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Legacy 101 - Customizing Legacy

One of the fun things to do is customizing Legacy to make it look and function just like you want. If you go to Options > Customize you will see 12 tabs of customization options. 

Customize Legacy screen
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I am going to do something a little bit backwards. I am going to show you how to save all of your settings right up front. Many users don't realize that once you have your settings just the way you want them you can save them. Why is this important? Sometimes when there is an update certain settings get put back to the defaults. This can't be helped when there are some changes in the programming code. You can get your settings back with a simple mouse click. Also, you might want to try out some new settings. If you don't like them you can click right back to your original settings. If you click the "Options for Default Settings" at the bottom of the screen you will see this.

Options for default settings
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You can see that you can save your settings, reset to your settings, and you can reset to the Legacy defaults. I need to explain one thing. Notice that you have a choice between saving ALL of your settings (my choice), GLOBAL settings, or Family File Settings. When you are looking at the individual options you will see that they will be followed by either (gbl) or by (ff). The (gbl) means it is a global setting and it will affect all of your family files, if you have more than one. The (ff) means it is family file specific and you will have to set it for each one of your family files. That is why there are three different options for saving. I personally save everything because I like to keep things simple.

I am not going to go through every tab on this screen. Most of the options are self-explanatory. If you aren't sure, you can click the Help button at the bottom and every option is fully explained. There is one thing I want to point out on the Other Settings tab that people seem to miss. Go to Other Settings and then scroll all the way down to 12.5 Message Boxes. Click the "Turn on or off Optional Reminder Messages" button. You will see 4 tabs of settings for a total of 42 options. Make sure you read through these. You can see that on the first tab I don't have many things checked because I have been using Legacy for a very long time and I need less reminders. The two things that you do see checked I highly recommend that you also check. If you are new I would check backup option when doing certain tasks in Legacy.

Optional Reminder Messages
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I am going to show you all of the other places that also have options that you can set. On the main toolbar go to Options. Some of these are shortcuts to things that are found in the main Customize menu but a couple are only found on this toolbar, Set Alarm, Edit Compiler (though you can access this one via the Report Options menu), QuickDup Options and Select Language. Each of these has instructions and a Help button.

Options toolbar
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On the Legacy Home tab, over on the right you will see an Options button. Click that and then click Options again. There are two tabs of options and you will want to look at both.

Internet options
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Reminder options
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Here are the options for the Family View. If you mouse click the labels, you can change what is displayed. You will click Customize (the other entries you see are my saved options. We will get to that in a sec).

Family View labels menu
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You can have up to five labels. You can always go back to the defaults by clicking the Defaults button over on the right. You can save up to 10 different configurations by clicking the Save button and then you can change to one of your other configurations by clicking the Load button.

Labels customize screen
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When you click the above button you will see that you have 98 different things you can choose from!

List of options
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If you right mouse click in the white space next to the word Children, or if you right click on any child in the Children's List and then select View , you will see another customization menu (depending on where you right click you will get a slightly different menu). You can see I have my Children's List set to three columns. I am not using the other options. Try them all out!

Children's List options
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I will tell you that if you choose the Scrolling Grid you will be able to customize it further. If you mouse click in the header area you will get a menu where you can customize which columns will appear in your grid. You can have up to 15 columns.  This dialog box works exactly like the dialog box you got when you clicked on the Family View labels. As with the Family View Labels, you can Save and then Load different configurations.

Scrolling Grid options
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The Pedigree View can also be customized. Right click in the blank space in the upper left and that will bring up the menu. I have mine set for 4 generations and no child/spouse and Siblings Lists visible. In the second screenshot I have changed it to 5 generations and I have all lists showing. I have my screen at half size for the screenshots. Your screens will have more room.

Pedigree View options
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Togged to show 5 generations and lists
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To customize the Descendant View click the Options button over on the right. There are two screens of options, Customize Display and Customize Columns (the Zoom will change the Font size, I normally leave the Zoom on automatic so that Legacy will redraw the font size when I resize the screen).

