Hello all…I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that your year is off to a great start! Although you haven’t heard from me in a few weeks, the AncestryPress team has been busy putting the finishing touches on some of the items on your wish list. We launched several new features this morning that I think you’ll be very excited about. Some of them will make it easier for you to create a family history book, while others will improve the appearance of the final product. In addition, we’re now offering family tree posters that display NINE generations. (If you don’t have quite that much data, don’t worry — we plan to make 7- and 8-generation posters available by the end of the month.)
To start with, we’ve delivered the two book building features users have requested the most: print preview and automatic page numbering. The print preview function is pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll let you check that out on your own.
Page numbering: The page numbering is easy too, but I’ll walk you through it just for fun. Click the “Pages” icon in the top navigation and select “Page Numbers” from the drop-down menu. You’ll see a pop-up box like the one in the example below. Check the box labeled “Show Page Numbers,” set the page number position and then click “Apply” to see how the number appears on the page. If you like how it looks, hit “OK.”
Grid: When I started using AncestryPress, I liked the freestyle format of the application, but I sometimes found it difficult to align elements on a page. I also worried about putting text and images too close to the edge of the page because I wasn’t sure how much space I was supposed to leave for the binding. Our new grid feature gets rid of all that guesswork. Just click “Show Grid” in the top navigation and you’ll see gridlines across the whole page, rulers on the top and one side and a red line on the other side that gives you a boundary for the “gutter.” In the example below, you can see the gridlines as well as a couple of new content types we’ve just added: flags and maps.
Highlighters: You can also see that we’ve changed the directory structure for the content wells on the left side of the application. Embellishments are now part of the “Other Content” section, which is organized into folders so that you can easily find specific types of content. One of the content folders contains highlighters that you can use to highlight your family members’ names in census records, passenger lists, etc. Just pick the color you want, drag the highlighter onto the page and position it over the name(s) you want to highlight. You can expand and crop the highlighter to make it as wide, narrow, tall or short as you wish.
Text rotation: You can now rotate a text box the same way you rotate an image — by grabbing the circular arrow icon on the top left corner of the box or image.
Drop shadow: Finally, we’ve added a drop shadow feature that lets you create the illusion of depth. It’s a subtle effect that you can use in lieu of a putting a border or frame around an image — or in addition to a border or frame. Just highlight the image and then click the drop shadow icon on the image editing toolbar (fifth from right…next to the flip icon).
We’ll be releasing additional new features — as well as new templates, backgrounds and embellishments — on a regular basis throughout the year, so please check back often.
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NOTE: AncestryPress is now MyCanvas
In October 2008, AncestryPress was relaunched under the name MyCanvas. It is still a free, online software program provided by Ancestry.com. For current information about products and features, please see my more recent blog posts.