After two years spent studying Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained, our group needed a break. We decided that there is no better way to discover all that The Master Genealogist (TMG) can do than to explore its powerful custom report writer. If you would like to participate in the Tri-Valley TMG User Group's adventures as we examine the best ways to input data to make full use of TMG's wide range of reporting possibilities, please feel free to comment and share your ideas.

The Tri-Valley TMG User Group is associated with the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society (L-AGS), and we meet in Pleasanton, California. Information on our meetings - location, date, time, and topic - is always available on the home page of the L-AGS web site. Our three-hour meetings are actually hands-on workshops in which up to fifteen computers are connected to a digital projector allowing customized personal assistance to attendees. In the past, the group has systematically studied Lee Hoffman's Getting the Most out of The Master Genealogist, Terry Reigel's A Primer for The Master Genealogist, and Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained.

For further details on the reports we create, please visit our website. The section dealing with TMG reports begins at the page, "Exploring TMG's Report Menu."

Start following our new blog, "The Continuing Adventures of the TV-TMG User Group." This will detail our 2014 project.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Improving a Register Report: Microsoft Word Tips

Do you use Microsoft Word? If so, have you experimented with Word templates and Word styles? Templates and styles are not unique to Word, so if you use another word processor, the principles in this blog will be applicable, but the details will probably not be.

Take another look at the NGSQ-NEHGR-TMG styles comparison chart. Do you see all those references, "Apply styles," in the Suggestions column?
  • Both the Register and the NGSQ have specific methods of formatting the first appearance of certain names in a subject's biography and in the genealogy's child lists. Although one can specify some name formatting in TMG's Report Options screen in the Names tab, one can't specify the different formatting required throughout the report. By creating styles that reproduce the required formatting, it's a fairly simple matter to apply those styles to TMG's Journal report after it's been sent to a Word file.
  • Although TMG does allow one to define the fonts used in a report (Report Options > Fonts and Colors), one can't differentiate between fonts used in the report's biography section (12 point) and the report's child list section (11 point). One also can't differentiate between the font size of Memo fields used in sentences in the text (12 point), Memos that appear in footnotes or endnotes (10 point), or footnotes/endnotes themselves (10 point). Applying Word styles specifically designed to reproduce the proper formatting for the various sections of each Journal report allows the user to convert those sections to true Register (or NGSQ) style quickly and easily.
  • One can also create a style for the report's title, for the author's name, for all the headings and subheadings, and even for page headings. Group all these styles together and create a Word template, with margins and everything, and save it under the appropriate name. The next time you want a professional-looking Register report, copy your TMG report into this template, and apply the appropriate styles. Voila!

Helen Schatvet Ullman was my inspiration for creating Word templates for my TMG reports. Her updated Register style template is available on, and it can be downloaded here. My template starts with Ullman's, then adds additional styles for all parts of the TMG report. It also includes this example report and detailed instructions on converting a TMG-formatted report to one that matches Register style. I've also created a Word template that converts TMG's NGSQ-style Journal output to something that comes much closer to the formatting used by the NGSQ. If you would like a copy of either template, please feel free to contact me. My e-mail address is available in my Blogger profile.

Manual editing was still required to get this report to this final stage. The final blog on this topic gives a quick overview of some of the editing that should be done on each report and a few tricks to make that editing go a little faster.

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