Frequently Asked Questions

 
  1. What is Ancestral Author?
  2. Why would I want to generate a PDF File? My genealogy program already creates Word and WordPerfect files.
  3. My genealogy program creates HTML files too. Why is PDF better than HTML?
  4. Why is it better to use Ancestral Author to create PDF files when I can just use my favorite genealogy program to create Word (or RTF) files, and then use a PDF printer driver to create PDF files from the Word (or RTF) files?
  5. Do I need special PDF tools from Adobe to use Ancestral Author?
  6. What is the Ancestral Author Wizard?
  7. Can I edit the PDF file that Ancestral Author creates?
  8. What version of PDF does Ancestral Author create?
  9. What version of the GEDCOM standard does Ancestral Author support? What GEDCOM tags are supported? What genealogy programs has it been tested with?
  10. What kind of computer will Ancestral Author run on?

 

 

What is Ancestral Author?

Ancestral Author is a Windows 7/8/10 program that constructs Adobe™ Portable Document Format (PDF) files from GEnealogy Data COMmunications (GEDCOM) files, text files, JPEG image files, and other sources of user input. It is used to create family history and genealogy books based on the information stored in your GEDCOM file. It also uses text files, image files, chapter/section headings, and other user directives to create a document structured exactly the way you want. Ancestral Author automatically creates a name index, and a list of sources. The end result is a beautifully crafted genealogy "book" that you can print out, or send over the internet to relatives, friends, and others interested in your work.

For more information about the GEDCOM format, click here.

 

 

Why would I want to generate a PDF file? My genealogy program already creates Word and WordPerfect files.

PDF files have a number of advantages over Word and WordPerfect files.

  • First, your readers don't need to own Word or WordPerfect to read them. All they need is the free Adobe Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded here.
  • Second, PDF files can be viewed on any type of computer, including Apple Macintosh, Linux, Microsoft Windows, etc. PDF documents are truly portable.
  • Third, the PDF files created by Ancestral Author are hyperlinked so that you can easily navigate from parents to children and back. No need to flip pages or scroll through the document. Just click on the name of the child, and the page with that child is brought directly to view. The index is hyperlinked too. Click on a name, and you are brought directly to the page on which that person appears. This feature makes it easy to follow the genealogical relationships.
  • Fourth, Ancestral Author makes it easy to create a title page, no need to cut and paste in a word processor. You can create and include your own separate chapters (e.g. Acknowledgement, Forward, Preface, etc.).
  • Fifth, you can publish your genealogy on the internet. Though somewhat slower than HTML files, PDF files are fully navigable from within a standard web browser (as long as the reader has Adobe Acrobat installed).
  • Finally, once you get the document to look the way you want, you can easily regenerate it with the click of a button. This makes it trivial to update your document with new information in your genealogy database.

 

 

My genealogy program creates HTML files too. Why is PDF better than HTML?

Truthfully, PDF isn't always better than HTML. If you are going to publish your genealogy on the web, HTML might be a better format. However, PDF files have one big advantage. They can be printed on a standard printer, resulting in a nice looking paper document with title page, chapter headings, index, and so on. This is perfect for people who want a hardcopy bound document. It is also an ideal format for sending through email. The recipient can easily print it out, or browse the document directly on the computer. HTML files are very difficult to print, especially if there are many pages. Furthermore, their appearance in print is not always satisfactory.

 

 

Why is it better to use Ancestral Author to create PDF files when I can just use my favorite genealogy program to create Word (or RTF) files, and then use a PDF printer driver to create PDF files from the Word (or RTF) files?

Well, if you understand this question, then it means you have considerably more knowledge about computers than most people. There are two answers:

  1. Ancestral Author is a lot easier. No need to use cut and paste with multiple programs and multiple steps to get the job done,
  2. Ancestral Author creates PDF files with hyperlinks. The PDF documents created with the above technique do not have hyperlinks, and therefore lack one of the principle advantages of PDF documents.

 

 

Do I need special PDF tools from Adobe to use Ancestral Author?

Absolutely not. The only extra software you need is the Adobe PDF Acrobat Reader, freely available from Adobe by clicking the icon on the right.

 

Click to download free Adobe Acrobat Reader
 

What is the Ancestral Author Wizard?

Ancestral Author uses a particular style of user interface called a Wizard. If you have any experience with computers at all, you have probably used wizards many times. The principle feature of a wizard is its ability to guide you through a series of questions and choices. When all the questions are answered, you click a FINISH button, and the program goes to work performing it's task. The Ancestral Author wizard asks you what you want to put in your document, e.g. title page, chapter heading, descendant report, name index, etc. You select these items, one at a time, as many as you want. When you are done, you press the FINISH button, and Ancestral Author creates your PDF file for you.

 

 

Can I edit the PDF file that Ancestral Author creates?

You can't directly edit the PDF file created by Ancestral Author, but there is a shareware program called PdfEdit which has worked well for many Ancestral Author users. You can download a free trial version of PdfEdit here. You can also purchase the full version of Adobe Acrobat, which gives you capability to edit and manipulate PDF files in a variety of ways.

 

 

What version of PDF does Ancestral Author create?

PDF Version 1.2. The PDF documents generated by Ancestral Author have been fully tested with the latest versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader (2015 Release).

 

 

What version of the GEDCOM standard does Ancestral Author support? What genealogy programs has it been tested with?

Ancestral Author supports Revision 5.5, the latest revision of the GEDCOM standard. In practice, it will read earlier revision GEDCOM files, but the algorithm it uses to extract source information works best if the GEDCOM is in 5.5 format. For a comprehensive list of GEDCOM tags supported by Ancestral Author, click here. Ancestral Author has been tested with Brothers Keeper 5.x, 6.0, PAF 5.1.12, The Master Genealogist Gold Edition 4.0, Family Tree Maker, and Family Historian. It will work with any genealogy program that can export standard GEDCOM files. If you're not sure it will work on your own GEDCOM, download a trial version of Ancestral Author, and give it a spin.

 

 

What kind of computer will Ancestral Author run on?

Ancestral Author will run on the following Microsoft Windows operating systems:

  • Windows 7, 32 and 64-bit, 2 Gigabytes of memory, 5 Megabytes of free disk space.
  • Windows 8 and 8.1, 32 and 64-bit, 2 Gigabytes of memory, 5 Megabytes of free disk space.
  • Windows 10, 32 and 64-bit, 2 Gigabytes of memory, 5 Megabytes of free disk space.

The Adobe Acrobat Reader should be installed. If it is not installed on your computer, click the icon below.

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