Descendant tab options
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Customize Display is pretty self-explanatory but there is a Help button on this screen if you need it.

Customize Display options
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The Customize Columns works just like two of the screens you have already seen. You have 14 columns to work with. You can also save sets of custom columns that you can switch between by using the Save and Load buttons.

Descendant View customize columns
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The Chronology View has a lot of options. The first is whether you want to see it in Report Style or List Style. In the screenshot you will see Report Style. List Style is in a grid which looks similar to a spreadsheet.

Report Style
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To get to the remainder of the options, click the Options button in the bottom right and then click Display Options. You have six tabs of options. If you are not sure what something will do, click the Help button on these screens.

Display options
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Ah but we aren't done yet. You can customize the My Toolbar tab on the main toolbar. Click the little down arrow thingie (technical term). This is where you can add, subtract and rearrange the icons that you want to see. You drag the ones you want from the bottom and then drop them on the toolbar. You drag the ones you don't want from the toolbar to the background white space to remove them. You can rearrange the icons on the toolbar by dragging and dropping.

Customizing the My Toolbar
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You do the exact same thing with the Husband and Wife toolbar. This time look for the word Design in the upper right corner. To the right of that is another down arrow thingie. Click that and then select Toolbars > Husb/Wife Toolbars.

Customize Husb/Wife Toolbars
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When you click the down arrow thingie next to the word Design, you will also see more options that govern the overall look of the Main Toolbar. You will see Styles, Fonts and Animation. Also, if you click the Toolbars entry again, besides the Husb/Wife Toolbar you will see the My Toolbar (which you already know how to customize) and the Quick Access Toolbar. The Quick Access Toolbar are the little shortcut icons above (or below) the main toolbar. Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar works identical to the My Toolbar and the Husb/Wife Toolbar (drag and drop). 

Quick Access Toolbar
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Reports and Charts have their own options and you will find that information in separate Legacy 101 articles. There are some advanced options that we won't be discussing in this series but you now know how to coustomize plenty of options to get Legacy looking just like you want.


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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Your usual great job with this is outstanding! Of course I read all those when I first started using Legacy but I have forgotten many of them. It was nice to go back and implement a few more of them.

I haven't got (as far as I know), any ancestors or family who came, or went out of the UK.
Sometimes, I wish there were ways to make the program, More English, shall we say.
Also, how do I stop the program, automatically assume that a couple should have children, nine months after getting married. Most women these days for instance, don't think about getting pregnant as soon as they wed. They have careers, saving for house, etc to think about, and also don't have children, one after the other. Maybe I missed that in the customisation details.

I am not sure what you mean by "more English." It doesn't matter where in the world you are researching. I do research in several different countries to include the UK.

You are talking about the "Gaps" in the Potential Problems. You can customize the numbers by going to Tools > Potential Problems and then select the Gaps tab. Be on the lookout for an upcoming article, Legacy 101 - Potential Problems, that will explain the Potential Problems in depth.

Great tips, but on the Family View I saw relationships posted in the blank spaces below each set of parents, but I saw no instructions on how to get them there. I would like to use that feature, and I haven't been able to figure out how to do it. Thanks!

Michelle, thank you. It has been many years since i checked out options and i see there are a ton more than i remember. I'll have to spend some time checking them out. Thanks again.

Anyone know where i can find a lengthy list of uses for hashtags? They sound like such a good idea but i can't quite see where to use them.

To get the relationship labels, go to TOOLS > SET RELATIONSHIPS and make sure your name is in the box. Now set the relationships and you will see the labels :)

If you are on Facebook I highly recommend joining our Legacy User Group here There are over 16,000 members and it is monitored by some of the Legacy staff, some of our beta testers and some of our translators. You can do a search of the group for the word Hashtag and you will see quite a few conversations where people are talking about how they use hashtags.

I use Hashtags for two things... 1) DNA 2) FANs (linking friends, associates, and neighbors together for my brick wall ancestors)

Thanks Michelle! Neat tool!! I never would have figured out how to set those relationships by myself.

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