RootsMagic 4 Unwrapped – Sentences

Have you ever wanted to tweak the sentence for a single fact without having to change the global sentence template for that fact type?  RootsMagic 4 now lets you customize the sentence for any fact in your database.  If you are happy with the default sentence for your fact, you don’t have to do anything.  Otherwise click “Customize sentence” and do your own thing.


Here’s the screen where you will customize your sentence.

Customize sentence

Just modify the sentence template for this one instance, or just type a sentence directly.  It doesn’t matter whether you change the sentence to:

[person] was buried with full military honors [date] [place].


John Doe was buried with full military honors on January 15, 1943 in Avon, Iowa.

Using the fields like [person], [date], and [place] means that the sentence for that fact will still update if the person’s info changes.

And speaking of fields (this is where readers who don’t bother changing sentence templates might want to bail out <g>)…

We have completely rewritten the sentence template language.  While there isn’t nearly enough time or room in this blog to go into detail about all the enhancements available when creating sentence templates, let me just say you can now create sentences which contain:

  1. conditional parts which can change based on various criteria (like sex, whether the data exists, etc)
  2. modifiers for fields (like [date:year] or [place:reverse]
  3. and something else I’ll talk about in a future entry (tease)

I just looked at the remaining sneak previews, and I guarantee you won’t want to miss any of them.  I’ve been having fun showing all these features so far, but like I said early on, I’ve been saving the best for last.  There are still at least a dozen major features coming (we weren’t kidding about this being the biggest upgrade in our 22 year history).  Keep sharing this blog with your family and friends, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

RootsMagic 4 Unwrapped – What is that button on the side?

I keep getting busy programming and forget to blog about all the great stuff coming in version 4, so I’m going to skip the rest of the little things and start sneak previewing the bigger stuff. I’ll leave the little stuff for you to find on your own when we release version 4 before the end of the year (there… there’s your first hint about the release date).

Back in a previous post, several people wondered what that button (1) on the left side of the screen was for. Of course I didn’t tell, which led to a lot of rampant guessing and speculation. So let’s put an end to the speculation. If you click on the image below you’ll see RootsMagic 4’s new collapsible side bar. Click the button to access the side bar, and again if you want it hidden. The side bar is available regardless of which main view you are using.

Side Index

The side bar has four (count’em) 4 tabs. The Index tab shown above is a list of the people in your database. You have incremental search and alternate name support, and if you are using color coding it will show as well. Select a person from the index list and RootsMagic will select that person in the current view (pedigree, family, etc).

Side Family

Tab 2 is the family tab which will show you all the immediate family members (spouses, kids, parents, and siblings) of the person selected on the main screen. You can select any of those family members and click the Go button to switch to that person.

Side Bookmarks

Tab 3 is the bookmark tab. Just press Ctrl+B or click the “Add bookmark” button to add the current person to the bookmark list.

Side History

And tab 4 is the history tab. Every time you edit a person, RootsMagic will automatically add that person to the history tab. Need to get back to someone you edited half an hour ago? This is where you’ll find them.

Oh, and just to make sure you can’t stop speculating, I wanted to point out (if you hadn’t noticed already), that there is another blurred tab that has magically appeared on the main screen. Where do those things keep coming from? Guess you’ll just have to keep reading the blog.

RootsMagic 4 Unwrapped – Alternate names

OK, so here’s a feature we have gotten a lot of requests for, and in RootsMagic 4 we’re going to deliver it.

Alternate Names

If you have ever added alternate names for people in your database, you can now have those alternate names appear in lists of people (like the RootsMagic Explorer). If you think you might get confused having a person appear under their multiple names in the lists, just unmark the “Show alternate names” checkbox and it will only list each person once under their primary name.

Clicking on an alternate name in the list will take you to the same place that clicking on the primary name would. It’s just that you can now find people by all those other names they may have been known as during their lifetime.

