Posted by Ancestry Team on February 9, 2009 in Family Tree Maker

One of the comments I hear most is concerned with book-building: Where did it go? And will it ever come back? Thankfully, the people at Family Tree Maker have been listening. With this 2009 software update, you can once again create your own family history book from the convenience of your computer desktop. 

Getting started is easy because you can use the facts, photos, charts, and reports you’ve already gathered in your file. Include some personal stories and anecdotes, add an automated table of contents and index of individuals, and you’re on your way to creating a book that your family will turn to for generations. When you’ve got your book just the way you want it, you can share it electronically over e-mail or take it to a copy shop to be printed and bound. 

Months ago I started working on a biography about my grandmother in another desktop publishing program. I was worried that I’d have to duplicate the work I’d already done. Luckily the book-building feature includes an option that lets you import an entire text document—with formatting—into a book. Now I can continue adding photos, charts, and stories, and I haven’t lost any time.

If you’ve ever been intrigued by the idea of creating your own family history book, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a rewarding experience that will benefit you and generations to come. 

For tips and instructions on how to use the book-building feature, download a PDF here.


  1. Larry Czarnik

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Please put my vote for the next major feature to be “returned” as the web site access. Please ensure that access / modify / update of the old web site is part of the “new” feature.

    Keep up the good work. You are getting closer to having Family Tree Maker we all know and love underpinned by the new technology that will make it the genealogical software of choice for the future.

    2009FB10 09:25

  2. Lorna LaVerne

    I’m glad to have this update, especially since the lack of book-building was the reason I passed on the 2008 version. I’m also glad to see a spelling checker added to this version. However, I’ve come across a few issues as I’ve started trying to work with my existing family book from FTM 2006.

    First, although your PDF on this update was helpful, it wasn’t clear on how to access my old book. I followed the instructions in the section on “Accessing a Saved Book,” but there were no books listed when I clicked Saved Books. The section on Importing Text from Another Document didn’t seem to apply to existing books, but it did give me the idea to try the Import Books function from the File Menu, which worked. You might want to add something to the documentation in “Importing Books from Other Versions of Family Tree Maker.”

    In addition, the “list of known issues” mentions that images don’t transfer to the new format and that placeholders wouls show that information had been left out. Although this was true of one of the genealogy reports, there were no placeholders showing where images had not been transferred–and I had a lot of them! In fact, not a single one of my images had been transferred, but there were no placeholders– some blank spaces. So I’ll have to import them all over again.

    But the biggest issue for me now–and it’s an even bigger one than the lack of bookbuilding itself–is the fact that there appears to be no way to wrap text around the images!! I couldn’t believe it! Right-clicking on an image only gives me the option to justify or center the image, not to wrap the text around it. I didn’t see a way to add captions, and I couldn’t drag images around on the page to additional locations. One of the reasons I used FTM 2006 for doing my book was the ease of working with photos and adding captions. Did I miss something? Is there a fix in the works for this? If not, then I still can’t use the bookbuilding feature.

  3. David

    I finally bought 2009 because of the book feature. Now I am trying to move my 2006 file over. It seems to be erroring a lot. I then when to the import book feature. It imported it, but all the images are missing from the text pages of my book. Is there something I need to do?

  4. Karen

    I am glad the book building feature is back.

    Now on my wish list is a feature update, one that will automatically index names from text reports added to the book.

  5. David

    I finally got my 2006 file over, by turning it into a 2005 version. The only problem is that I have lost all my source images – the censuses, etc. I got from ancestry. My images moved over, but have to place them back into the book

  6. Ronald Phelps

    This is interesting. I’m glad to see an attempt to put desktop publishing back into FTM2009. I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve read the comments and hope it is updated to better move iimages from FTM2006 as that is what I’m using. I’m looking forward to the improvements. Thanks for listening to your customers. If this wasn’t done I was considering other programs.

  7. Tana L. Pedersen

    I hope I can help you resolve a few of your issues.

    #2, #3, #5
    Lorna and David, if you had images in text pages in an old book that you’re importing, the images will not transfer over into your new Family Tree Maker 2009 book. Nor will you see any place holders. Unfortunately this is one of the side effects of switching between the new and old formats. You will need to add your images again manually.

    Lorna, thank you for your suggestion on adding information an importing an old book. That was an oversight on my part. I appreciate the feedback.

    As for your comment about text wrapping, you are correct. Currently you cannot wrap text around images. This is a feature that is being considered for future releases.

