to the box for the image
    • Alignment: select multiple items and align them quickly
    • Makes Same Size: select multiple items and make them the same size quickly
    • Delete Image and Selected Items: use to delete one or more items from the page

Insert Text Box will create a box in which you can enter text. Once selected you can click on the box Image that is created in your chart or report and move it to the place that you would like the text to be displayed. Once you have placed it, simply double click on the box and this will open a window from which you can enter the text. If you wish to modify the way the text box appears, select the appropriate settings from Font and Box and Line Styles .

Page Setup


The Page Setup Image is great if you know you will be printing your chart on non-standard sized paper, if you wish to change the page orientation, or if you want to change how much white space will show between your chart and the edge of the paper. The Paper Size drop-down list will allow you to change the size of the paper if your printer is capable of printing larger sheets. Otherwise, leave this section at letter size, which is a standard 8 ½ “x 11” sheet of paper. In the Orientation section, click Portrait (picture on the left) if you would like your document to print vertically, or click Landscape (picture on the right) if you would like your document to print horizontally. When you finish making your selections click OK and the changes will be applied automatically.


Page Margins


The Page Margins Image icon will allow you to adjust the margins of your chart according to your liking. To adjust them, simply type in what the size you would like in each of the boxes, or use the up and down arrows to change the size. When you have finished making your selections, click OK .


Save Settings


Once your chart is customized the way you like, you can save the formatting settings that you’ve chosen by clicking on the Save Settings Image icon. You’ll have the option to either save the options you’ve chosen as the preferred template for the type of chart you’re working on, or create a new template which you can apply to future charts of any type.


Use Saved Settings


The Use Saved Settings icon Image allows you to access previously saved templates so you can create multiple charts with the same formatting options without the need to re-select every single option again.


Save Chart


The Save Chart icon Image lets you save your entire chart – people, facts, formatting, and all – within Family Tree Maker. Once you click on the icon you can then choose to rename the chart if you would like. When you are finished click Save .

You can access your saved charts from the Collection tab within the Plan workspace, under Saved Charts. Please click here for more information on saving a chart.




The Settings Image icon provides several options (these options are also accessible when you right click on your chart). You have several different options for selecting individuals from your tree quickly. You can mark generations to make identification easier, you can insert images, and you can export the entire tree or just selected individuals. Additionally, there is the option to delete everyone from the tree or selected individuals. Please be cautious as this does delete them from your tree.


Note: The Settings icon is only available in Family Tree Maker 3.

Chart Options

Chart Title


The title is the text that will appear at the top of your Chart. To change the title of your chart click in the Chart title field and make the desired change. Press Tab on your keyboard to apply the changes and click the Save Chart icon Image to rename and save the file. The old saved chart file needs to be deleted. Clicking the blue Reset arrow will return the chart to the default title and location.



There are two basic layout options for the Pedigree Chart: Book and Poster. Book layout is best if this is a chart you want to include in a book, as it neatly shows a set number of generations per page. Poster layout puts the whole chart into one large poster that you can print or have printed at a print shop.

If you select Poster as your layout, the Advanced button Image directly to the right of the layout options will appear. This will allow you to adjust the spacing, overlap, and position of elements in a chart with a poster layout. Adjusting the layout can help you fit the poster onto the desired number of pages.


  • The Horizontal Spacing slider allows you to control the amount of space between the right side of one node and the left side of the node next to it. The viewer updates as you make adjustments to the horizontal spacing.
  • The Vertical Spacing slider controls the amount of space between the right side of one node and the left side of the node next to it. The viewer updates as you make adjustments to the horizontal spacing.
  • The Poster Viewer displays a preview of how the chart will print. The light gray lines indicate where the page breaks will be when the chart is printed.
  • The Automatic Zoom adjusts the viewer to display the chart at the zoom level you have selected: Fit horizontally adjusts the chart to the width of the viewer, Fit vertically adjusts the chart to the height of the viewer, and the Lock aspect keeps the chart proportionally accurate. When the Lock aspect is not selected the viewer may stretch the chart to fit horizontally or vertically. This does not affect how the chart is printed.
  • Positioning controls the position of the chart on the pages of the poster. Center moves the chart to the horizontal and vertical centers of the available pages, and No Page Overlap adjusts the chart so none of the boxes are broken across pages.
  • Reset returns the chart to the settings that were in effect when you opened the Advanced layout dialog box.

Once you finish your selections click Ok and the adjustments you made will be applied automatically.



The Overlap option takes advantage of horizontal space inherent in Pedigree and Horizontal Hourglass charts. Because of the amount of horizontal white space in these two charts, it is possible to overlap of names and facts in the first two or three generations without overwriting any text. This allows you to include more generations on a single page. There are several options to choose from: Columns Overlap will overlap generations wherever there is room, Only Root Overlaps will make it so no columns overlap except for the root person, and No Overlap will have all generations to remain in their own column.


