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Tuesday's Tip - Report Options Part I (Intermediate)

Report Options Part I

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Report Options Part I (Intermediate)

In Legacy 101 - Reports I gave a general overview of the different reports that are available in Legacy and the different options for each report. I want to go a little more in-depth about the options in this post. I am breaking this up into two posts because there is a lot of information. In this first article I will go over some general information and some of the options screens. The second post will cover the remaining options screen. First some general information.

Different reports have different options
The Chart Reports and the Book Reports have the same options screens BUT not all options are available for each report. If the option is not available for that specific report then it will be greyed out. The other reports have special options screens just for that report since those reports are very different from each other.

Don't forget about the Help button
There is a Help button on every screen and you will get a full explanation of what each option does

The Preview button is your friend
There are A LOT of options and certain options impact other options so it is a good idea to take your time going through and selecting things in different combinations. You can see how the report will look by clicking the Preview button.

The Reset button is also your friend
Sometimes you just need to start over from scratch and that is what the Reset button will do. You will also use this if your report looks wonky. Sometimes the report will get a glitch in the .usr file (the file that holds the option settings) and doing a reset will clear it out.

You can save your settings
Most reports allow you to save a set of options. Some will allow you to save 10 sets and some will allow you to save unlimited sets. This can come in handy in two ways. You might be playing around with the options and get to the point where you just want to go back to your "normal" settings (kind of like a reset) and you can do this by loading your saved options. You might also have a couple of very specific sets of options you use for a report depending on why or for whom you are generating the report. You could have a set that reflects what you want to print for family members and a set that reflects what you want to print for strangers. You could also have a set that prints underlines for missing information (a worksheet) and a set that doesn't or a set with source citations and a set without source citations. There are all kinds of things you can do here. Look for the Save and Load buttons on the main screen of the report options.

There are some options you can set globally for all reports
There are a some report options you can set globally for uniformity. Most (not all) can be overridden in the individual reports. If it can't be overridden you will need to change it in the main options (units of measurement is one of these).

Option 3.3 Letter Case of Surnames
Option 3.5 Format of Names with Titles
Option 3.4 Displaying Surnames
Option 3.7 Location Format
Option 3.10 Term for Christening
Option 3.11 Word for Blank Records
Option 4.7 Units of Measurement
Option 4.8 Time Format
Option 5.1 Dates Displayed As
Option 5.2 Month Format
Option 5.3 Separators for numeric dates
Option 5.4 Double Date Cutoff
Option 5.6 Preposition Before Full Dates on Reports
Option 5.7 Prefixes
Option 7.2 Master Source Defaults
Option 7.3 Source Detail Defaults
Option 7.7 Source List Name
Option 7.8 Citation Formatting
Option 7.9 RTF Citation Style
Option 7.10 Citation Placement on Event Sentences
Option 8.7 Default Family View Labels and Report Wording
Option 8.12 Aunt, Uncle, Niece, Nephew Terms
Option 8.14 Prompt Style
Option 10.2  Master Report Fonts
Option 12.1 Printing Private Individuals, Events, Notes
Option 12.2 Report Credit

Hopefully I didn't miss any!

As you are going through the Report Options you will see things like [FullName]. This is a "code" telling Legacy you want the Full Name of the "anchor person" (starting person) to print for this report. There are several places you can use these codes. You can see a full list of what codes you can use and what they mean. Open the Help File and type in Report. Scroll down a bit until you see Title options. Select that. For those of you that write your own Event Definitions this will look familiar to you. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please read Custom Event Sentences. Having said all of that, you don't have to use these codes. Whenever you see one you can simply delete it and type in whatever it is you want the report to say.

The Publishing Center isn't just for "books"
The Publishing Center allows you to pull in different reports to make a single, cohesive report. Just because you are using the Publishing Center doesn't mean you are putting together some sort of huge family history book. It can be something as simple as a Pedigree Chart plus Family Group Reports for each couple. This is a common combination. The general report settings will apply to the entire "book" and then you can click the Edit Settings for Current Chapter to change things in each individual report. You will notice that there will be things greyed out in the individual report that aren't normally greyed out. That will tell you that that particular option is one of the general options that applies to the entire report as a whole and you will need to go that option screen to make changes. Please see The Publishing Center for more information.