  8. Howard Briscoe

    Thank you. I have needed to get all my information published and Have not been able to. Maybe there is help. Thanks again

  9. Is there a maximum number of individuals that can be loaded into FTM v10?

    I’m glad to hear that book building is returning to FTM. I’m sure I missed other new FTM features over the years but I stayed with v10 because of all the book material I has already loaded. I just did not wish to take a chance on losing something in the process of upgrading to a new version.

  10. Mary Beth Marchant

    In other words, book building with FTM 2009 is still a farce. I have many books in my FTM 2005 edition. I do not want to add these images again. Another problem, most of my files in my current program will not transfer to the new FTM 2009. I keep getting errors. I got the new disc and installed it but I don’t intend to use it. It’s really a big mess and has way too much junk in it. The other programs were much cleaner and easier to use. I really cannot understand why the programmers completely abandoned the other programs in favor of this piece of junk.

  11. Neil

    Good job…A uselful feature for book publishing but where is the MAP?

    The map feature in FTM2006…it was possible to generate a World map showing the countries of your ancestors etc. If it is still present in FTM 2009, how do I go about using that feature.

    All I seem to see is a Place usuage report.

  12. Michael Seamans

    You really have some nerve actually writing a blog about the new book making abilities in FTM 2009 with the latest update.


    I wasted literally at least two dozen hours trying to either import my old book or create a new one.
    This software, for a lack of a better term, sucks…

    The new update turned by 8MB FTM file into a 175MB bloated mess that runs like molasses on a cold winter day.

    Even after the many hours it took me to port my old one over & readd photographs, now it won’t even create a PDF OR PREVIEW IT because its so bloated.

    You all should be ashamed of yourself for even trying to write such a positive story on such a bad update.

  13. John Donaldson

    #12 Neil

    It doesn’t seem possible to add a map directly into a book. Maybe it will make it in a later version?

    One suggested workaround is to simply screen capture the map (most image editing programs can do this).

    Edit the image (eg crop it) and save it as a JPEG or TIF file etc. and then you can insert it like any other image into FTM book (or media center for that matter).

    Even Windows comes with a picture manager that can do it as well as the free Irfanview, Picassa or things like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro etc.


    If needs must use the PrtScn key and copy the map.

    This can be pasted in to the text item report and used in a book or pasted into the text itself

    John D

  14. John Donaldson

    #10 Don

    A strange question to ask in the middle of a blog topic on FTM 2009 books (a separate post may be better) but the answer depends on some factors (see next para) but around 250,000.

    Note Number of individuals per file is an approximation; the actual number varies. File capacity is determined by several factors, including data entry method, amount and type of information entered for each individual, etc.

    Go to and search for article 1585

    I have found that if your family records survived Noah’s flood and you get back to the lady who ate the fruit, you are pretty well done. You may have a problem with some of the very early sourcing though?

    John D

  15. Faye

    I am glad book building is now on 2009. I bought but was not using because it was not there. So I am using FTM16 — but have a problem & I really need help. I have a book with 430 pages lots of pictures and text pages. When I export to PDF or try to preview the book Addobe Reader 7 & 9 give me this message “Adobe Read could not open ‘FTM preview pdf” because it is either not a asupported file type or because the file has been damaged (for example it was sent as an email attachment and wasn’t correctly code)”
    Help, Help — I am almost read to take the file to printer and I can’t preview it. Three years ago I did another book on version before 16 and I never experienced this problem. That book has a little over 100 pages. I need help please, before I have a breakdown over this mess. Thank you for listening!

  16. Donald l. Eads, MD

    Great to have Book-Building back.
    With the 2006 Program I was able to create a 454 page family history with 30 pages of photos. i am now working onan update.



  17. Neil

    #13 Michael

    I see your point but I am very grateful for the return of a very useful feature. I assume it will only continue to improve with updates.

    #12 John

    Thank you, that is a good suggestion…I will try it. I just thought maybe it could be done from within FTM 2009

    Regards to you both

  18. Hal Anderson

    Why are you limted to the number of pages you can put in a caper bound book? I spent 2 days creating a book, with names and photos. I got page 520 and the thing wouldn’t let me finsh. I needed about 20 more pages to finsh the book, Not a Happy Camper!

  19. Tony Hansen

    Not pulling the images across when importing an old file is plain and simply a bug in my opinion, and reason enough for me to just stay with FTM 16 for now until you fix that bug. I have too many large books with too many images in them to want to spend the several hundreds of hours it’s going to take to compare a version of the book generated with FTM 16 with a version of the book generated with FTM 2009.

