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How to create a 2009 birthday/anniversary calendar using Legacy Family Tree

How to Create a Family Tree Bookmark

If you are looking for an inexpensive gift idea that the whole family can enjoy, create a family tree bookmark. Using Legacy Charting and a little creativity, your bookmarks will be the talk of the family this year.

(Front - a 3-generation descendancy chart. The background is an aerial photograph of our home.)

(Back - a birthday calendar listing the dates and ages of each member of the family.)

Using Legacy Charting and a word processor, these bookmarks measure 6.5" x 1.5". The steps below demonstrate how to duplicate this example, but feel free to get creative.

Step 1 - Add the pictures to Legacy

After collecting and digitizing your family's "mug shots", add the pictures to each individual in Legacy. (Watch a video on how to do this by clicking on the Pictures link in this video.) I cropped each picture so they all shared the same dimensions of 161 pixels by 231 pixels. There's nothing special about those dimensions except that each mug shot is the same size.

Step 2 - Launch Legacy Charting

In Legacy, navigate to the starting person of the desired family and launch Legacy Charting by clicking on the Charting icon in the main toolbar. Click here to see where this button is. If you don't have this button, either you haven't yet installed Legacy 7, or the button hasn't been added to your toolbar. Click here for instructions on adding this button to your toolbar.

Step 3 - Choose the chart type, # of generations, and theme

  • Select the Descendant Standard chart.
  • On the Home tab, change the # of generations to 3.
  • On the Appearance tab, click on the Themes button and double-click on the Mug Shot theme. You should now have a 3-generation descendancy chart with pictures of each individual.

Step 4 - Fine tune the text

  • Because I only want the given names to appear with the picture, on the Appearance tab, click on the Box Items button.
  • Turn off the checkmark next to Life Span.
  • Click on the Name option in the Items to Display section.
  • Then, in the Item Options, change the format to: First.
  • Change the font size to 24.
  • Finally, click on the Italics button in the Settings section. Click OK.

Step 5 - Other fine tuning

  • Turn off the page border by going to the Appearance tab > Borders section and clicking on the Page button. Click on No page border.
  • Turn off the title, also on the Appearance tab, by clicking on the Title button and deselecting the Show Title option.
  • Increase the line size by clicking on the Line button in the Borders section of the Appearance tab. I set the line width to 6 and changed the line color to black. This will help make the lines visible when the chart size is reduced later on for printing.

Step 6 - Add a background

This one's your choice. You can choose to include a background or not. It can be any of the backgrounds that is included in Legacy Charting, or you can use your own digital picture. To add a background, follow these instructions. In this example, I chose a picture of the house where we grew up. I changed the Display Options to Stretch to Frame and set the Transparency to 25%.

Step 7 - Adjust the sizing

If the picture boxes are too close together, use the Sizing Options button on the Appearance tab to make adjustments. I set the Space option to 1". The larger the space between pictures, the skinnier the bookmark will eventually be.

Timeout - Create a new theme

Steps 4-7 can be eliminated in the future if right now I take the time to save my fine-tuning as a new theme. On the Appearance tab, click on the Themes button. Click on the Create New Theme link and call it Bookmark. Now, in the future, if you want to quickly create another bookmark, just select this theme.

Step 8 - Export to File

Now that the bookmark is complete, click on the Publish tab, then click on Export to File. I chose to export to TIFF. When you select the Location and File Name, just remember where you are saving it. Click OK. The front of the bookmark is now ready to print. However, my bookmark is still 42.5" wide by 11" tall. The next step will take care of this.

Step 9 - Insert the bookmark image into a word processor

Using your favorite word processor (I use Microsoft Word 2007), insert the picture into the document. Using Word 2007, click on the Insert menu and click on the Picture button. Word will automatically resize the picture to fit within the margins. Word tells me that my bookmark is now 6.5" wide by 1.5" tall.

Step 10 - Add the birthdays for the back of the bookmark

If you want, you can print the bookmark at this point without adding anything to its back side. To add the birthdays to the back, you'll need to create a text box of the same size as the picture. But first, press <Control-End> on your keyboard to ensure that the cursor is at the end of the document. Then, press <Control-Enter> to start page 2.

Now, insert a text box. In Word 2007, click on the Insert menu, click on Text Box, and select the first choice. Now, adjust the size of the text box to have the same dimensions as your image.

