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Michael Vance Baker

Printing Charts - Ancestor or Descendant

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I am trying to print a descandant chart at my local Office Depot/Office Max using their large format HP Injet printer.


The print shop technician is having trouble printing my .jpg chart. The chart is 25" x 151". I've taken the file there as a jpg file on a thumb drive. I've uploaded and converted it to a pdf using their ftp sites. No luck.


Does anyone know a good method to print a chart at a local print shop.


(price difference - local shop 21-25 USD ,,,,, www.gotcharts.com is 69.95 USD)




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Michael -


You want to print the chart from VCF to a virtual PDF printer like CutePDF, PDF995, PDFCreator, or BullZip PDF Printer. For more information, see the Ottawa TMG Users Group article (page 3) here.


Browse the forum for recent discussions on printing large charts.



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In your reply above relative to the Ottawa TMG Users Group article. I followed the instructions to set the paper size in VCF. FILE-->PAGE SETUP-->select the "Paper Size" drop-down menu-->Select "user defined"-->Click OK.


Nothing comes up to let me set the dimensions. If I select any other option in the drop down menu, the paper size does change and the page markers move for the new page size dimension. Should I not see a dimension option for "user defined"? Using TMG V 8.0.2 and VCF V 3.2 build date Sep 1, 2007 (gold).




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Before any thing else - Make sure that you have saved the chart file as a .VC2 file (use File > Save As ...)


It sounds like you are on Vista or Win7. You are probably seeing just the options available for your Windows Default printer. When you open File > Page Setup does the window have a [Printer ...] button in the bottom right corner?


If no [Printer ..] button you are on Vista or Win7 - that means that you need to go to

Start Menu > Printers and Devices and make the PDF writer (say PDF995) is set as the Wndows Default printer.


Now re-open Visual Chartform and open the saved .VC2 file.


Now in VCF when you File > Page Setup you should now get a page size entry, like Custom, Postscript Page Size, or something like it


Once you get that you should be able to set the page size required. Make sure that you then do a File > Save to ensure that setting is in the saved .VC2 file.


The proof of your setting comes when File > Print Preview shows the whole chart on a single page.


Finally, look at your output PDF in a PDF viewer Adobe or Foxit as single page. Only then can you take the PDF to your local printing house.

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I am on Win 7 Premium Home and the chart is a VC2 file.


File>Page Setup; there is no printer button. The only non-specific page size selection is "user defined". Selecting that simply returns me to the VCF display. No page size selection nor change in chart page markers.


Start Menu>Control Panel>Device and Printers: showed my normal printer Epson 1100 as default. Changed default to Adobe PDF ok.


Open the VCF chart. File>Page Setup and still only "user defined" and when selected results in same situation.


Rechecked default printer and still Adobe PDF. Did a restart and same results. Did a print preview and still the original page marker output.


Went to "Print" and it shows my Epson printer not Adobe PDF. Can select Adobe PDF as printer and has a page size option of "Postscript Custom Page" which then allows me to specify a size; however, that pertains to the printing not the VCF page size.


Opened Word and selected print. It came on with Adobe PDF as my printer.


Appears that VCF is not recognizing the default printer selection.

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Joe -


You need to download a PDF printer like PDF995, CutePDF, BullZip. They are all excellent and I think they all have free versions. Below are more detailed instructions from Robin from an earlier forum message on how to set the paper size. The clue is you have to set both the default printer AND the paper size before you open VCF - and for that specific chart. So first you create the chart, determine the required paper size, and _save the chart_. Then set the default printer and appropriate paper size for that chart, open your saved chart and check if your settings are correct for printing.


Robin wrote:

1) are you running Vista or Win7? IF so you need to manage the desired page size externally to VCF. That is, you need to set the PDF printer the windows default printer AND set the default page size for that device to be the the desired page size for THIS CHART. This setting must be done before you open VCF to print that chart. Usually that means saving the chart as a VC2 file, looling at the Tools > Diagram > Diagram Measurements for the desired single page output, then exiting VCF. Set the PDF printer as the default.Change the Server Properties of the PDF printer to select the desired page size. Then re-open VCF on the saved PDF file. Now look art File > Print Preview to check that your settings have worked. BEWARE that some PDF printers have limitations in the largest page size that you can print (some are limited to A0, etc). I regularly produce PDFs without gaps that are 20ft (6m) across.


