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Using Color Coding in FTM 2017 for Windows

How do I use the Color Coding feature in Family Tree Maker 2017 for Windows?

When working on your tree, it can be difficult to trace family lines through the generations without creating a relationship report. To help you see lineages at a glance, FTM 2017 allows you to use color coding to mark the direct-line ancestors and descendants of any given person. The coloring scheme is based on the classic four-color system created by Mary E. V. Hill, but has been further extended to give you more coloring options.

For example, you can highlight a selected person’s descendants with one color and his or her ancestors with another. Or you could use a four-color system to apply different colors to a person's four different lineages: the paternal father's line, the paternal mother's line, the maternal father's line, and the maternal mother's line.

You can also mark any individual with a color. This can be useful to highlight a person for whom additional research is needed, or for a person whose information you consider to be complete.

You can clear all color coding from the tree any time you wish.

The article discusses the following topics:


To apply color coding to a person in your tree:

1. Go to the Tree tab on the People workspace.

2. Select the person you want to highlight or whose ancestors and descendants you want to highlight.

3. Click the Color Coding button above the editing panel.

4. Click a color or a color group for the type of individuals to whom you want to apply color coding: Current Person, All Ancestors (1 color), All Ancestors (4 colors), or All Descendants.

Colored bars now appear on the thumbnails for all of the selected individuals in the tree viewer. Colored dots are also shown next to the corresponding names in the Index. If you have applied color coding for several selected individuals in your tree, there may be some people who belong to more than one family line — in this case all the corresponding colors will be displayed on those individuals’ thumbnails. To find out why a person is marked with a particular color, hold the mouse pointer over the colored bar on his or her thumbnail. A tooltip will appear with the explanation.

Note: It may happen that a particular color is applied to a person more than once, because the person belongs to two or more lineages that have been marked using the same color. In such cases, a single-colored bar will appear, but you will see explanations of all lineages in the tooltip. If the same color is assigned to a person more than three times, only the three most recent uses of the color will be explained in the tag.


To remove color coding for an individual or individual’s lineage:

1. On the Tree tab of the People workspace, select a person to whom color coding has been applied (the tooltip will show this person as the “Root Person”).

2. Click the Color Coding button above the editing panel.

3. Click the No Color button for the color coding that you want to remove.


To remove all color coding from your tree:

1. Go to the Tree tab on the People workspace.

2. Click the Color Coding button above the editing panel.

3. Click Clear All Colors.

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