Posted by Tana L. Pedersen on October 18, 2010 in Family Tree Maker

One of my favorite enhancements in Family Tree Maker 2011 is the ability to add photos and embellishments to charts—anywhere I want. It’s a simple thing, but the result is beautiful family trees I can’t wait to share. You can use your own backgrounds, borders, and embellishments (basically any image file on your computer) or take advantage of the of design elements included in Family Tree Maker 2011.

When I created a pedigree chart for my grandmother (shown below), I only wanted to include a photo of her. In previous versions of Family Tree Maker, if I wanted my grandmother’s photo to appear in the chart, I would have had to display portraits for everyone in the tree. With 2011, I can insert only her portrait and drag it anywhere on the chart. I also used flourishes (included in Family Tree Maker) to decorate the chart’s title.

In this next example, I have created a portrait tree. I started with standard pedigree tree and deleted all the included facts so I that the tree would display only pedigree lines. I then added a tree image for the background and added portraits for three generations of my ancestors.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of the decorative family trees I’ve made (there are only so many my family will allow on the walls), but I sure have had a good time creating them. For any of you who have been wanting to creating a family poster or just want an attractive way to display your family tree in your home, I think you’ll enjoy this new enhancement.


  1. dklart


    What’s the word on FTM for Mac? Is there a release date yet? Pre-order? Package deal? Inquiring Mac minds want to know.

  2. Sheri

    Please have mercy on those of us who have no alternative to being stuck in dial-up connection hell. Minimize the images you display in your blog so that we can get them to download. There is no reason to use 300 dpi resolution when posting on the web. After multiple tries, I gave up trying to see the pedigree chart for your grandmother. The next image downloaded but it took a very long time.

  3. Lesley Scanlom

    Love your chart
    If only I could make one as well
    Please tell how to add members of the family and where are the enhancements,

  4. Pam Decatur

    Thank you. You inspired me to spend several enjoyable hours playing with design rather than usual fun puzzle of finding facts to fit people. It was a surprisingly delightful change! And of course rather than print them, I exported as pdf’s to relatives thru your share button.

  5. Richard L Morgan

    Graphics are great since I made a very good living at it for some 50 years. I am much more interested in the functionality of the software, that serves a purpose in a practial efficient application. I have spent some 300 hours using 2011 and using Customer Service Rep Dustin to vent my displeasure of token elementary features. As for versions ’08, ’09, and ’10, I wouldn’t clutter my garbage.

    It is my impression that a committee was selected to reinvent an outstanding product, not to embelish with fragmented brain storming disasters, one after the other. “Ginger Bread” when used to fool the customer, is non-productive and disastrous when used in a business climate.

    I have all versions since number 4, and only can recommed version 16 – 2006, though most of the previous are usable valued products. I have produced “Trees” of over 1200 pages complete with Index, that fit in two 4 inch binders.

    I have before me a 2011 output of 87 page, indexless, factless (unless items are placed under NOTES), that I am ashamed to show my wife of 47 years. This is her early brithday present to me, which happens to be today.

    P.S. I do have a webpage.

  6. Jerry H

    Improved graphics is great…but at the level that I work at, buying FTM 2011 was a waste of money. As many others have commented, FTM 2011 is slow, slow, slow, and crashes frquently. This newest version also removed one of my favorite functions – “cut and paste” – which I used constantly to repeat fact notes for various family members. I’m uninstalling 2011 and returning to 2010. Enough of the “bells and whistles” approach to marketing “new and improved” versions. The next FTM version that I buy – if I don’t switch software programs altogether – will be the one that allows for synchonicity between Ancestry and FTM trees and that adds back in the basic tools that seem to get lost with each new version. What a continued disappointment.

  7. Tana L. Pedersen

    # 5
    Sharon, for those you interested in seeing a more extensive list of the enhancements in 2011, a PDF is available for viewing or downloading at

    # 6
    Sherri, thanks for your comment on the image sizes. I usually get comments about them being too small so I will try to come up with a good compromise.

    # 8
    Pam, I’m so glad you enjoyed creating new charts. It can be quite a fun diversion. And also a way to realize how much you really do know about your family.

    # 9 and # 10
    I am sorry that both of you are disappointed in the new product and can understand your frustration. I hope that you’ll both continue to send in your feedback so we can create a product that works for you.

  8. Kathy

    All I would like to know is when are we going to be able to access the hints that Ancestry tells us are there when it communicates with our FTM software? This feature (which is why I use FTM) has not been working for about 10 days now and the only answer I get from tech supports is “we are aware of the problem”. No one will give me a date that this issue will be resolved. This is the only manner in which I use and if the function is not going to be working I may as well cancel my subsrciption to

  9. James

    #12 Kathy –

    I’ve experienced the same problems for a couple of weeks. The only way to merge records and images is to continually refresh the web page until the link appears in FTM’s “Search result detail” pane. Sometimes it takes 30 – 40 refreshes before things will work. Then the process works for the session.


  10. Renee

    Could you tell me if in v.2011 it has the same book features as v.16.
    Also can you upload pdf files into the scrapbook or the book. I hate that the scrapbook wants one file and it won’t take a pdf with several pages of a document.

  11. Kathy

    #13 James Thank you for responding to my problem, you are the only one who has made any attempt to help. I have tried your suggestion, refreshing 40 times but it doesn’t work for me.

  12. James

    #15 Kathy,

    Make sure you select the link to the record, then refresh. Sometimes it take a LOT of refreshes to finally see the record in FTM. I’m linking today but this issue is very frustrating and significantly slows down record merging.

    I’ve found that sometimes the record link is also not working, I’ll restart the program and hopefully the links then work then many refreshes to get the link to merge.


  13. I’m curious,

    Has anyone thought of just using FTM off-line, doing the searches directly on the Ancestry site, downloading whatever images you need, create the source and then add the image to FTM?

    Seems that until they get this fixed is would be quicker and much less frustrating than trying to use the web merge.

  14. Kathy

    #16 James I tried clicking on the link and then refreshing 50 times and still no luck. Have spent the last two weeks cleaning up my tree with duplicate individuals and working on my media file to be sure everything is hooked to the right person, but would really like to get on with my research so this is very frustrating!

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