Now you'll need to change the text direction. In Word 2007, in the Text section in the upper left, just click on the Text Direction button a couple of times until the text is turned sideways, as is displayed in the bookmark example above. Here, type in the birthdays for everyone in the family. I also typed how old each person will be in the upcoming year.

Finally, I turned off the Text Box's outline by clicking on the Shape Outline button and choosing a white outline.

Step 11 - Print and laminate

You're ready to print the bookmarks now. If your printer does not have the ability to print double-sided, just print the first page, refeed the paper into your printer, and print the second page. You'll just need to experiment with your printer to get the paper turned the right direction. Because both the image and the text box are identical in size, the bookmark should print perfectly, front-and-back.

Print as many as you want. I printed one for each person in the picture. Using a paper cutter (or really straight scissors), cut the bookmark. Take them to a copy store to have them laminated.

Step 12 - Mail

No explanation necessary, I hope.... :)

Other ideas

I'm always looking for other creative uses of Legacy Charting. Please share your ideas and successes using the comments section below.


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Wow - you continue to amaze me with your innovations. This is a great idea to do in the next few weeks.
This brings up a small request. I find I often want to print the items in legacynews for later use. (Yes I know I can use split screens, second monitors etc. but when following detailed direction I am of the generation that likes a printed copy.) Is there an easy way to print out a text only item from legacynews?
Thanks again for all the great work.

Helen - you could just right-click on the page and select the Print option.

This is a great idea, and I'll definitely have to give it a go!

@Helen - I think if you do a print preview you should see that through the 'magic' of stylesheets, it only prints the main column. This works in Firefox, but I believe it works also in Internet Explorer if that's what you're using.

Regarding printing an article, this is the way I like best. Highlight all the text you want to print, right click and select Print. On the screen that appears, check the radio button that says "selection" and click Print. Only the parts you have highlighted will be printed. Perfect for printing instructions such as that for your great bookmark idea!

I have 2 granddaughters and would like them both on the same bookmark. Once you select the descendant chart, is there any way you can have it come from both children? I tried copying and pasting, but that didn't work. Any ideas?

Is there a way to remove someone from the chart? If someone is divorced or deceased?

Is there a wall to create an "all-in-one" chart? I want a chart that will show everyone in my file

Is there a way to omit certain people in the Chart. There is a bitter ex-wife no one wants to remember as she left the husband and children but is still included in the family tree.

Thank you for posting how to do this. We will definitely be making them for our next reunion!

What a great idea - the cousins wil all be getting these for christms i think the back on mine, will include the information how to work out degrees of relationship instead though as i seem to be the only member of the family who can work it out!!!!

Ken - yes, you can exclude individuals from the chart. To do this, in Legacy, you'll first need to mark the person as Private. The privacy button is found on the Individual's Information screen. Then in Legacy Charting, click on the Privacy Options button on the Home tab.

Cynthia - not yet. This is on the list of things to do.

This is such a clever idea. It's a great way to generate some interest in the family genealogy from all those in the tree who say that they're really not interested. Well done!

I have a problem with divorces etc. One person has children to 3 wives. Two of those wives had children before their marriage. To get all the children but not their mothers I saved a new family file and deleted the extra mothers and linked all the children with the one father. For the people that are known by their second name I deleted the first names. I called that database the birthday file so I did not get too confused. Hope that helps someone with a family like mine.

I first bought Legacy 4 years ago and have never regretted it. I continue to be impressed with the tweaking and innovation and this is yet another example of how to get the most out of the program. This one in particular should generate some interest by other family members. They are all getting one.

Did I miss something in the directions? I can not get the .tif image from "Legacy Charting" into the Word Processor with size of 6.5 x 1.5. How do I set that size? Is it in "Legacy Charting" or the word processor?
Neat Idea!

Peggy - if you're using Word 2007, it will automatically resize the picture to the width of the page. If you're using something else, you can usually right-click on the picture where you'll have an option to change the picture's size.

I have been trying this in Word 2003 and my image,when re-sized to fit the 6.5 X1.5, has all the photos with smushed faces. I am guessing the Word 2007 is the only way this works. I have tried a number of ways for several hours. Great idea but I can't make it work Irene

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