Pastfinders Computer Users' Group

February 21, 2002

At the meeting we covered the following subjects:

  • Where to find and how to use Front Page Express.

  • What's Ancestry Family Tree and what can it do?

  • Description and use of IrfanView, a free graphics program.

Front Page Express

Front Page Express comes with Windows up to but not including Win 98 SE. If you don't have an Icon for it then go to START, FIND and type in FPXPRESS. There may be several FPXpress programs listed when you are through searching. The one you want is FPXPRESS.EXE and if the extension is not included it will be listed as an APPLICATION with a size of 1600 or so kB. You can create an Icon on your desktop by right clicking on the file name and dragging it onto your desktop.

We didn't spend a lot of time on it; it's like most word processing programs. The left box that contains the word "Normal" has font sizes from normal to Heading 1. Click the heading size you want to use. It will revert to normal after each line and you'll have to re-set it to continue with that size. Most of the items on the top are self explanatory. Try them out to see what they do.

When a line of text is typed, it goes from one edge of the screen to the other. To include margins on you page, click on TABLE and then change the number of rows and columns to one. Click on "Specify Width" and set it to 80 per cent. Now enter your text into the table. You can cut existing text and paste it into the table and you can insert images as well. You can select a background color or background image. See our past programs of Jan 10 and Feb 4 to see how background images are used. Note that the marble effects are images. If you see a background on the Internet that you want, right click ont it a click of SAVE BACKGROUND IMAGE AS and give it a name and save to use on your page.

Ancestry Family Tree

Ancestry offers this free program at its web site. Before we get into that, a brief look back at a feature in Family Tree maker (FTM). In FTM if you click on VIEW, FAMILY FINDER and then FAMILY FINDER CENTER you'll get to a page where you can select FAMILY FINDER SEARCH. (This may not be available in early versions of FTM). This will allow you to search either the FTM index CDs or the Internet FTM index for matches to the people you select from your family tree. Everything it finds is on CDs that FTM would like to sell you or the ones that we already own. The report that it produces tells you what people in your family tree it found matches for, where the matches can be found and the quality of the match by assigning from to 5 stars.

Ancestry Family Tree (AFT) has a similar feature but it searches the Ancestry site for matches and lists the number of trees it found for each individual and the number of records.

To use AFT, you need to either enter data if you're starting new or create a GEDCOM file from an existing program and open that in AFT. AFT is a lot like PAF; it has many of the same features and can read PAF files directly, at least through PAF 3.0. It can produce a 6 generation pedigree chart. It has a relationship calculator similar to he one in PAF that can show the relationship between any two individuals and who is the nearest common ancestor.

I don't see this as a one or the other program choice; you can leave both FTM and AFT on if the features that AFT provides are useful to you. You just have to be careful that you enter all of your data into one of the programs and use that as the master program. Create a new GEDCOM (delete the old one first) whenever you want to use AFT after updating your data in FTM.

IrfanView

This free graphics program does some things better than some of the more expensive ones. You can download it here. While it has a lot of features, its THUMBNAIL view is exceptional. Start the program and then click on FILE and the THUMBNAILS. Use the directory list to navigate to a folder that has images in it and select that folder. It will create thumbnails of all of the images. Go to OPTIONS and the SET THUMBNAIL OPTIONS. You'll be presented with a list of sizes from 50x50 to 300x300 pixels for the thumbnail size. The smaller sizes let you see what you've got in that folder and the larger sizes show enough detail to see whether the image needs correction. Double clicking on any image will open it in a full screen window and you can manipulate it with the tools from the drop down menus at the top of the screen. Look through them all to see what alkl of the features are. Click on the X in the upper right hand corner to return to the thumbnails. You can go to OPTIONS again and this time choose SELECT ALL. Then go to FILE and click START SLIDESHOW WITH SELECTED THUMBS. Each image selected will appear in sequence in the full screen window. You can select files individually by holding down the CTRL key when you click on a thumbnail.

If you like it, use it. If you want to remove it, go to START, CONTROL PANEL and select ADD REMOVE PROGRAMS and then highlight IrfanView to remove it. That's the only safe way to remove a program from your system. If you just erase the program, all of the ancillary files it created on installation will remain behind and may cause problems in the future.

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