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Book Production

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#1 ricklach

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 11:52 AM

TMG does a pretty reasonable job of producing a variety individual reports. However, a considerable amount of editing time is required within each tag for an individual to produce a report to be proud of. When reports are combined for a family report there is again some editing required. The Book Manager does not solve the problem. What is need is a fully functional editor that can take all the raw output from a report and opens it in a feature-rich text editor that will allow the user to develop their own writing style without loosing the the content provided by the various variables that are inherent in each report. That way, a change to a date (name, role, etc) would be reflected in the new edited report without having to re-edit individual reports.

I have tried many different approaches to producing a Book within TMG. All of them were less than ideal but what the various reports did was help establish a pattern and fill in the necessary details so that I could edit the output. One approach that I have tried is to output the reports to a word processor, edit the individual reports and then save them to be reused later. Unfortunately they cannot be saved in TMG for output later (while maintaining the styles codes used by wordprocessors) so this approach defeats the idea of any new factual changes within TMG being automatically reflected in the saved reports. The other approach I have tried is to save the reports as RTF liles and then import them into FTM using the same data as that from TMG but this approach has proved to be both time consuming and illogical just to get the benefits of a good word processor/editing capability. TMG has the "power" while FTM has discovered the "process". Databases were designed to write once use many times and in this respect the fusion of two technologies has not taken place and so we have to endure endless cycles of report generation and editing to reach and maintain consistent prose.

I have close to 100K people in my database and I would like to get started on my series of books. Any of the process I have tried thus far are not options. At this stage I am looking for some ideas that I have not already tried to assist me in this project. Any takers!

#2 RogerUK

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:54 AM

Well that's an interesting read. All the more interesting because there has not been a response. Either you have addressed an unresolvable problem or a subject so complicated that no one wants to get involved.

I don't think I'm qualified to step in as a "taker" but I do share your frustration. I find it hard to accept that after all that time and effort entering data to TGM I have to do it all again in some other software in order to produce a Family History Book of any substance/style.

Years ago when my Family Tree was smaller I simply used a Word Processor for a small booklet. Since then things have grown. Recently I've been considering the improved features of the latest word processors and alternatively desk top publishing software but have yet to make a move. But I do like the DTP's flexibility to incorporate non textual features and relieve the boredom of pages of narrative.

Lets hope some of the more experienced forum members can contribute. Merry Xmas Everyone. Roger

#3 Jim Byram

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:19 AM

I've seen a number of books produced by TMG users.

You might want to try the mail list where most of the TMG discussion takes place. Relatively few users respond on this forum.

#4 Terry Reigel

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:59 AM


I agree with Jim that topics of this sort are going to get more substantive response on the TMG-List. But to make a brief cut at this one, there are basically two approaches to refining the output in TMG:
  • Edit the data in it's native form, that is, edit the individual tags, but adjusting Memo text, Sentences, and sort dates as we have discussed in other topics here.
  • Leave the data in TMG in it's basic form - just the facts - and produce basic reports, which are then polished in a word processor.
The former has the advantage that the edits remain available for repeat output, say in a report with a different constellation of people, or an updated website.

The latter has the advantage that one has all the finely honed tools of a word processor available to ease editing.

In my view, you should use the first method when you expect to have to repeat the output of the same data repeatedly. You should use the second when you are really serious about producing a first-rate product that you don't expect to repeat.

This topic is discussed in several of my articles, particularly the one on "Producing a Publishable Article."

See my Tutorials and Articles on using TMG at tmg.reigelridge.com

The Second Edition of my book, A Primer for The Master Genealogist, is still available
. For more information see my website.

#5 RogerUK

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 01:43 AM

"In my view, you should use the first method when you expect to have to repeat the output of the same data repeatedly. You should use the second when you are really serious about producing a first-rate product that you don't expect to repeat."

I reckon that's exactly where I am on this one. I think I shall go with TMG Report and Chart output plus Word Docs and import the lot into PagePlus as I want to include quite a lot of non text items. rgds Roger

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