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Family Tree Maker: Tips for Making Long Names Fit

Family Tree Maker: Tips for Making Long Names Fit

If some of your ancestors have incredibly long names--Anna Katharina Elisabeth (Elise) Rauschenberg for example--there are a couple things you can do to help them fit in their allotted space. To make the chart most aesthetically pleasing normally requires employing several of these options in moderation rather than taking any one to an extreme. We normally make tweaks to a cell in the following order, but it's a matter of preference.

 

1. REMOVE NAME OPTIONS

Only you can be the judge of how far to take this one. If there are multiple name options (normally shown in parentheses), we like to start by making a determination of which name to use and removed the other one. In the situation where we're trying to shorten the name, unless you have a specific reason for choosing one of the other, we go for the shorter name.

To do this, simply stay on the main "Chart" tab in the sidebar, and then click on the cell you'd like to edit. This will pull up all of that individual's information in the sidebar panel.

edit individual's information in the family tree maker app

Then simply click in the text box showing the name and edit as normal.

2. CHANGE THE FONT SIZE

You can also do this from the main "Chart" tab in the left sidebar. Simply click on the cell you'd like to edit. 

change font size in family tree maker app

Then simply drag the "Generation Font Size" slider until the name fits. If you're zoomed in, you'll be want to zoom back out to make sure that the font is readable and doesn't look comically small compared to the rest of your chart. Adjust as needed.

3. CHANGE THE WAY THE INFORMATION IS DISPLAYED

Click on the "Advanced" tab in the left sidebar, then the "Generation" tab within the Advanced settings. 

add or hide dates in family tree maker app

Click on the "Information Displayed" drop down and experiment with your options. Note: Some options display dates, some do not, and the change affects the entire generation.

add or hide date preferences in family tree maker app

ancestor's name on multiple lines

PRO TIP: For "Multiline" options, either vertical or horizontal it treats every space as the signal to go to a new line. If you want some parts of the name on the same line put a ~ rather than a space when editing the name in the Individual sidebar panel. See this tutorial for how to put names on fewer lines for more details.

4. CHANGE THE CELL SIZE

Still within the "Generation" sidebar panel, click and drag the "Radius" slider to change the cell size. You can also do this from the main "Chart" tab (NOT the "Chart" tab within advanced settings) by dragging the "Generation Width" slider bar.

change generation width in family tree maker app

5. REMOVE MIDDLE NAMES

This is just a more drastic form of (1) and works the same way.

removing portion of ancestor's name

Using a combination of these techniques you should be able to make any name fit perfectly while maintaining a beautiful chart aesthetic!