In today’s preview of RootsMagic 8, we’re going to look at files and the new “File view” found on the Navigation bar.
First of all, version 8 will carry over all of your work from previous versions of RootsMagic. Slight upgrades will be made to the file to support the new features in RootsMagic 8, similar to how RootsMagic 7 upgraded files from previous versions. Also, the format is identical whether you are using Mac or Windows- so you can use the same file on either operating system.
Judging from our support requests, we know many of you struggle with working with and organizing your files. Fortunately, the File view makes it easy to create, find, and open your RootsMagic files in a single screen which guides you step-by-step through your options.
For example, to create a file, you just click Create a New RootsMagic file, then choose from an Empty File, Import from Another Program, or Download from an Online Tree. Choose a filename and additional options, and voila! Your new file is ready.
And the days of misplacing your files are over! When the File view needs you to select a file, it presents a list of recently-used files. It also automatically searches your computer for more files, adding them to the list as it finds them.
If you have a RootsMagic file open, the File view presents additional options including Importing, Exporting, Closing, and Tools for working with the file.
Clicking on Tools gives you all of your favorites, including Backup, Rename, Copy, Delete, Compare, and the assorted Database tools.
So there you have it. The new File view in RootsMagic 8 makes it easy to organize your files and will save you a lot of time and headache in working with them.
Today, we’ll look at the “Home” view from our upcoming RootsMagic 8. This is the first view that you’ll find in the Navigation bar on the left.
Note: Eagle-eyed readers will notice that this was called the “Dashboard” view in previous blog articles. The actual label for this view has gone through some changes throughout the development process. Remember, the screens and features that we’re showcasing are still being tested and refined and could go through additional changes before version 8 is officially released.
The Home view shows the latest news and announcements from RootsMagic, links to our various help and support channels, as well as the ability to detect, download, and install updates to the software. New updates and unread news items are highlighted with a star.
If you haven’t opened a RootsMagic file, the Home view presents a list of recent RootsMagic files that can be opened or the option to create a new file.
If you do have an open RootsMagic file, the Home view displays information about the current file, similar to the “Database Properties” in previous versions.
In short, the Home view is a friendly starting point for new users as well as a way to communicate and interact with more experienced users.
Update: We’ve had several questions about if you can bypass the Home view when you start RootsMagic. Just as you could in previous versions, you can set RootsMagic to start on other views when you open your file. You can also tell it to automatically open the last file you worked on, when you start the software.
As mentioned before, in designing RootsMagic 8, we wanted to make the software even easier-to-use. We started by looking at questions asked by our users through our technical support, Facebook group, and other means of contact. We looked for patterns and common problems and issues that users had.
We were surprised at how many “How do I find…” questions there were. Even more surprising was how many feature requests we had for features which were already in the software- they were just hidden behind several screens and menus. We knew that version 8 needed to better help users find their information and use its many features.
We then listed all the different features and, after studying the best user-interface practices, were able to group all the elements into a few distinct categories. These formed the basis for the new “Navigation Bar.”
The Navigation Bar has 11 items: File, Dashboard, People, Places, Sources, Media, Tasks, Addresses, Search, Publish, and Settings. All information and features can be quickly accessed from the corresponding area on the Navigation Bar.
And once you are comfortable with it, you can also collapse the Navigation Bar to show only the icons, giving you more space to do your work.
In our next installments, we’ll look at each of these 11 items in more detail so stay tuned!
Last week, we gave you a first look at RootsMagic 8. While we’re itching to start showing you more details and features, last week’s article prompted many questions about RootsMagic and the upgrade process. We felt it would be helpful to answer some of the questions for you before showing you more features. So without any further ado, here they are:
I already own RootsMagic 7 (or 6, or 5, or 4, etc.). Will I need to buy RootsMagic 8 when it comes out?
Yes, but at a discounted price. Our policy has always been to make updates free. That is, going from 7.0 to 7.1, to 7.2, to 7.3, etc. We put those out regularly to fix bugs, update API’s, and to even add new features (Our TreeShare for Ancestry was a free new feature in 7.5).
Major upgrades, such as going from 7.0 to 8.0, do require a purchase. However, we always offer a significant discount to those upgrading from previous versions. For example, to upgrade from any prior version of RootsMagic to version 7 has been $19.95 where the full price of the software is $29.95.
Do I have to upgrade to RootsMagic 8?
