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Legacy 101 - Charts

The Legacy Charting program is included when you purchase Legacy. A limited version is also included with the free Standard Version of Legacy. It is both a standalone program and one that you can access from within Legacy itself. I mention this because if you open Legacy Charting from outside of Legacy the initial screens will look different than when you open it from within Legacy. Why? Because if you open it as a standalone program you will be asked which file you want to use for your chart. If you open it from within Legacy it will assume you want to use the file you have open.

Let's start with what you will see when you open Legacy Charting as a standalone program. 

Charting as a standalone program
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After you click Create a New Chart you will see this.

List of usable files
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I doubt you will have as many usable files as I do but you can see that there are several different file formats that Legacy Charting can use, not just Legacy files. Once you select the file you want to use you will see this.

Select a chart type
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We will stop there and go on to what you will see if you open Legacy Charting from within Legacy itself. You can get to Legacy Charting from either the Reports Toolbar or the MyToolbar. Your MyToolbar will look a little different than mine because mine has been customized.

Charting on Reports Toolbar
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Charting on the MyToolbar
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When you open the program you will see the same screen as where we left off when using Legacy Charting as a standalone program so we will continue on from here.

Select a chart screen
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You will create your chart first and then change the options. Select one of the charts and Legacy will create it using whatever settings you last used. If this is the first time you have created that particular chart it will create it with the defaults. We will use the Standard Ancestor Chart as an example (the very first chart).

Standard Ancestor Chart
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The chart pops up using the last options that selected. We won't be able to go over every possible option but we will hit the highlights. Over on the left you will see a vertical stack of icons. You will also see a horizontal line of icons at the very top. If you hover your mouse over each icon you will get a popup telling you what that icon does. You can also click the Legacy Charting icon in the extreme upper left corner to bring up another menu.

Icon tooltips
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On the Home tab you can start a new chart, change the anchor person for the chart, change the number of generations, show or not show duplicate lines, and you can set your privacy options.

Home tab
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The Appearance tab is where you will find most of your options for jazzing up your chart. Legacy Charting has some built in themes that will give you a head start.  You can also change your colors. The Box Items is where you will tell Legacy what exactly you want to be displayed in your boxes. I will expand on that a little further down because there is something I don't want you to miss there. You can change your page, box and line border styles and thicknesses, you can change your box sizes and the distances between boxes and generations. You can add a background. There are some default backgrounds that you can choose from but you can also add your own. You can customize the title of your chart.

Appearance tab
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The Insert tab lets you add text boxes and images to the white space in your chart to add extra information and interest.

Insert tab
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The Export tab is where you can print your chart, export it to several different file formats, email your chart to someone, or you can order a chart to be professionally printed.

Publish tab
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The Help & Options tab is where you will set your general options, access the help file, see the version of Legacy Charting you are using, technical support links, and you can change your chart to several different supported languages.

Help & Options
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The Tips & Updates tab shows your installed version (the program will automatically be updated when you update Legacy), a link to our main website, and a list of helpful articles. You will see a summary of the article at the bottom of the screen but if you double click the article itself you will be taken to the full article.

Tips and Updates
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I want to go back to the Box Items option on the Appearances tab because some users have trouble with this. Here is what you will see.

Box Items options
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You can move the available items from the left box to the middle. Even if they are in the middle they won't be included in your chart unless they are checked. Also, you need to highlight each item in the middle box and you will see options pop up over on the right for you to consider. You can change the font at the bottom for each item as well.

There are two more hints I want to give you. There is a xDNA chart but it isn't a chart per se. It is a color scheme and some users don't find this right away. Select a Half Fan Chart and then go to Appearance > Color. Select DNA X Chromosome from the drop down list. You can change the colors for the xDNA inherited from males vs. females.

xDNA Chart
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The last thing I want to talk about is the difference between SAVING a chart and EXPORTING a chart. When you save a chart it is saved in a .lwcx format. You will be asked if you want to save the chart when you exit. You can also save a chart by using the Save icon in the top row of icons on the screen or you can click the blue Legacy Charting icon in the extreme upper left corner which brings up a menu that includes saving. If you save your chart in the .lwcx format, you can open that chart again and edit it. If you have made changes in the main Legacy file you can click the Refresh icon (bottom icon in the vertical stack of icons on the left) and it will automatically update your chart. If you have exported your chart as a PDF, BMP, JPEG, PNG or TIFF file you will not be able to edit these. This is what you do when you are ready to send a file to someone.

Legacy Charting has many different charts to choose from and many options within each chart so that you can design something that you will be proud to display on your wall or send to your family members.


View a Compilation of all Legacy 101 articles


Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.


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I would like to print a shortened chart showing just parents and two of their ten children only, plus their descendants. I have tagged the individuals but cannot find out how to produce such a chart.

You can do this two ways. You can temporarily mark the children that you don't want listed as descendants as Invisible. If you do that, none of their descendants will show up either.

You can export this family group using tagging to a new Legacy File (a temporary one) and create your chart there. You would not include the children and their descendants that you don't want in the chart.


I am running the spanish version. Why you called "particular" instead of "Invisible"?

I do what you said, and it works in reports like Family Group, but when I use the Legacy Chart, still appears the person that I selected as "Invisible"or "Particular" in spanish.

What could I do wrong?

Please send an email to [email protected] because I can't reproduce what you are seeing. One of the techs will diagnose what is going on :)

I use the fan chart to make a DNA chart. I highlight every person with whom I share DNA. I have been able to validate my research on ancestral lines this way and it is quite impressive to see.


How do you "highlight" people? Do you have different highlights for people who have been DNA tested v. DNA confirmed?


Thank you so much for this tutorial!! I use Legacy Charting a lot and always have trouble figuring out how to do things. This will help immensely.

Often I want to produce a pedigree chart which includes 10 or more generations. These charts contain many pages. Unfortunately for my purposes, each page in the report restarts with the genealogical number 1 instead of the sequential number.

This causes me to have to manually renumber each page so that I can have a sensible discussion with someone else regarding certain lines. Are there any plans to produce pedigree charts with the correct genealogical number?

I am going to assume you are referring to the Pedigree Chart Report in Legacy, not the one in Legacy Charting.

There is a suggestion in our tracker to change this to a true Ahnentafel numbering instead of the numbers starting over.

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