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Export and Import of GEDCOM Files in Family Tree Maker

Export and Import of GEDCOM Files in Family Tree Maker 

GEDCOM stands for GEnealogical Data COMmunications; it allows genealogy files to be opened in any genealogy software program on a Mac or PC. This format allows different family tree software applications to understand and open the same family tree file, bypassing the differences in coding that would normally prevent sharing. If your great-aunt doesn't use the same software you do, for example, you’ll need to share your family history with her in GEDCOM format. 

This article addresses the following:


Exporting a GEDCOM file

How do I export a file in GEDCOM format in Family Tree Maker? 

1. Choose Export from the File menu. The Export window opens.

Note: When you open the Export window for the first time, you will see a message about password protection of your exported files. Select the Do not show this message again checkbox if you want to skip the message in future. Click Continue to proceed. 

2. Select one of these options: 

• If you want to export the entire tree, click Entire file

• If you want to choose specific individuals to include in the file, click Selected individuals. The Filter Individuals window will open. Click a name and then click Include to add the person. When you’re finished choosing individuals, click OK

3. Choose a GEDCOM option from the Output format drop-down list. 

4. Choose the information you want to include in the exported file: 

• Privatize living people. Select this checkbox to exclude information about living individuals. Surnames and relationships will be exported, but first and middle names, facts, and shared facts will not. 

Include private facts. Select this checkbox to export facts marked as private. 

Include private notes. Select this checkbox to export notes marked as private. 

•  Include Media files. Select this checkbox to export links to media files in your tree. Select the Private media checkbox if you also want to include links to media items that are marked as private.

Include only items linked to selected individuals. Select this checkbox to export only facts, notes, and links to media items that are connected to the individuals you’re exporting.  

5. If you want to protect your exported tree with a password, select the Export as password protected ZIP file checkbox, and then enter and confirm the password you want to use. You, or anyone you give the file to, will have to enter exactly the same password when unpacking the exported ZIP file containing your tree. 

Tip: For a password to be secure, it should generally be at least eight characters long and contain digits as well as letters.

6. Click OK

7. In the Export to GEDCOM dialog that appears, change the Destination and Character set settings if needed, and then click OK.

8. In the new window that opens, enter a name for your GEDCOM file,  choose the location where you want to save it, and click Save

9. A message tells you when your file has been exported successfully. Click OK


Transferring media

If your GEDCOM file is going to be opened in another program or on another computer, you can transfer any linked media (images, audio files, videos, and other similar items) along with the file by following the steps below. Note that you should do this before you create the GEDCOM file.

1. Open your tree in Family Tree Maker and go to the Collection tab in the Media workspace. Make a note of the number of items it contains (indicated at the bottom of the tab, under the thumbnails).

2. Open the tree's Media folder. By default, it's named <Tree Name> Media and is located in the same place as the main Family Tree Maker folder (Users/Username/Documents/Software MacKiev/Family Tree Maker). 

3. Make sure all your media for the tree are gathered in the Media folder. To check this, compare the number of items in the Media folder with the number in the Media workspace in Family Tree Maker. If the numbers are the same, you have finished and can create your GEDCOM file. If they are different, follow steps 4–6 below.   

4. Copy all the items on the Collection tab in the Media workspace (choose Edit > Select All, and then Edit > Copy) and paste them into the Media folder to replace the existing items (choose Edit > Select All, and then Edit > Paste). 

5. Delete all the media from the Media workspace. Please don't worry — there is no risk of losing your media, since all the items are now saved in the Media folder.

6. Copy all the media in the Media folder and paste it back into the Media workspace in Family Tree Maker. The links to the media files should now be correct, and you can include them when exporting your GEDCOM file. 

Important: If your GEDCOM file is going to be opened on another computer, make sure you transfer the Media folder together with the file (copy the media folder to the same flash drive as the GEDCOM file, for example).


Importing a GEDCOM file

To import a GEDCOM file into Family Tree Maker, follow these steps:

1. Choose Import as New Tree from the File menu.  

2. In the Choose File to Import window, go to the location of your GEDCOM file, select it, and then click Open.

3. In the New tree name field, enter a name for the tree and click Continue

4. A new dialog will show you the progress of the import process. When it is complete, the results of the import are displayed. Click Close to finish the import of your tree. 

Your media will also be successfully transferred if a folder with all the media files is present on your computer and the GEDCOM file was created with all the correct media links included. The correct way of including media with a GEDCOM exported from Family Tree Maker is described above.

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