Not at all. If the new features and functionality in RootsMagic 8 appeal to you, we’d love for you to upgrade. If you decide to stick with your current version of RootsMagic, your software will continue running just as it has. It will simply not have any more updates as our development work has moved on to the next version.
How much will RootsMagic 8 cost?
Version 8 will have a modest price increase from earlier versions. While we haven’t announced the actual pricing for RootsMagic 8, it will be more than version 7. RootsMagic 8 will have a discount for users of previous versions upgrading to it, but this will be modestly higher than the current $19.95 upgrade price for version 7.
So if I buy RootsMagic 7 now, I get RootsMagic 8 for free?
Yes. We have always had an “upgrade protection guarantee.” If you buy our software and a newer version comes out soon afterward, you get the newer version for free. I’ve personally spent a sizable sum of money on software only to have a new version come out the very next day. That company’s response was, “You’re out of luck.” We love our users too much to do that.
If you buy RootsMagic 7 now through our website (either the full version or upgrade), you will receive an email with your key for RootsMagic 7. You’ll also immediately receive a key for RootsMagic 8. Just hold onto that key until you get word that RootsMagic 8 has been officially released. This means that you are essentially getting a free RootsMagic 8 at today’s RootsMagic 7 prices.
I already have RootsMagic 7. Can I still get a free RootsMagic 8?
Yes. Even if you already have RootsMagic 7, you are welcome to purchase another copy of RootsMagic 7 (even at the $19.95 upgrade price), and you will get your key for RootsMagic 8.
Wait- you want me to pay money now for a future RootsMagic that I may not even like? Is this some tricky money grab?
You would indeed be getting an upgrade to Version 8 that you don’t (yet) know much about. (But, really- we think you’ll love it) But this is definitely not a money grab. In fact, we are losing money by giving away RootsMagic 8 upgrades at the lower price. So why are we doing this?
We haven’t raised our software price in the nearly 20 years that RootsMagic has been available. All-around costs have risen in those years, and we need to follow suit. However, we also know that we have many users that live on fixed-incomes. We didn’t want to surprise everyone with the price increase without giving a heads-up and giving our users a chance to make appropriate plans.
Combine this with the upgrade protection guarantee, and the “Buy RootsMagic 7 now, get RootsMagic 8 free” policy is the natural result. It’s only us trying to do right by our users.
I’ve placed my order and received my RootsMagic 8 key. What do I do now?
Just hold on to that key and patiently wait for the official release. You could also sign up to become a tester at www.rootsmagic8.com.
More Previews to Come
Hopefully, we’ve answered some of those burning questions that many of you have had about the upgrade process to version 8. And watch this blog for regular articles describing the fantastic new features in RootsMagic 8!
RootsMagic users have been patiently (and sometimes impatiently) awaiting news of our latest version- RootsMagic 8. While we aren’t quite ready for an official release, we want to start pulling back the curtain and share some of version 8’s exciting new features.
First of all, we know that this release has been a long-time coming. But we haven’t been sitting around, resting on our laurels. We’ve been rethinking, redesigning, and rebuilding the interface to address the most common questions and problems our users have shared with us. Our focus has been on these main ideas:
Make the software easier-to-use. Fewer screens, fewer clicks, and less hunting around to find what you’re looking for and to do what you want to do.
Take advantage of more modern computers, operating systems, and devices. Technology has changed a lot in the 30 years that we’ve been making software. RootsMagic 8 supports better graphics, touch-screens, faster processors, and high-resolution displays. This ensures that RootsMagic will be useful and relevant for years to come.
And of course, there is “one more thing” that should make our fans of “fruit” happy:
And yes- your RootsMagic 8 license covers both the Windows and Mac versions!
How Do I Get RootsMagic 8?
While RootsMagic 8 is not yet available for purchase, every copy of RootsMagic 7 now comes with a free registration key for RootsMagic 8. Just a heads up- there will be a modest price increase for version 8. But you can buy RootsMagic 7 now (even if you already have it) and get your RootsMagic 8 at today’s lower prices!
Can I Be a Tester for RootsMagic 8?
Currently, Version 8 is being tested by a dedicated group of testers. As it becomes more stable, we gradually expand this group until we feel it is ready for official release. If you love trying out new things and are patient enough to work with us through the process of finding and fixing quirks and problems, we’d love to have you as a tester. To sign up, just fill out the form at www.rootsmagic8.com. Don’t worry if you don’t hear from us right away as we add testers over time.
