Ancestral Author

Importing Formatted Text Into Your PDF Document

This application note outlines an indirect method of importing formatted text into Ancestral Author.  AA provides a capability to import plain text files, with only paragraph formatting; but if you want to import tables, lists, or text with different fonts, you have to resort to an indirect method, such as is documented here.

The basic idea behind this method is simple. There are several low cost PDF tools that allow you to insert, remove, or replace pages of text in a PDF file with pages from another PDF file. You can use these tools to import formatted text into a PDF file created by Ancestral Author. Here are the steps:

  • Download and install the free PDF995 printer driver here You will also need a PDF split/merge program. Verypdf makes a split/merge program that can be downloaded here You can try it out up to 15 times for free, after which you must pay $29.90 to continue using it.
  • Use AA to create a PDF file documenting your genealogy. Insert blank pages wherever you want the pages of formatted text to appear. You can use AA's Blank Page Insertion screen to create these pages.
  • Use any word processor to create the pages of formatted text that you want to appear in the PDF file created by AA. Make sure that the page numbers match those of the blank pages in the AA document.
  • Use the free PDF995 'printer driver' to convert your word processor document into a PDF file. A 'printer driver' is essentially another printer installed on your computer. But rather than printing to a printer, it 'prints' to a PDF file.
  • Use a PDF split/merge program to replace the blank pages in your AA document with the PDF file containing the formatted text.

An Example of Adding Formatted Text

Let's apply this procedure to a specific example. We'll add a new chapter to the sample PDF file that comes with Ancestral Author. This PDF file has six chapters. A seventh chapter will be added before the 'Sources and Endnotes' chapter showing census records in a tabular form.

Inserting a Placeholder for the New Chapter

For purposes of discussion, we'll assume that Ancestral Author has been installed in C:\Program Files\Ancestral Author. If you have installed it elsewhere, substitute your own installation directory for the one used in the file names that follow.

To load the script file for the sample, invoke Ancestral Author and press the 'Load New' button to load the script file at C:\Program Files\Ancestral Author\Samples\Scripts\sample.txt. We'll insert a chapter before the 'Sources and Endnotes' chapter, entitled '1790 Census Records for the Prentice Family'. This chapter will consist of 2 pages of census tables.

To make room for this 2 page chapter, press the 'Next' button until you get to the 'Sources (as endnotes)' selection on the document item selection screen (screenshot below). The census records chapter will be inserted here.

sources.jpg (30868 bytes)

Select the 'Chapter Heading' document item (screenshot below), and press 'Next'.

chapterheading.jpg (30684 bytes)

Then enter the chapter title (screenshot below). This page is going to be replaced later, but the chapter heading is included here so that it appears in the AA table of contents. After entering the chapter title, press 'Next'.

chaptertitle.jpg (31728 bytes)

Since this is a two page chapter, an extra blank page is required. Select the 'Blank Page(s)' document item, and press 'Next' (screenshot below).

blankpage.jpg (31762 bytes)

Since the '1790 Census Records for the Prentice Family' level 1 chapter heading already created a new page, we need only create 1 additional blank page (screenshot below).

oneblankpage.jpg (31073 bytes)

We are now done inserting the 2 page chapter place holder. Press 'Next' until you get to the 'Done' screen, and then press the 'Finish' button. Save the script file in it's original location. You can view the resulting PDF file here. Note the page number of the 2 placeholder pages: 9, 10.

Creating the Formatted Text in a Word Processor

The beauty of the PDF995 PDF printer driver is that you can create formatted text, diagrams, tables, etc. in any program. As long as that program is able to print, then you can print it in PDF format. This examle shows how to include formatted text in the PDF file, but you could just as easily import a family tree diagram, XL spreadsheet, or anything else that is printable.

There are a few things to remember when creating your formatted text pages:

  • start the page numbering at 9, since that is where the chapter heading appears in the sample.pdf document,
  • if you exceed 2 pages, you'll have to go back and insert more blank pages into the AA document,
  • choose margins and formatting that match those of AA, so that the 'look and feel' of the final document is consistent.

Once you have created your formatted pages, use your word processors 'file -> print' menu item to print it in PDF format. Be sure to choose the PDF995 printer. Save the PDF to a file called 'Insert.pdf' (click the file name to see what the formatted text looks like for this example).

Merging the Formatted Text Into the AA PDF Document

This procedure consists of replacing the blank pages in the AA document with the formatted text in the 'Insert.pdf' file.

Invoke the PDF split merge program. For this example, we're using VeryPdf's PDF split merge tool which can be downloaded from This tool allows 15 free uses before requiring registration. When you invoke it, click the 'Try' button to indicate that you want a free try. When the main dialog for the PDF Split-Merge Software comes up, click the 'Merge PDF Files' tab, and you'll see the screen shown below:

splitmergedialog.jpg (40602 bytes)

The idea is to merge three sets of pages:

  • pages 1-8 of the Ancestral Author PDF file, sample.pdf,
  • both pages of the formatted text PDF, insert.pdf,
  • pages 11-12 of the Ancestral Author PDF file, sample.pdf

Add these three items in order in the 'Source PDF Files' list, using the 'Add' button. Specify the page numbers for each file. No page numbers need be specified for 'insert.pdf' since we are mergint the entire file. Call the output file NewSample.pdf. At this point, the dialog will appear as shown below.

mergefiles.jpg (50862 bytes)

Finally, click the 'Run' button to create NewSample.pdf, which you can see by clicking here.

There are a couple drawbacks to this approach for inserting formatted text:

  • the outline view is removed from the output file,
  • links that span merged pages do not work in the resulting output file.

One workaround for the link problem is to add pages at the end or beginning rather than in the middle.