Tuesday's Tip - Custom Event Sentences (Advanced)
November 13, 2018
Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.
Custom Event Sentences (Advanced)
It would be pretty hard for me to write a step-by-step tutorial for this topic because there are so many different ways you can go with the event definitions. Instead, I have listed some tips that will make the entire process go smoother. So why would you want to edit the default sentences anyway? This is a VERY powerful way to get your reports to read out exactly like you want. The default sentences are pretty generic but you can customize them to make your reports more interesting to read.
There are two ways to get to the Edit screen. The first is to go to View > Master Lists > Event Definition. Highlight the event you want to work with and click Edit over on the right.
The second way is to access it from an individual's Edit Event screen. This is a bit of a shortcut in that it will bypass the Event Master List and take you directly to the Edit screen for that specific event. Simply click the Edit Event Sentence Definition button.
Now that you know where to find the Edit screen, here are the tips:
Until you get good at this there will be a lot of trial and error involved. You will need to create and preview reports to test your sentences. One way to make your reports load faster is limit them to 2 generations, deselect the Table of Contents, Indexes, and Title Page, and untick every option on every tab EXCEPT the event boxes. Don't forget to click the Event Options button and tick every box there. On the Format tab click the Event Narrative Format button. You will need to run your sentences through different scenarios to make sure they work everywhere. This is easier if you always use the exact same event options but I don't so this is important to me. If you need help with the Report Options you can refer to Legacy 101 - Reports.
For your sentences to work right you need to be consistent with how you enter your data. You can build in some if-then scenarios which will take into consideration any unavoidable inconsistencies but as a general rule you should be entering each event type in a consistent manner.
You can customize both Events and Roles using the same "codes." When you customize a role, that customization will be specific to the role that is tied to the event you are working with. This is important to understand if you have the same role name connected to multiple events. For example, you might have the role "Witness" for several different events. Customizing one does not effect the others. As with events, you can get to the roles in two ways. The first is from the Add/Edit an Event Definition screen. Click the Roles for those Sharing this Event tab, highlight the role you want to edit, and then click the Edit Role button at the bottom.
You will see a Reset button on the Edit screen. If you click that you will see two options. One will reset your sentences back to the Legacy defaults but the other option will allow you to load the sentences from another event. This is a great time saver. Once you get one event just the way you like it, you can use those sentences as a template so that all you have to do is minor tweaking instead of starting from scratch every time. You can of course do this with roles as well.
On the Master Event Definition screen you will see that you can tag events I like to tag an event when I have finished constructing the sentences for that event so that I can see at a glance which ones have been done. This is just the way I use the Tags. You might already be using them for something else.
Give Yourself a Head Start
It is very likely that there are unused default events on your Master Event Definition List. You don't want to create sentences for events that you don't even use. You can purge these unused events. While on the Master Event Definition List screen, go to Options > Purge Unused. UNcheck the box that says Restore all original Event Types to this list.
For example, you can only use [CoupleNames] in Marriage Events and not in Individual Events. Why? If you were to try and use this code for an individual event Legacy would have no way to know which spouse you mean if the person has been married more than once.
The Windows formatting codes work here and the code will be visible so that you know exactly what you have done. Highlight the text you want to give an attribute to and then...
CTRL+SHIFT++(the plus sign)=Superscript
Bold «b» «/b»
Italics «i» «/i»
Underline «u» «/u»
Superscript «sup» «/sup»
The Event Override
When you enter an event for someone you will notice that there is an Override tab. You can actually use the codes here but I wouldn't because it is a lot of work for something that will apply just to this one event. The only way it would be worth your while is if you are planning to change some of the details and you want the sentence to update itself. What I do instead is I simply type the sentence exactly the way I want it to read out. The override works well for unusual events that need to be worded in a way that the event definitions won't be able to do.
I already warned you about purging unused events to make sure that you don't accidentally reset everything back to the defaults but there is another place you need to be careful and that is in the List Cleanup (File > File Maintenance > List Cleanup). Make sure that the box next to Event Definitions is NOT checked!
If you change languages you will lose your custom sentences. If you need to change languages, please work on a copy of your file (my preference) or backup your file and then restore that backup when you are done. Many of our reports allow you to change the report language without changing the underlying language of Legacy itself.
Fun Bonus Feature!
Unless you are one of those people that REALLY pays attention to the Help File this is a feature that you might miss. You can customize the sample sentences that Legacy displays! Notice that the sample sentence has Seattle as a place name. I am a southern girl so Seattle has to go. If you click the little blue box a simple text file will pop up and you can make edits (for more info, please click the Help button on this screen).
I only made a simple change to the location for this screenshot but you can completely customize the sentences. You will have to do this for the male individual event, female individual event, and the marriage event (there is a drop down box for these).
I hope these tips will help you get started in customizing your event/role sentences without too much fear. Your reports will thank you.
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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