The biggest mistake people make when working with a report is not looking at all of the different option screens. There are tabs and buttons and many times when you click something it will open up even more options. I am going to use the Ancestor Book Report as an example. I am going to show you all of the different screens you can access.  Start by going to Reports > Ancestor Book. This is what you will see.

Ancestor Book Report
(click image to enlarge)

The first thing to notice is that it will open to the Options tab and there are five tabs across the top. This is your main screen. It doesn't matter which tab you have selected you will see the main options at the bottom and on the right side. This is where you will select your report output, Preview and Print, and Save and Load. You can also Reset the report back to the Legacy defaults. This is where you can change who your focus person is for the report.

Click the Change button at the bottom. For most reports the Name List will display so that you can pick someone but some reports allow you to batch print. Here is what you will see if you click the Change button on a Family Group Report.

Family Group Report Options
(click image to enlarge)


Another important button on this screen is the Printer Setup.  What you have selected here must match the options you have selected in the report itself (we haven't gotten to those screens yet). For example, printing Portrait vs. Landscape, paper size, and whether or not you are printing Duplex (double sided). Different printers have different options! After you click Printer Setup this is what you will see (if you have the exact same printer as mine). Click the Properties button for more options.  This is the same screen you will use to print to a virtual PDF driver. See PDF Trick for more information.

Printer Options
(click image to enlarge)


We have three more main buttons to cover before we go on to the five tabs at the top. At the bottom, above the Change button we have already talked about, you will see Index Options, Report Options and Title Page. Right now we are only going to look at the Index Options and the Title Page because the Report Options will be the focus of Part II.

If there is a check mark in the little box on the Index Options and Title Page buttons that means these will print in your report. To actually change the options for each you have to click the big button itself.

If you click the Index Options button you will see this. Notice that there are TWO indexes. You need to click both tabs at the top to see all of the options. Please notice everything you can do to format these two indexes. You can include one or both of the indexes in your report.

Index Options
(click image to enlarge)


If you click the Title Page button you will see the below screen. You can format a really nice Title Page to include your information and a photograph of your choice.



Now on to the five tabs at the top and we will be done for today.

On the Options tab you will see options to add underlines for unknown information, different options for living and deceased persons concerning dates, how many generations you want to print, and whether or not you want a Table of Contents, and if you do, how you want it formatted. There is a option to include or not include the spouses of children. This Options tab IS different from report to report even though the other screens are essentially identical (with some things greyed out depending on the report).  If you look at a Descendant Book Report you will see that the options on this tab are very different but the overall layout is the same.


Descendant Book Report
(click image to enlarge)

On the Page Layout tab you will see that you can control quite a bit of formatting. However, once we get to the Report Options button in Part II you will see that there are many more formatting options.

Page Layout tab
(click image to enlarge)


And there are more formatting options on the Heading Layout tab. You will see the "codes" that I talked about in the general tips at the beginning of this article.

Heading Layout
(click image to enlarge)


The Wording 1 tab gives you the opportunity to customize how you want things worded for events and introducing the children lists.

Wording 1 tab
(click image to enlarge)


There is something specific I want to tell you about the Wording 2 tab. You can add a [CR] after the colons so that your notes will drop down a line.  It would look like this, General Notes:[CR]. I do this for every entry. If you use your General Notes to write biographies you could change it to, Biography:[CR] or Biographical Sketch:[CR].  For those of you that aren't old enough to have ever seen a real typewriter, [CR] stands for "carriage return" which is the Enter key on a computer.

Wording 2 tab
(click image to enlarge)


This is the end of Part I. In Part II we will go over all of the options that are available when you click the Report Options button and there are A LOT. There is no other program out there that gives you as many customizations in reports as Legacy does.

There is one last thing that I want to mention. One of the most powerful tools you have to customize reports isn't found in the report itself. It is the Event Definitions. Events are a very important part of your report and you have control over how your events will read. You can read Custom Event Sentences for more information. Along with the Event formatting options you will see in the next article you will be amazed with how nice your events will look.


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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This is a whole lesson in itself. We will need to refer back to this often. Thank you for breaking it all down like this.

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