What family historian doesn’t want to brag a little about their latest find or show off their tree? And one of the easiest ways to showcase your family is with charts. Family Tree Maker lets you easily create a variety of standard ancestor and descendant charts, but with a little effort (and practice) you can make charts that add some color and personality to your history. You can change colors and box styles by gender, generations, ancestral lines, and more.
1. Access the chart you want to format (on the Detail tab of the Publish workspace). In this example I’ll be working with the 180 Fan Chart.
2. Before you change the formatting, you need to select a group of individuals to work with. Right-click an individual’s name in the chart. A drop-down list lets you choose whom to include (e.g., ancestors, descendants, individuals of the same generation).
Because I want my grandfather’s family to be the same color, I’ll click his name and choose “Select Person and All Ancestors.” The individuals who are selected currently are highlighted in blue.
Note: You can also select individuals by pressing the CTRL key and clicking on each person you want to include in the group. For me, this is an efficient way to create a group, and I always know exactly who is being excluded and included.
3. After you’ve selected all the individuals you want for a group, right-click again and choose Mark Selected>Marking 1. This indicates to Family Tree Maker that this group will use a specific formatting. You can now change the borders, colors, and lines for this group of individuals.
4. In the chart editing toolbar, click the Box and line styles button.
5. In Boxes, choose “Marked Boxes 1” from the drop-down list. Now, make any changes you’d like to the box and border styles and click OK.
Using these basic steps, you can create multiple groups and change the formatting for each of them. If you create additional groups, make sure you designate the second group as “Marking 2” and the third group as “Marking 3.” If you choose “Marking 1” for each group, they will all have the same formatting.
Because each Family Tree Maker chart is a little different and you can use a wide variety of formatting options, I recommend spending some time playing around with the software using the basic guidelines I’ve explained here. It may take a little practice before you get the results you expect.
Here’s an example of my 180 Fan chart, which uses a different color for each family line.