Stay tuned for more cool stuff. And thanks for telling your friends and families to check out what will be our biggest upgrade ever.

RootsMagic 4 Unwrapped – Websites with style

Today’s sneak preview is going to be short and sweet (and no screen shot on top of that).  But don’t worry, we still have plenty of new screen shots left to go.

While website creation in RootsMagic 4 is very similar to that in version 3, there is one big difference.  RootsMagic 4 uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) when creating a website.  If you don’t create websites, or don’t know what CSS is, you probably won’t find this very exciting.

However, if you have ever had to modify fonts, colors or other settings in a RootsMagic generated website, I can hear you saying “yes” all the way from here.  No more having to modify hundreds of individual html files.  Just edit the single .CSS file and all your pages will use the modified styles.

So for all you html’ers, this one’s for you.  For everyone else, we’ll be right back with more cool screenshots and features.

RootsMagic 4 Unwrapped – Multimedia is made to be shared

Media Album

An old adage says that a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are 3000 words worth of pictures about RootsMagic 4’s new multimedia features. As in previous versions of RootsMagic, you can add pictures or other media to people, families, sources, citations, events, or places. Here’s what the new Media Album looks like (click the image if you want to see it without squinting):

Indiv Media

The first thing long time RootsMagic users will notice is that you aren’t limited to viewing 6 pictures at a time for a person. Not only can you scroll to view all the pictures for a person, you can also adjust the size of the thumbnails by simply (1) dragging the slider at the bottom of the album.

If you’ve ever added a family picture to each member of the family, and had to re-enter that nice detailed description over and over, you’ll love the new RootsMagic 4 Media Gallery. Every time you add a picture to a person (or other item) RootsMagic 4 keeps track of the photo so that you can re-use the same picture along with its caption, description, and other information. When adding a new picture to a person, just click “Add from gallery” (2) to re-use an existing media item.

Selecting a media item will display its details (caption, description, file name, etc) in the (3) live edit panel.

Media Gallery

If you want to see all the pictures you have added, just bring up the master Media Gallery.

Media Gallery

Not only can you see all your media, but you can also click the “Show usage” button to get a list of every place in your file that the highlighted media is referenced.

Media Usage

I’m on my way to Indianapolis for my third conference in 3 weeks (which I will attempt to pass off as my excuse for not spilling the beans as quickly as I would like). I will try to pick up the pace a bit. We still have a ton of cool new features to cover.

By the way, if you have a friend you’ve been trying to convert to RootsMagic, let them know about our blog. We’ll help you out with that <g>.

RootsMagic Unwrapped – And the 4th Tab is…

People Tab

People? Mark Tucker’s guess sure sounded a lot more exciting.

But even if the People tab can’t automatically do all your genealogy for you, it will help you quickly and easily analyze your data in ways that used to require tedious creating and printing custom reports.

So let’s take a look at this People page. Click on the screen shot below so you can actually see what it looks like.

People Page 1

At first glance the People page looks like just another list. There are a couple of differences though, the first being the “Customize this view” button. When you click the Customize button RootsMagic will let you select which columns you want to display in the list.

Customize People Page

Select the column you want in the left list, then click the “Add to view” button (you can also just double click on a field to move it over). You can add up to 50 columns to the view, and you can change them anytime you want. Once you have selected the columns you want, just drag and drop them into the order you want them in the view.

Then comes the fun part. Any column you add to the People view is fully sortable. Want to see your people grouped by birth place? Just click the birth place header and your wish is RootsMagic’s command. Want to see everyone in death date order? Just click the death date column (just make sure you added that column first). Here’s an example of the People view sorted by birth place.

People Page 2

Oh, and if you do add 50 columns, RootsMagic will let you scroll to see them all (obviously), and will even keep the person’s name (in the first column) frozen on the screen so you don’t lose track of what information belongs to who.

Well, back to programming. I’ve been hearing rumors that some users want us to get this released.