Posted by on 20 June 2010 in Family Tree Maker


Sometimes it’s the easiest tasks that stump usor is that just me? Whether it’s renaming one of my trees or checking for software updates, I have the tendency to forget how to do some simple procedures unless I do them on a regular basis. Here are some of my “how do I do that?” tasks. Hopefully some of them will sound familiar to you.

Renaming a Tree

  1. Go to the Plan Workspace.
  2. In the Trees section highlight the tree you want to change. Then click Options and choose Rename Tree from the drop-down list.
  3. Enter a new name for the tree and click OK.

Setting a New Home Person

  • On the People workspace, highlight the individual’s name in the Index or pedigree view. Right-click and choose “Set as Home Person” from the drop-down list.
  • On the Plan workspace, go to the Current Tree tab. Hover the mouse over the words “Home Person” until a button appears. Click the button. In the window that appears, choose the individual you want and click OK.

Checking for Software Updates

Did you know that Family Tree Maker periodically provides free updates to the software to fix issues and improve the product based on customer feedback? You can keep your software current by checking for updates. To do this, go to the Help menu and choose “Check for Update.” A message will tell you if there’s a current update waiting to be downloaded.

Formatting Names Consistently

If you import another person’s genealogy file into your tree, you may find that each file has recorded names differently; for example, your surnames may be in all capitals. You can use the Convert Names tool to format all the names in your tree consistently.

  1. Click Tools>Convert Names.
  2. To capitalise the first letter in each name, click First Middle Surname; to capitalise the first letter of the first and middle names and capitalize the entire surname, click First Middle SURNAME.
  3. Click OK.

Displaying Children by Birth Order

By default, Family Tree Maker displays children in the order you entered them. To display the children in their correct birth order, go to the Family tab on the People workspace. In the family view, click the sort button above the children’s names. (The icon is two twisting arrows.)

Working Offline

Most of the time you’ll want to have Family Tree Maker connected to the Internet so you can view the maps on the Places workspace, receive hints from, and perform Web searches. However, if you’re experiencing performance issues or know you won’t be using Internet-specific features for a period of time, you might want to turn off Internet access in Family Tree Maker.

To disconnect Family Tree Maker from the Internet, click File>Go Offline; to reconnect Family Tree Maker to the Internet, click File>Go Online.

Now it’s your turn. Are you stumped by source templates? Can’t ever find the media item you need? Please share your “how do I do that?” moments with everyone. And check back in two weeks to see part 2 where I focus on media items.

1 Comment



Sorry I missed the chance to place a comment about your article on New Search in May – you only got one comment!

In Ancestry UK under the old search you could look for a mis-spelt surname record by entering the forename, date and first word of placename. Good results.

Sadly the new search does not allow for one word place-names, is this a formatting problem.

It certainly makes it harder to find and correct missing/errors.

Kindly advise.

20 June 2010 at 4:25 pm