More Previews to Come
Watch this blog for regular articles describing more amazing new features in RootsMagic 8. Thanks to you, our users, for your support and feedback. We are very excited for this release and can’t wait to show you more!
NOTE: This is Part 12 of our ongoing series documenting the history of our company. If you’re just joining us, be sure to read Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.
Once RootsMagic 4 and RootsMagic Essentials were out the door, we tried to concentrate on upgrading the software and adding new functionality. But we were hearing from our users that they wanted to be able to take their data on their new tablets they’d gotten for Christmas. The only problem was that we had no programming skills on tablets, either iOS or Android.
Rather than hire new programmers just to write apps, we decided to outsource them. We got a bunch of bids from companies all over the world, but finally ended up selecting a local company here in Utah. We knew that genealogy software is actually very complex, and this company was actually already familiar with RootsMagic and genealogy software in general.
Back when we released RootsMagic 4 we assumed we’d never have to rewrite the program again. But as we got more and more requests for a Mac version it became clear that we might get to do just that.
We knew there were a couple of options… write a separate Mac version (or have another company write a Mac version for us), or rewrite the program so that we could compile the same program to both Windows and Mac. We’ve seen too many programs where their Windows and Mac versions are quite a bit different (both interface and functionality), so we really didn’t like the first option. The second option would ensure that both Windows and Mac users would always have the same functionality, yet redesigning the program again seemed daunting.
So in the summer of 2014 we began rebuilding RootsMagic so that we could compile natively to both Windows and Mac. But having done this multiple times, I knew firsthand how long it could take, and the Mac users were getting more and more vocal. So as a temporary fix, we contacted a company called Codeweavers that wrote software to let Windows programs run on a Mac. We had them build a custom wrapper for RootsMagic, and in September 2014 we released MacBridge.
Since we had to pay Codeweavers for every copy of MacBridge we distributed, we sold it as a separate program so we could keep track of the numbers. The MacBridge program allowed you to install the Windows version on your Mac, but the process was somewhat unwieldy, and it was hard to explain to users how it was supposed to work.
We decided we needed to simplify this whole Mac “wrapper” thing, and worked out a license with Codeweavers where we could pay a flat amount every month and be able to distribute unlimited copies. This not only allowed us to create a “RootsMagic for Mac” standalone installer, but also meant we could distribute free RootsMagic Essentials with the wrapper as well. And yes, we continue to eat the cost of that monthly license to this day 😉
While we continued to work on the new Mac/Windows version, we decided to release a new version of RootsMagic based on the older code with some exciting features we had been working on. RootsMagic 7 included a new feature called WebHints, which would display hints from FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast, and let you click on a little lightbulb to jump to those sites to see the hints. We also announced MyRootsMagic, where registered users could easily post free websites of their family tree.
Then in December 2015, Ancestry dropped a bombshell that they were discontinuing their Family Tree Maker program. About this same time they contacted us and asked if we were interested in working with their API and integrating RootsMagic with Ancestry. Of course we jumped at the opportunity. I had been asking Ancestry to work with their API for years without any luck, so this came as a very pleasant surprise. After crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s, we jointly announced that we would be working together on February 2, 2016.
We optimistically guessed that the new Ancestry features would be done by the end of 2016, but we underestimated the complexity that lay before us. And as we began work on the integration, we noticed that our RootsMagic 7 sales were dropping. We realized that users were holding off buying RootsMagic until the Ancestry features were released, so we announced that the Ancestry features would be a free update to version 7. Sales immediately picked back up, but we realized this meant that RootsMagic 8 which we were working on separately would have to be put on the back burner until the Ancestry integration was done.
We tried to be as transparent as possible about progress on the Ancestry features. Normally we wouldn’t pre-announce a new feature, but in this case Ancestry wanted it to be known that we were working on this functionality. So it left us open to a lot of second-guessing by users as the development went past our estimated release.
During the latter part of development, I started growing a beard and started joking that I wasn’t going to shave until the Ancestry features were released. Finally, on June 28, 2017, we announced to the world in a short live video from our “secret underground laboratories” that it was finally here. It was kind of a ridiculous video, but was also kind of an emotional release from all the hard work we put into those features.
