What’s New in 2.3

This page lists the new and improved features in version 2.3. See What’s New (All Versions) for details of features added in other versions.


1. Support for Narrative Reports

A major new report has been added. This is a narrative report: Descendants by Generation. This has numerous options, and like other reports, can be saved in HTML, RTF or text format. The report allows you to show all events and attributes about a person’s descendants and their spouses; and also (optionally) event/attribute notes, event/attribute addresses, record notes, marriage notes, shared notes, private notes, and more. You can also include pictures and sources. See also the discussion of the new Sentence field in Changes to the Property Dialog below, and the discussion of the new Narrative Report Options button in Changes to Preferences.

2. Enhancements to Existing Reports
  • The Descendant Outline Report now has an improved layout (and the HTML version is also much improved). The report has been extended to include the following additional fields (optionally):
    • Event/Attribute notes
    • Event/Attribute addresses
    • Record Notes
    • Marriage Notes
    • Shared Notes
    • Plus there is an option to include private notes if you wish
    • You can now also specify sources for all information in the Descendant Outline Report (and the Report Options dialog for that report now has a Source tab).
  • In the past, reports did not correctly handle tabs and line-breaks (e.g. in long notes). These are now handled correctly.
  • The Reports menu has been re-organised to break reports down into categories, and make it easier to find the report you want.
  • There is a new Add Relatives button on the Select Records Dialog (when selecting records for a report) to make it easy to add ancestors, descendants or spouses. Some queries have been enhanced to make them more useful for selecting records for reports also (using the Add Using Query button on the same dialog) – see New and Changed Queries below.
  • There is now a Print Preview option for the Reports Window. This is rarely useful because the Reports Window itself shows you what you will get when the report is printed. But there are occasionally some circumstances in which it is useful.
  • There is also another new report: Data – Source Types. See Enhancements to Sources below.
    There have been several improvements with respect to the display of Source information in Reports – again, see Enhancements to Sources below.
  • See also Mouse Wheel and Zooming below.
3. Support for Copy and Paste
  • You can now copy and paste any branch of any record in the Records Window or in the All tab of the Property Dialog. For example, you could click on Birth in a person’s record and copy that field and all ‘sub-fields’ (Date, Place, Source etc) at the same time. When you paste, the entire branch is pasted. You can now select multiple fields as long as they are all ‘child’ fields of the same ‘parent. Press Ctrl or Shift while clicking on a field to add to the selection. You can copy multiple fields. To copy, click on Copy on the Edit menu or press Ctrl-C.
  • To paste a branch, select the record or field you wish to paste them into and click Edit > Paste (or press Ctrl-V). You can only paste data that would be valid in that context. You can’t paste a date as a sub-field of another date for example.
  • If you right-click on any tag in the Records Window, the context menu will have ‘Copy’ and ‘Paste’ on it (paste will be greyed if not appropriate).
  • You can also copy and paste in the Events tab of the Property Dialog. The events/attributes list also now supports multiple selection. To copy all selected events or attributes, press Ctrl-C, or click on the toolbar menu button (below the events/attributes list) and choose Copy Events/Attributes. To paste into the Events tab of the Property Dialog, press Ctrl-V or click on Paste Events/Attributes on the toolbar menu button.
  • As well as copying fields and pasting them within Family Historian, you can also copy any field (branch) and paste it as text into any text editor (e.g. Notepad). You can copy entire records if you wish to, but they cannot be pasted as new records within Family Historian. Unlike fields, records can only be pasted as text – e.g. into a text editor. To make this clear, if you select a record ‘Copy’ will be renamed ‘Copy as Text’ on both the Edit menu, and on the right-click context menu.
  • In the past, if you had copied a source citation, you would have seen Paste Citation on the menu that appears when you right-clicked on a field in the Records Window (or All tab of the Property Dialog). There is no longer a special menu command for it – just use Paste (as with any other copied data).
4. Enhancements to Sources
  • There is now a new Type field for sources, which allows you to specify, for each source record, what kind of source it is. The choice of values for this field is up to the user (e.g. you might prefer to use general terms like ‘certificate’, or more detailed terms like ‘birth certificate’). The field supports auto-completion, and there is a new Work with Data dialog for Source types which is accessible either by double-clicking on any source type field (or pressing the button with 3 dots next to it); or by clicking on Tools > Work with Data > Source Types. The dialog allows you to edit, view and merge source types as you can with other auto-completion fields. You can also view records that use a given source type and jump to them.
  • There is also a new report for source types: Data – Source Types.
  • On the Source tab of the Report Options dialog (for reports that support Sources) there are 2 new options: (a) Combine Identical Citations for Same Source and (b) Use ‘Ibid’ for repeated citations to same source. The first can significantly reduce the number of citations for a report. The second can reduce the length of citations. These options are quite independent of each other. You can have either, neither or both.
  • You can now include Text from Source and Notes for source records. You had previously only been able to include Text from Source and Notes for citations only – the assumption being that you would not normally want this kind of information to be repeated for each citation to the same source. However, as you can now combine citations to the same source (even if you wish combining all citations to the same source) it is more likely that you might also want to be able to include Text from Source and Notes from Source records to be included too.
  • You can now disable quotes around Source Titles if you don’t want them. The option is set on the Source tab of the Report Options dialog – just to the right of the check box for including Source Titles.
  • See also New and Changed Queries below for more enhancements relating to Sources.
5. Changes to the Property Dialog