    The FTM 2009 image placement without text wrapping does not look good at all. That in itself would be reason enough not to use FTM 2009 yet.

  20. Does anyone know of a sure way to delete a duplicated file and delete the correct file. I have several duplicate files (as evident in my list of all names) and just am not sure which ones to delete. Would appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks. Barb

  21. Ian Mair

    This is probably not the correct topic to post to, but ….

    Does anyone know if you can resize the boxes in the Descendant Chart?

    And if so, how???

    Many thanks in advance

  22. Greg

    After a few abortive attempts to add scanned text pages (jpg) to a book without the massive footers I can see why your programmer quit! It either deleted or overwrites any existing data or – and this is most frustrating – adds a second blank page (maybe somebody could remove the extra LF character?) that cannot be used for ANYTHING. Trying to use this extra page only overwrites the data on the first page.
    Furthermore, each page that is added shows up in the TOC. I don’t need 32 TOC entries to tell me there is ONE document.
    Greg Masoner

  23. Eric Watson

    Initially I was very happy to see the book features return to FTM 2009. I have been trying to produce a test book and once again am wondering if this function was even tested. You cannot change the titles on the media items and make it stick. Now all of a sudden text items will not transfer to the finished book. You can open them in the editor and work with it.

  24. Chuck Maus

    I have been using FTM 16 and I thought it was a decent program, especially the book-building section. I ignored FTM 2008 because you decided you could build a better book than us. FTM 2009 came out with the premise that book-building would be reinstated so I gave it a try.

    When I tried to build a book with your update I was at a loss for words. Who ever wrote that book update needs to go back and read Software 101. The first line states, any update will be more versatile and user friendly.

    Converting a book from FTM 16 to FTM 2009 under this update wouldn’t fall under versatility and I have a hard time convincing myself that it’s user friendly.

    Any programmer worth it’s salt could build a program to covert from what you call your old format to your new format. I think your old format should be your new format. If anyone questions that statement, make a descendant chart in FTM 16 and one in FTM 2009 and compare the procedure you went through and and the display difference and I’ll rest my case.

    I hope you take the criticism your getting on your book update and rebuild it so your customers can make a book they’ll be proud to show.


    P.S. anybody having problems saving their book to a PDF file. On-line, a site called PrimoPDF has a program you can download free. If you have a medium resolution book (300dpi) I found you can only save about 100 pages in one PDF file. You just have to make multible files if your book is larger than 100 pages.

  25. John Donaldson

    #21 Barb

    What FTM version?

    One way is to simply examine the .FTW or .FTM files (depending on version)using Windows Explorer.

    Use the view options to sort by date then examine them from the latest to the earliest, and look at the size as well.

    This should give you a good idea of which files are current.

    To be safe i would move the ones that you think are obsolete into a temporary folder and hang on to them until you are sure that you have made the right selection.

    If you are using FTM 2008/09 it adds a date to the file name when you make a backup

    Of course you can do this manually in earlier versions but it is a nice touch.

    John D

  26. John Donaldson

    Ian # 22

    Similar first comment

    What version are you using?

    In FTM 2008/09 it is in the Box Line and Border Dialog in the RH editing panel when you have your boxed descendant chart on screen. Also look for the neat marked boxes option FTM 2008 SP3 and above

    In FTM 16 and earlier it is Format>Tree Format

    John D

  27. Bonnie

    I have been searching and searching for some answers about buying the 2009 update. I’ve been told that the book building is ONLY available online as part of membership perks. Personally, I haven’t found anything that says that directly. If I was to purchase only the 2009 software, would it include the book building feature. This is the only thing I am interested in because my 2005 version as been serving me well, but would like to have the updated BB version in the 2009 if it is in fact included in the software. Is it?

  28. Elle

    Has anyone been able to genaerate a report [ahnentafel or register] with 9 or 10 generations? thanks

  29. Randall Hughes

    I am disgusted with FTM 2009.
    I can’t do anything like I could with the older versions, especially and including the book feature.
    When I attempt to make a book, I am directed to a site that wants me to pay to have the book made!
    The oder versions allowed me to make the book, print it, include personal photos, calendars, etc., etc., etc..

    Whenever I can find my old disk, I will uninstall 2009 and reinstall an older version!!!

    2009 = SUCKS!

  30. David

    Yes.. so happy the book building is back. I did loose all my censuses that were download over months of membership on ancestry. The sources are there, but the images are gone.

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