Posted by Ancestry Team on June 28, 2010 in Family Tree Maker

Have you forgotten how to assign a portrait to an individual? Or have you attached a photo to the wrong person and can’t remember how to unlink them? In part 2 of “How Do I Do That?” I’ll give some quick tips to help with your media items.

Assigning a Portrait to an Individual

You can choose which photo or image will appear for an individual in the People workspace and in charts and reports.

  1. Go to the People workspace. Make sure the individual you want to assign a portrait to is the focus of the Family tab or Person tab.
  2. In the editing panel, right-click the silhouette image. If the photo you want is already in your tree, click Link to Existing Picture; if you need to add the image, click Add New Picture.
  3. Do one of these options:
  • If you are linking to an item, click the item and then click OK.
  • If you are adding a new item, use the Look in drop-down list to find the folder where the image is located. Click on the image you want and then click Open.

Creating a Media Category

  1. Go to the Media workspace.
  2. In the right-hand panel, click the Edit button.
  3. In the Categories window that opens, click Add.
  4. Enter a name for the new category and click OK.
  5. Click OK again to close the Categories window.

Renaming a Media Item’s File Name

When you click on a media item, the right-hand panel displays the caption, date, and description you’ve entered for an item. Beneath that, you’ll see the image’s file name and its location on your hard drive.

If the file name isn’t descriptive or you want to change it, right-click the item in the Media workspace and click Rename Media File. Enter a new file name and click OK. The file name is changed not only in Family Tree Maker but on your computer hard drive as well.

Unlinking a Media Item from an Individual

You can unlink a media item in a couple different ways.

  • On the People workspace, access an individual’s Person tab. Then click the Media tab at the bottom of the window. Click the media item you want to detach from an individual and click the broken link icon in the media toolbar. Click Yes to unlink the item.
  • On the Media workspace, click the media item you want and then click the Detail tab. On the Links tab at the bottom of the window you’ll see all the individuals the media item is linked to. Click the name of the individual and then click the broken link icon in the media toolbar. Click Yes to unlink the item.


  1. Laurice Johnson

    Thank you for this information. NOW, in the ANCESTY trees, how do I change the primary photo displayed at the top of the person page? I have several photos attached to (for example) my grandmother and currently her baby photo is the one displayed. I would like to change it to another later photo of her. How do I do that? – in simple steps please for the tech-challenged person that I am.

  2. daztrue

    Renaming media files is fine, but you make no mention of relocating them – or even an option to set a default location to avoid use of the currently created Media sub-directories.

    Currently, would relocation work by entering the new full path in the filename field?

  3. James

    When I have a file to import and want it in a “non-standard” media folder I select “Link to this file where it is (without copying it)” during the “Add New Media” operation.

    If you move or rename a file, selecting the file will give an error and program asks you if you want to manually look for the image or let the program search for the image. I use the “Manual” search option and locate the file myself.


  4. Sonya

    #1 – Laurice Johnson

    This is my attempt at explaining how to do it, I apologise in advance if I’m not entirely clear.

    Go to your grandmother’s page. The baby photo should be up the top as you mentioned.

    The other photos you have uploaded for her should be in a line underneath a title: Media Gallery.
    Left click once on the image you would like to change the primary picture to be.
    A new page will load with the image on the left-hand side. The right-hand side there should be a box, with a green heading, titled ‘Tools’

    In the ‘Tools’ box should be an option saying ‘Use As Primary Photo’ – left click once on that link.
    A green bar will appear at the top of your page saying ‘This will be the primary photo for Janet Morton’

    You are now set.

    Click on the link up the top saying ‘Return to *grandmother’s name’
    The primary photo you wanted should now be displayed at the top of your grandmother’s page.

    I hope that helps, but let me know if I didn’t explain properly, etc.


  5. Debbie

    I recently had a computer crash. Thankfully I have a copy of all my Family files and media. I can’t put my folder with all my Media in the same location with my new operating system. I don’t want to use the “Manual” search option for all my media, as I have over 2200 media idems.
    Is there a search or manual option for all media?

  6. Some of the photos I used as individual portraits (in lieu of the icon) show white borders. What is the proper aspect size for these photos? What are the ideal horizontal and vertical dimensions in pixels? I cannot find this in the manual nor online.

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