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Managing Client Files in Legacy

Managing Client Files in Legacy

This article assumes that you are comfortable using Legacy (not for beginners).

There are a lot of certified, accredited, and professional genealogists that use Legacy not only for their personal genealogy but also for their client files. There is a nifty file structure trick that will not only keep everything organized for you but will also make it easy for you to send a client's file to them that has all of their data and media. They will be able the open it in Legacy and continue their research without having to worry about broken media links. If your client doesn't already use Legacy, you can give them the link to download the free Standard Version which will give them access to everything you have sent and a link to our collection of Legacy 101 Articles to help them get started on the right foot. 

Each client will have a folder. Inside that folder will be his/her data file and a folder for their media. Where you keep this folder of client files doesn't matter a bit. They are self-contained and will have internal links between the data and the media. You can move these files on your computer on a whim and you will never have to worry about broken links.  If you send the client their entire folder, they too can put it anywhere on their computer, access it, and have no broken media links though the instructions I send the client puts the folder within the Legacy file hierarchy. For illustrative purposes I have the client files in a folder directly on my C: drive. 

Client Files
(click image to enlarge)

If you open one of the client folders this is what you will see:

Client Folder
(click image to enlarge)

Everything is nice and tidy. 

To prepare the file to send, right click their folder and select Send To > Compressed (Zipped) Folder. You will be sending them this zip file. I like to park the client's file on cloud storage and then send them a download link  You can also email the zip to them using a free service such as WeTransfer. Chances are the zip file will be too large to send via regular email if there are a lot of attached documents/photos. 

Here are the instructions to send to the client. You will need to substitute the name of their file:

1) [explain how you are getting the file to them]

2) Download the file and then double click it to open it. Inside you will see a file folder named Doe. You need to copy this entire folder (don't open it) to the \Documents\Legacy Family Tree\Data folder. If you have done this correctly, when you open the Windows Documents folder you will see the Legacy Family Tree folder inside. If you open that folder you should see a folder named Doe. Here is the full file path:
\Documents\Legacy Family Tree\Data\Doe

3) Now open Legacy. The Sample file should automatically be on your screen. Go to File > Open File. Use the Windows dialog box to navigate to \Documents\Legacy Family Tree\Data\Doe\Doe and open your new file

4) Go to Options > Customize > Locations
In Option 6.1 navigate to the \Documents\Legacy Family Tree\Data\Doe folder using the Change button
In Option 6.2 navigate to the \Documents\Legacy Family Tree\Data\Doe\Doe Media folder using the Change button
Click Save at the bottom

5) Go to Options > Customize > General Settings
In Option 1.2 make sure it is set to Open last used family file automatically

6) Now you can use your new file!


Sending the client your research file will be an added bonus for them and can be a marketing tool for you.


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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Thanks Michele. I've just received my first client and this is perfect timing.

I use Legacy De Luxe if I send this file that I have made for a friend I wonder if they will be able to use it on the standard edition.

Yes. Any file that was created with the deluxe version of Legacy CAN be open with the free standard version of Legacy no problem at all.

I believe that you mean can not can't be opened with the standard free version, right?

That's what I get for trying to answer questions with my phone. Thanks for catching that and I have corrected it. You CAN CAN CAN open Legacy files created in Legacy Deluxe in Legacy Standard. The good news is, I did say this in the original article.

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