After releasing the Ancestry integration it was tempting to just take some time off, but we knew we needed to get back to work on RootsMagic 8 since it had been pushed to the back burner for a year and a half. We also knew that we needed to release an update to our Personal Historian software which we had been working on prior to the Ancestry announcement. The update was already close to ready, but we hit a little snag with the main new feature, importing from Facebook. In order to import from Facebook, we were required to submit the program to Facebook. Normally that would have been a simple procedure, but Facebook was in the news for allowing companies to take users data and use it in ways the user didn’t want. Facebook cracked down on accepting new developers with products that could read data from Facebook. We were finally able to get approved since we were able to show that we (RootsMagic) didn’t get the data ourselves; that the data was simply downloaded onto the users own computer. At first we were concerned about releasing an update that read from Facebook, but then we realized we actually were providing a feature that Facebook users needed… the ability to get a copy of all of their data downloaded onto their own computer. Personal Historian 3 was released in March 2018.
So where are we today? And what does the future hold for RootsMagic? When we started this blog years ago, the main purpose was to give a sneak preview of our soon to be released RootsMagic 4, and for the next little while we’re going back to those roots to give you a peek at RootsMagic 8.
Of course everyone wants to know what new features will be in version 8 (we all like new features). And while we’ll have new features, let me just say that RootsMagic 8 is being designed with our current users in mind, simplifying existing functionality, reducing “clickiness”, and other improvements requested by users. Underlying code is being redesigned to provide us with a framework for additional functionality in the years to come.
So stayed tuned to this blog as we begin to unveil the most exciting version of RootsMagic ever.
It’s almost here! We’re pleased to again sponsor the largest genealogy conference in the world: RootsTech! It’s being held Wednesday, February 27 through Saturday, March 2, 2019, at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve been a part of it since the beginning and this year is no exception.
Don’t miss the expo hall with the largest gathering of genealogy products and services in the country. Be sure to visit the RootsMagic booth (#1125) to meet the RootsMagic staff, ask questions, and get special discounts on RootsMagic products.
And while you’re there, you can be one of the first to see our latest creation- RootsMagic 8!
RootsMagic 8 Preview
Stop by our booth to see a special preview of our amazing new release- RootsMagic 8 (coming soon)! We’re also giving away a full license for RootsMagic 8 with every copy of RootsMagic 7. That means that you can buy RootsMagic 7 for only $20 at the conference and get a free upgrade to RootsMagic 8 at the same time. It’s your chance to get this future release at today’s prices!
RootsMagic 8 in the Demo Theater
After you’ve walked the halls of RootsTech, nothing sounds better than a soft, comfortable couch. And the Expo Hall Demo Theater is full of them! Join us for a quick demonstration of RootsMagic 8 in the theater where you’ll get a chance to relax, learn something new about your favorite software, and maybe even take a little nap.
Time: Thursday, February 28, 2019, 4:20-4:35 pm
Place: Expo Hall Demo Theater, Salt Palace Convention Center
Other Classes and Keynotes
RootsTech also has some amazing speakers lined up including Patricia Heaton, Emmy award-winning actress; Saroo Brierley, bestselling author; Jake Shimabukuro, chart-topping ukulele artist; Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch; and Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan K. Bednar. There are also over 300 breakout sessions taught by industry experts for beginners and experts alike.
See You There!
As you can guess, we’ve been very busy working on RootsMagic 8 and getting ready for RootsTech. We’re excited to show you a little of what we’ve been up to and to meet with so many of you in person. For those of you fortunate enough to be able to attend RootsTech, we look forward to seeing you. And if you’re not going to be able to join us there, don’t worry- we’ll be sharing more news in the near future.
Today, we are excited to announce the official release of Personal Historian 3- the latest version of our ground-breaking computer software which helps you write the story of your life and of other individuals. Are you overwhelmed with the idea of writing your life stories? Personal Historian breaks this seemingly monumental task into small, manageable pieces and then reconstructs it into a complete, publishable document.
Personal Historian creates an interactive timeline of a person’s life to keep the stories organized, give context to life events, and to allow users to write stories in any order they wish. When ready, Personal Historian will compile the stories into a finished book complete with table of contents, chapters, pictures, indexes, and more. The book may then be printed at home, edited in a word processor, published professionally, or shared with friends and family.