The Spacing option allows you to take advantage of the vertical space in the chart. If all the fact fields are not used for an individual, the records can be moved closer together vertically to save space.


There are four vertical spacing options available to you. Perfect gives you nice, even spacing between rows of people in your chart, while Collapsed brings everyone closer together. Squished removes all of the extra white spaces between records. Custom utilizes the Advanced Poster settings you created.

You can click and drag individual boxes to create a custom layout of people in your chart. Please note that any changes made in this fashion will reset if you modify any of the chart options. Clicking and dragging boxes should be a final step in the creation and customization of your chart.

Align Nodes


The Align Nodes option allows you to specify where the line connects to a node in the chart. Each record is considered a node. The root is connected to two parent nodes, and so on. The top of the node is the line below the name. There are several options to choose from: Top is the traditional connection between nodes, Center connects each node with a curved line, Bezier connect each node with a curved line, and Straight connects each node with a straight line.



You can customize the number of generations of Ancestors or Descendants that appear in your chart. The more generations you choose, the larger your chart will become. Please note you will not be able to export or print any chart larger than 200 inches.


You can add a background picture to your chart by clicking the drop down arrow directly to the right of Background .


Family Tree Maker comes pre-loaded with some lovely images for you to utilize in your chart. To check out these backgrounds, select Browse For an Image from the drop down menu. This option will also allow you to look elsewhere on your computer for other image files you may wish to use as a background for your chart. If you have a media item already attached to your family tree that you would prefer to use as a background image, choose Select a Media Item . You can also change the Transparency so the image appears more or less vibrant, and set the alignment to either Center the image to the middle of your chart, Stretch to the dimensions of your chart, which may cause the image to distort, Zoom to fill the entire background without distortion, or repeat in a Tile formation. If you would rather have a solid background color rather than an image, you can do so by clicking the Box and Line Styles button Image directly under Chart Options and select a chart background color.


You can include photos in your chart as well. The same picture you see for each person in the People workspace is the picture that will appear in the Pedigree Chart. For more information on how to assign a portrait to an individual, please click here.


There are two ways to display photos: Thumbnails , which are a low quality and smaller version, and Photos that are the full-quality image resized to fit. You can set the picture alignment to the Center of boxes, the Top of boxes. Additionally, you can change the size of these pictures by changing how many inches wide the picture will be within the person’s box. If you wish to show a generic gender silhouette for people that don’t have pictures assigned to them, check the Use silhouettes box.

Relationship Chart Option


The Relationship from field specifies the person from whom to calculate the relationship. To select a different person, click the Find Person icon Image and select the person you want. The Relationship to field specifies the person to whom the relationship is calculated.

Note: This is only applicable in Relationship Charts.

Descendant Chart Option


You can create a Direct Descendant chart that displays the direct line between the primary person and a selected descendant. To create a direct descendant chart, select a descendant from the Descendants drop-down menu. To return to the traditional descendant chart, select All Descendants from the drop-down menu.

Note: this is only applicable in Descendant Charts.

Chart Options Checkboxes

Center tree on page

Centers the chart vertically within the poster. When Center tree on page is not selected, the chart begins in the top-left corner of the poster.

Include empty branches

Allows you to include blank branches of your tree in which you have not entered any information. This may be useful if you want to see what info you are missing, or if you want a paper copy to fill out missing information away from your computer.

Show generation labels

Includes a box at the top of the chart with the name of the generation, i.e. Parents, Grandparents, etc. and can be useful if you have a large chart and may not be able to immediately tell the relationship to the root person.

Include siblings of primary individual

Brothers and sisters to the person selected in the report will be displayed. Siblings will show on the same level as the primary person.

Include spouses of primary individual

Displays husband or wife of the person selected in the report.

Boxes overlap page breaks

This option is useful if you plan to get your chart printed on large poster paper. It manages the spacing between individuals as though it were printed on a single sheet. If you are planning to print the chart on standard-sized paper, you may wish to un-check this option so the boxes don’t split between pages.

Generate Chart

This option refreshes the report according to the settings selected. The Blue Reset Icon Image resets the marking, removed person, and box locations. It does not reset layout settings such as spacing or background. To reset those settings, click Use Save Settings and select Default Template .


Person locator


For ease of navigation within your chart, you may wish to utilize the person locator. Clicking the Select Root Person button Image takes you directly to the person you selected prior to generating the chart. You can also select from a list of all people in the chart from the drop down list just to the right of this button. If an individual is in multiple places in your chart, this will be indicated in the next box which shows the number of instances for the person selected. The instance with the closest relation to the root person is signified by an asterisk next to the instance number.

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