Already mentioned: new support for multiple selection in the Events tab, and in the All tab of the Property Dialog. Support for copy-and-paste and new copy/paste menu commands in the Events tab toolbar Menu button’s dropdown menu. Plus:

  • A new field ‘Sentence’ shows how the event or attribute will appear, given the current data, when displayed as a sentence in a narrative report (see above).
  • You can now specify the contents of the caption of the Property Dialog for each record type. When you do this, you can include any data taken from the record itself – such as Custom Id – so you can configure these captions to show exactly what you want. This is done on the new Property Dialog tab of the Preferences dialog (click on Property Dialog Captions).
  • The Events tab has a slightly improved layout. Events and attributes are now displayed more consistently.
    For Residence, you now specify the place of residence in the usual place field, rather than opposite the label as previously. Again, this gives greater consistency.
  • The Age field is no longer hidden for the Birth event. The label is greyed, but the field itself is editable. This may seem anomalous, and of course the field should normally be left blank. But if a child is stillborn, this is specified using the Age field (if you double-click on the field you will see that ‘Stillborn’ is a possible value for this field).
  • You can now re-order local notes and shared notes (i.e. links to note records) relative to each other in the Notes tab of the Property Dialog. Previously these were kept entirely separate.
  • The Online Help for the Events tab of the Property Dialog has been rewritten and considerably extended.
6. New and Changed Queries
  • There is a new query Sources for Given Record. This allows you to select a record (any type of record) and it shows you all the sources cited within that record. In the case of Individual records, it will show you not just sources cited for the Individual record, but also any sources cited for spouse family records associated with that Individual record.
  • The standard query Links to Sources has been removed, and replaced with the more general Source Records – All which includes not just the number of citations, but all the basic information about each source.
  • The queries Ancestors, Descendants, and All Relatives have all been enhanced to provide more useful information, and to make them more useful for selecting records for reports (the records found now appear in a sensible order). A new query Immediate Family has been added, to make it easy to select a person’s immediate family for reports (using Add Using Query in the “Select Records” dialog box, when opening a report).
7. Enhancements to Diagrams
  • The Diagram menu now has a new Save Diagram As submenu, which allows you to save diagrams as image files in 9 different formats, including JPEG, Enhanced Metafile, Windows Metafile and TIFF.
  • Diagram Statistics, available from the Diagram menu, now provides more useful information, including the size that the Diagram would be if printed.
  • You can now set the selection colour (the colour of the little boxes that appear round something when you click on it). This colour can be set in the usual way (in the diagram colours listing it is listed as ‘Selection’). The default selection colour is now dark blue, irrespective of the current system selection colour. You can either override this to set a specific colour if you want, or you can choose ‘System’ if you want the system colour to be used. This feature is particularly useful if you use one of XP’s silver colour schemes, as otherwise the selection colour can get lost against the default background colours which are very similar.
  • If you use diagram-based editing, to add relatives by clicking-and-dragging, the procedure has been slightly simplified. When you release the button to add a relative, in the past, the menu that appeared would prompt you to add a parent or child. Now it prompts you to add either a father or mother, or a son or daughter. This means that the sex is automatically filled in when the new record is added, making one less field to enter. If you wish to add a child without specifying their sex, add them as either a son or daughter, and then clear the sex in the Property Dialog, after the record has been created.
  • See also Mouse Wheel and Zooming below.

In the past, there has sometimes been a problem with viewing and printing very wide diagrams if your version of Windows was Windows 95, 98 or ME, owing to limitations of these versions of Windows. There has been no equivalent problem with Windows XP, 2000 or NT4. Various enhancements have been made to make it easier for users of Windows 95, 98 and ME to overcome some of these problems. These include:

  • A new Large Chart Settings button has been added to the Dimensions tab of the Diagram Options dialog. Clicking on this button causes settings to be changed to make them suitable for displaying and viewing very wide diagrams. Users are warned that they should not use these settings unless they have to. They will know if they need to use the settings or not, when they come to display a very wide diagram, because, if the diagram is too wide (for Windows 95, 98 or ME – remember that none of this applies to users of Windows XP, 2000 or NT4) a message will warn them that the diagram is too wide and suggest that they use Large Chart Settings for this diagram. There is also advice and information in the Online Help about viewing and printing very wide diagrams (click on the Large Chart Settings button in the Dimensions tab of the Diagram Options dialog, and then click on the Help button of the dialog box that appears).
  • A new option Use printer default line thickness has been added to the Print tab of the Diagram Options dialog. This option can be used at any time and will usually have the effect of making printed lines thinner than normal. The option is primarily useful, however, when Large Chart Settings have been enabled, as without it, all lines in printed diagrams would be much too thick.
  • A new text scheme “Name, Birth, Marr, Death & Places (Abbr.)” has been added to the standard list of text schemes. This is also designed to help with large chart printing. Some diagrams can be very wide because the place information displayed in each box is itself very wide. This text scheme uses the MEDIUM qualifier for each place name, to ensure that it is not too long.
8. Mouse Wheel and Zooming
  • The Diagram Window, Multimedia Window and Report Window now all support the mouse wheel for scrolling up and down.
  • All 3 windows now also support the mouse wheel for zooming in and out (you have to press the Ctrl key while turning the mouse wheel). You can also now zoom in and out by pressing Num+, Num-, Ctrl+K, Ctrl+L in the Report and Multimedia Windows, as you have always been able to do in the Diagram Window. In the Report and Multimedia Window you must make sure that the focus is on the report/picture when you do this. Click on the report or picture to give it the focus if zooming doesn’t appear to be working.
  • In the Report Window, the affect of mouse wheel scrolling depends on the location of the mouse when you turn the wheel. There are 3 areas of significance. If the mouse is over the report itself, you will scroll up and down within that report page. If the mouse is over the rightmost scrollbar, you will scroll up and down throughout the entire report (moving from page to page). If the mouse is over the spin control in the top right corner (opposite the page number), it will scroll you forwards and backwards between report pages, but keeping to the same position within the report page (as clicking on the spin control does). In other words, the mouse wheel can be made to emulate the actions of the inner scrollbar, the outer scrollbar, or the spin control, depending on where the mouse is when you turn the wheel.
9. Place Name Enhancements
  • Some users like to use a standard policy for separating out the various parts of a place name. For example, they might prefer to always make the country the 3rd item. If they only know the village and country they might choose to add extra commas to achieve the desired separation: e.g. “Hexham,, England”. Family Historian now has various feature to support this: the existing SHORT and MEDIUM qualifiers for place names now ignore redundant commas (even redundant leading commas) and don’t reproduce them when displaying the short or medium versions of the place (e.g. the MEDIUM qualifier would render the above as “Hexham, England” with only one comma. A new qualifier ‘TIDY’ shows the full place, with all parts, but removes redundant commas.
10. Changes to Preferences

The Preferences dialog has been re-organised to group items more logically, and make them easier to find. Also you have the following new preferences:

  • You can now completely customise the caption for the Property Dialog, for each record type. So, for example, you can get the Property Dialog to show a person’s Custom Id instead of, or as well as, their Record Id.
  • You can opt for Backup file names to be generated using the date in year/month/day order. This means that if you sort by backup file name, they will all be in sensible order.
  • A new Narrative Report Options button on the General tab allows you to set a template to be used when generating sentences for custom events and attributes.
11. User Manual Changes
  • The User Manual now has an Index.
  • If you display the Bookmarks area for the User Manual, each chapter (and the Contents and Index) now has a bookmark
  • Clicking on any entry in the Contents listing of the User Manual jumps you to that section.
  • The User Manual has also been modified to reflect other changes, such as the changes with respect to the Tutorial Files.
12. Other Improvements
  • The User Manual makes reference to a number of ‘pre-cooked’ Tutorial files that you can use in conjunction with the tutorials in the User Manual. These files are now all accessible from the Help menu.
  • A new File Statistics menu item (on the File menu) shows the full path name of the current file and the number of records of each record type.
  • In the past, when you have wanted to know what a particular field (GEDCOM ‘tag’) was used for, you could find this out by opening the Query Window, selecting the Columns tab, and selecting each field (tag) in turn. A description for the field would appear in a box below the Fields list. The same description is now shown in the Data Reference Assistant dialog box. This is the dialog box that is displayed when you click on the Insert Data Reference button in the Text tab of the Diagram Options dialog. The same dialog box is also used if you create a custom column in the Records Window, or define a custom field in a report.
  • You can now Play any file in the Multimedia Window, and not just ones that Family Historian does not support natively. So, for example, you could use the Play button (on the Multimedia Window toolbar) to open your preferred editor for JPEGs. The menu command equivalent, on the Multimedia menu, has now been renamed Play/Open in Default Editor.
  • If you switch focus away from Family Historian and then switch back to it, it will warn you if the file has been changed by another application and ask if you wish to reload it.
  • There are 3 new relationship types: Step; Step (father); and Step (mother). The display of relationship information in the Records Window has been improved and simplified.
  • The default font for the Records Window is now Arial 10pt, where it used to be MS Sans Serif 8pt. The larger size is easier for most people to read.
  • The implementation of custom events and attributes has been reworked and improved.
  • There have been numerous minor enhancements to improve the look of the program. For example, the look of certain fields within the Query Window has been improved.
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