New! Download and Publish Your Facebook Memories
Facebook has been in the news quite a bit lately. And if you’re like me, you’ve used it for several years to share news, pictures, and more with friends and family to the point that it contains many treasured memories and stories from your life.
One amazing new feature in Personal Historian 3 is the ability to download a copy of all your Facebook posts, places, pictures, family, and even comments right into the software. You can even print and publish a book from your Facebook feed.
New! Share and Combine Stories between Multiple Histories
As you can use Personal Historian to write any number of histories for all of the important people in your life, many users have requested the ability to share stories between their multiple histories. Personal Historian 3 now lets you import stories, pictures, people, places, and categories from one file to another- making it easy to share and combine histories.
New! LifeCapsule Editor
One of the most powerful features in Personal Historian has been its collection of LifeCapsules- sets of events, timelines, and memory triggers which give context and color to your stories. In addition to the many LifeCapsules which come with the software (which have all been refreshed and updated in version 3), the new LifeCapsule Editor gives you the ability to create your own LifeCapsules on any subject you like. You can then import these LifeCapsules into your own Personal Historian files or even share them with others to incorporate into their own histories.
Of course, Personal Historian 3 also has many more enhancements, features, and fixes which have been requested by our loyal users throughout the years.
Join our Webinar to Learn More
To celebrate this new release, we’ll be hosting a special free webinar on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 10 a.m. MDT where we will demonstrating Personal Historian 3 and showing off its new features. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about the software and ask questions to its developer! If you can’t attend the webinar live, don’t worry- we’ll put up a recording of it that you can watch later on.
Get your copy of Personal Historian 3 now by visiting http://www.personalhistorian.com or by calling 1-800-766-8762. New users may purchase it for only $29.95 while existing Personal Historian users may upgrade for only $19.95, saving $10 off of the regular price. A free, limited-feature version named “Personal Historian 3 Essentials” is also available for those who would like to take the software for a spin before purchasing.
So if you’re ready to finally make some progress on writing the story of your life, get your copy of Personal Historian 3 today!
RootsTech is almost here and you can read about our exhibit, discounts, classes, and demos. We also promised to tell you about two different games and giveaways that we’re participating in. The first is the “GBA.Buzz Scavenger Hunt” and the second is our new “RootsMagic MagicWall”.
Now, you may or may not be familiar with “mermaid fabric”. It’s an amazing fabric covered with two-toned sequins that lets you reverse the color by simply brushing against it with your hand or finger. If you haven’t played with it before, take our word for it- it is mesmerizing. Most people have played with a small pillow or shirt with this fabric on it. Well, we’re bringing to RootsTech a wall covered with 28 square feet of the stuff! We call it, the “RootsMagic MagicWall”.
And we’ll have it at our booth in the RootsTech expo hall where you are free to brush, touch, write, doodle, and draw to your heart’s content. But we aren’t stopping there. We’re also giving away some fun prizes every day for people who stop by and play on the MagicWall.
Each day, Thursday through Saturday, we’ll be giving away 1 copy of Disney/Pixar’s “Coco”, an amazing animated film about family history and preserving memories; an Ancestry DNA testing kit, and a copy of our brand new Personal Historian 3 personal and family history writing software.
To enter to win:
Stop by the RootsMagic booth (#727) and draw something on the RootsMagic MagicWall.
Take a picture of yourself with your masterpiece.
Post the picture to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using the hashtag, “#RootsMagic”. Make sure your post is publically visible so we can see and count your entry.
Three entries will be randomly selected Thursday at 11:59 pm MST, Friday at 11:59 pm MST, and Saturday at 1:59 pm MST to win 1 of each day’s prizes (9 winners in total). You will need to post a picture each day to qualify for that day’s drawing.
Winners’ names will be posted at the RootsMagic MagicWall and winners will be responsible for collecting their prizes from the RootsMagic booth before the end of the conference at 4:00 pm on Saturday.
RootsMagic is a member of the Genealogy Business Alliance. This is a group for genealogy business leaders to discuss best practices, network, and create a united voice in the genealogy community. This year, RootsMagic and 15 other members of GBA have joined together for the GBA.Buzz Scavenger Hunt. In it, we’re all giving away more than $2000 worth of prizes!
This video explains how to play:
Step 1: Visit any of these 16 booths in the RootsTech Expo Hall. The more booths you visit, the more entries you get, and the greater your chances of winning a prize.