2) Note that in Vista and Win7 VCF: File > Page Setup uses the default page size of the default windows printer to paginate the content to go on the printed pages. Setting a different page size in File > Print _DOES NOT_ effect the pagination of that content that is the printed hence the excess white space. It is just a tedious process to exit VCF make the default page size change and re-open VCF.



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I can't see how any of the previous posts directly apply to my problem.


I have a Descendants Box report saved to *.vc2. I want to convert this to either *.pdf or *.jpg. Either of these can be re-sized and printed at my local FedEx Office store.


So how do I convert my *.vc2 file?





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Are you using Vista, Win7 or XP?


Even so, there are 2 issues here. The JPG that is saved from Visual Chartform is only 96dpi so it can be lower quality than the PDF process. Also JPG has number of pixel limitations - so don't use it for very large charts. The advantage of the JPG method is that it doesn't refer to a printer page size - all the chart is in one image.


The JPG method.

Use File > Export (make sure that the file type is Jpeg.)

This file can be scaled but sharp contrasts lile the edges of boxes may become blurred.


The PDF method

This requires you to install a 3rd party application that looks like and acts like a print to a Windows application. You then File > Print to that "PDF printer". Earlier messages in this thread explain some of the issues.

THE CATCH OF THE PDF METHOD is that Visual Chartform takes the currently set page size of the PDF Printer. It creates a separate page for each part until it covers the whole chart. When you take such a file to an external printing house they will print N pages each equivalent to the content of a Letter or A4 page (typically). The advantage of the PDF method is that the image is drawn using vecrtors and will scale without loss of detail.


BTW: I don't know of any print service bureau that will stick multiple pages back together to make one large page for you. Besides there is a bug in the VCF code that carves up the chart into pages - it looses 3 pixels at each boundary, so stitched text acoss a boundary is has at least one squashed character.


SO ... before you try to print to a PDF printer, you must set the page size in the PDF printer to one that will hold the whole chart on a single page. The proof that you have achieved this is to see that FILE > PRINT PREVIEW shows the whole chart on one page.


Now this is where the tricky bit starts - it will work as expected on Win XP, if you set the PDF page size via the FILE > PAGE SETUP before you print. (Microsoft has been unkind in later versions of its OS's)


On Vista and Win7, FILE > PAGE SETUP does not have a printer selection button, therefore before opening Visual Chartform you must make the PDF Printer the Windows Default Printer via Control Panel or Printers and Devices. It is a good idea to also at least select the Custom Page Size in Control Panel. Some users have had probelems in getting these custom page sizes to be be recognised by VCF. So just to make sure set the page size in PAGE SETUP, then OK out, and then try PAGE SETUP again to see whether your selection has stuck. Then use PRINT PREVIEW to confirm that all is as expected, print to the PDF printer.

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Virginia or Robin:


(1) Will the ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 4 from Nuance convert a VC2 to the right kind of PDF?


(2) I am losing the capital first letter of one of the names for 3 persons. It reads lverhøi when it should read Elverhøi. I have gone into their individual name files in TMG and found nothing wrong. None of the others on the chart (31 total) have lost any characters. In the case of one of the 3 persons, the name Elverhøi is the last name in the group. In the case of his wife it is the next to the last name in the group. In the case of their son it is the 3rd to the last name. I'm dealing with multiple farm names in a composite personal name as the principal name, which I've described various times on the TMG list as a way of dealing with the Norwegian naming system; most had no fixed surnames at that time. I have not previously had a problem with reports..There is no lack of space to print the E in each of these cases.


(1) I am quite pleased that the chart has roomy boxes to show the composite personal names. The wife's box is over 2 1/2 inches tall. Five generations together are less than 8 inches tall.


--Ida Skarson McCormick

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Ida -


1 - The problem with the pdf coversion in VCF is no longer being able to set the chart size in VCF printer setup (due to a change in the operating system). I don't know that any pdf converter can get around that limitation, but Robin may have more information on that particular software. In the meantime, his workaround is in the 3 April message above.


2 - You have run into a known problem. The workaround is to widen the box. Here is Robin's explanation from the mailing list:


"This a known and reported bug of more than 2 years standing.


It occurs because the single word of a name part is just too long for

the box width. Then a bug in the line wrapping code removes the first

character of the next line. I believe that this bug is actually not in

VCF itself but the 3rd party tools which it uses to actually display the



The work around is make sure that you increase the box width. Also if

you have hyphenated surnames enter them with a space after the hyphen

and VCF will wrap at that space if required."


Let us know if you would like to post a screenshot here of your chart. It sounds very interesting.



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