Posted by Ancestry Team on February 22, 2008 in Website

I have great news for all the people who have been asking, “When I edit information in my online tree, why aren’t the changes reflected in my AncestryPress book?” This week we launched an update feature that lets you synchronize the data in your book with the data in your Ancestry online tree.

Please note that this feature only works for pages that have been created since February 21.

Here’s how it works:

1. To update an entire page, click the Update icon in the top navigation.

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You’ll see a dialogue box that asks if you want to continue or cancel. If you hit the Continue button, AncestryPress will automatically regenerate the entire page using the new data in your tree.

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This option may work well if you’ve made a lot of changes to your tree. However, you will lose any edits you’ve made to text or photos that were pulled from your online tree. You will not lose photos, embellishments, text or backgrounds that you added after the page was originally created.

2. To update a single element — such as a specific person in your family tree — highlight the element and then click the Update icon in the text editing toolbar. It’s the third icon from the right.

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Again, you’ll see a dialogue box that asks whether you want to continue. If you click the Continue button, AncestryPress will update the information for that person. The advantage of this method is that it doesn’t mess up any changes you’ve made to the images on the page. You will still lose any text edits you’ve made to that particular element (such as changing font type, size or color).

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3. To update multiple items on a page without resynching the entire page, hold down the Control key and then select the items you want to update. You can also select multiple items by holding down your left mouse key and then dragging the cursor across the page. You’ll see a set of black lines forming a rectangle. Any elements that are inside the rectangle when you release the left mouse key will automatically be highlighted.

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Once you’ve highlighted all the items you want to update, just click the Update icon in the texts editing toolbar and then click the Continue button.

If you’ve made extensive changes to your tree, it may be easier to regenerate your whole book as a new project instead of updating your book page by page. Of course, if you start a new project you’ll lose your edits and design elements, so you’ll need to consider how much time it would take to replicate your previous work.

Please note that it is not possible to synchronize your data in the other direction. That is, if you edit the data in your book, those changes will not be reflected in your online tree.

One last caveat: If you’ve used data from more than one tree in your book, keep in mind that a particular page will update based on the tree you originally used to create the page. The update feature assumes you’re using the same tree as before — it doesn’t give you the option of selecting a different one. If you want to update a chart to include data from a different tree, you’ll need to redo the chart as a new page.

However, if you created a page using a particular tree and then you dragged a birth or marriage event from a different tree onto the same page, that event will update based on its own tree. The update feature knows which tree each element is associated with and will synchronize the data accordingly.

I hope you enjoy using this new feature. As always, try it out and let me know what you think!

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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 For current information about products and features, please see my more recent blog posts.


  1. ForThe5Kids

    It is good that you can update the press documents.
    When adding a source I want to be add it to multiple people, ex. when two people are married, or for an obit, etc. That would be incredibly helpful. We can do it for the stories, we just need to be able to do it now for the sources.
    Thank you!

  2. Joan Hanlon

    THANK YOU! Everytime I started making a book I would find something I needed to correct or add to. This will really help me.

  3. Nancy Murphy

    When I scan old pictures for my book and download I can’t make them bigger. I want some of them to be page size so they can be indentified. how can I make them larger? Please help. Thanks

  4. I am the great, great great grandson of Jack Marshall Keith. I am looking for any relatives that may still be living that are part of this family. He had two daughters and several sons. My Great Great Grandfather George Mark Woodward/Keith was one of his sons. He had two daughters, Aggie Gregory Evans and Margaret Gregory Fain. If you are related to the Evans or Gregory’s of Dandridge, Tennessee please email me at this email address. Oh, we are looking for these relatives as we plan to have a family reunion of the Woodward/keith family and would like to join up with our heritage. My email address is Thanks, hope someone of this family from DAndridge, Tn will email me back. Thanks for this opportunity.

  5. Jackie

    It would really be nice if when you have a page out of order you didn’t have to drag and drop…it is really frustrating. I have had to drag form the last page…not sure how page got back there…all the way to the front, about halfway it would jump back to the end if I didn’t have it exactly in the right spot.
    Could you maybe have a command that was sort of like ” move to”
    Thank You

  6. John Francis

    This is all very helpful and thanks. I have a question about timeline information – apologies if this isn’t where I should ask this –

    Why is it that not all the events in a persons timeline show up when creating a book? How is it possible to add more life events for an individual from my tree?


  7. Rosemary Alford

    I used the family book option in ancestry press. One the the people’s timelines has missed out many events from the chronology of facts and records about them in their profile. Can I make it include them all?
    Many thanks

  8. Michel Bryson

    “If you’ve made extensive changes to your tree, it may be easier to regenerate your whole book as a new project instead of updating your book page by page.”

    How do we regenerate? I don’t see that as an option in my book.

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