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Virginia Blakelock

Tutorial: One-page 4-generation Descendant Chart

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This tutorial uses the Sample project to create a basic 4-generation chart and includes some tips for positioning and editing objects.


Open the Sample project, with John Alexander (10) as the focus person.

- Report / Descendant Box chart

- Add a new report configuration with the name '4-gen Descendant', using the Add button and saying Yes to overwrite the current configuration.

- Focus person: Use the Current Focus Person




Orientation: Left to right

Chart size: 4 generations

Title location: 5, 5

Diagram location: 50, 15

Gap between boxes: 10, 20



Box size, Width 150, minimal height 0

Box Fill: Color - white

Frame: none

Box border, solid line, color black, 1 pixel (start with 1, some printers work better with 2)



Descendant Connections: Standard

Connector lines solid, 1 pixel (try 1, may need 2)



Title: Tahoma 10, R

Names: Tahoma 8, R

Data lines: Tahoma 8 R

Manual entry default: Tahoma 8 R


BACKGROUND: solid - default (white)





Box contents: Lifespan* for all Box types:

- To set box contents: Highlight Box type: Descendants. Click on Box contents 1. Select Lifespan* (third from the top). Select any remaining box content data lines and click (delete) in each case.

- Repeat for Duplicate people, Focus person, Spouses of descendants.



Identifiers: ID Number

Surety: both No threshold and Include blank surety

Text Alignment: Left

Places: none

Names: No caps

Miscellaneous: Remove blank lines

Lifespans - birth year - death year



Bottom left - Prepared date


Create chart.


In the chart, go to the View menu and select the following: Toolbars All on; Page Bounds, Rulers, Grid, Snap to Grid, Angle snap.

(I recommend not selecting 'Ports' until they are needed when connecting boxes or moving lines. They tend to clutter the page, and if you forget and leave them on when you print the chart, it will show the ports.)


--The chart should look like screenshot 1

--The layout seems best suited to landscape orientation, so --

--Go to Tools / Diagram / Diagram measurements and set to inches 11 and 8.5.

--Go to File / Page Setup and set Orientation to Landscape.


The boxes for 3 people - (7), (43), (62) - are taller than the others because some of the names are longer and the text is wrapping. The boxes for everyone could have been made wider in the report definition Options / Boxes, but that makes the entire chart wider, and for just 3 boxes it's easy to change them manually in a couple of steps:

1 - The longest name in those 3 boxes is Joseph MacNaughton Waterman (62). Select that box and drag it to the right so the name/ID are on one line with the Lifespan below.

2 - Shift click to select (7), (43) and lastly Joseph (62) - which we just made wider. Now go to the Toolbar and click the 'Same width' icon - a horizontal double-headed blue arrow in a box. This will make all 3 boxes the same width as the last box we selected - Joseph's.


To see how the tree looks on the page, go to View / Percent / 75% to view the entire page. The tree is too high on the page and not quite centered. Control A to select everything on the page and move it down with the down arrow, and maybe a hair to the right with the right arrow - and deselect.


The title 'Descendants of John Alexander (10) is crowded and might look better centered at the bottom. Select the title, Ctrl-X and paste it at the bottom, about in the middle.


The 'Prepared Date' box on the left is too high and conspicuous. Select and move the box down near the left corner and make it less noticeable:

-- Rightclick the box and select Properties / Line /Color - white

-- To make it even less noticeable, rightclick the box again, select Properties / Font / Text Color / dark gray.


Check the chart in Print Preview. It it doesn't look quite balanced, go back to the chart and move just the tree part, for example, by drawing a box around the tree to select it, then adjust its position using the right/left, up/down arrows.


The chart should look something like screenshot 2 now. Save the chart for hand-coloring later.


TIP: Run the same report using the Waterfall option on the Lines tab. The orientation of this chart will be portrait, so change (reverse) the numbers in Tools / Diagram / Diagram measurements to inches 8.5 and 11. Change the Page Setup orientation to Portrait. Adjust the positions of the chart elements on the page.


Part II: coloring the chart.



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