Genealogy Software Guide

Choose the best genealogy program for you with our roundup of popular software—including reviews and free genealogy software trial versions.

Let's be honest--when it comes to genealogy software, a slew of questions come to mind. What family tree software is out there? What's the best genealogy software? Is there such thing as free genealogy software?

This section of the site is designed specifically to answer any and all inquiries about computer applications for your ancestors. Whether you want information on family tree software for a Mac or genealogy programs for PC, we'll try to cover all of your bases in the following pages.

Since many programs perform the essential functions of recording, organizing and sharing family history data, the best choice for you often depends on personal preference. Do you use a laptop or a desktop? Do you have genealogy programs on your iPad or smart phone? Perhaps you even use genealogy apps, such as 1000memories or the official app. In this roundup of the most popular family tree software applications for Windows and Mac, we provide ratings, reviews and essential run downs of top programs, as well as the pros and cons of each.
Genealogy Software for Windows
Genealogy Software for Macs
Genealogy Apps

Genealogy Software Articles

Along with basic software reviews, Family Tree Magazine has conducted a number of step-by-step tutorials for using genealogy programs, as well as general news and information regarding family tree software. Below are some articles that you might find particularly useful:
"Apple Picking"
Select the right software for you from the crop of Mac genealogy programs.
Give these tech gifts to your favorite genealogists (or to yourself!) this Christmas.
"Cyber Solutions: Catch All"
How do I print a family tree chart from genealogy software?
Source citations need not be a source of misery. Learn how three popular genealogy software programs—Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic—can make it easy to track where you find your family facts. 
"Family Tree for Dummies Software"
The foolproof Family Tree for Dummies software is actually quite smart.
"Glossary of Computer File Formats"
Don't know PDF from PNG? Use our word list to figure out what type of file you're dealing with—and which software will open it.
"How to Handle a GEDCOM"
Received a GEDCOM from a fellow researcher? Or want to share one with someone else? Find out what a GEDCOM is and how to share one.
Need a plan of attack to solve a genealogy research question? Follow these steps to set up a research plan notebook in the free Evernote.
The free Evernote tool is made for managing research projects. Our six-step guide will help you use it for happily organized genealogy searching.
Choose the best genealogy program for you with our roundup of popular software—including reviews and free genealogy software trial versions.  
Longing for the perfect mate to help you record, organize and share your genealogy findings? Don’t make a blind date—our beginner’s guide to genealogy software explains how to find the right program for you. 
"Setting Your Cites"
Stymied by source documentation? Heed these hints for entering citations in your genealogy software.
"Quick Guide: Facebook vs Google+"
A comparison of Facebook and Google+ for networking with other genealogists.
"Quick Guide: Picasa vs. Windows Live Photo Gallery"
Two of the most popular photo editing and sharing programs out there, Google's Picasa and Microsoft's Windows Live Photo Gallery, are great tools for genealogists to organize digital images.
Got photos and documents to preserve? Our reviewer examines the archival M-Disc, purported to store your data for up to 1,000 years.
Looking at old family photos, it’s easy to get the impression your ancestors lived in a black-and-white or sepiatoned world. But now you can take your images from Kansas to Oz, with photo editing software that allows you to easily colorize black-and-white pictures and see your ancestors’ faces, clothing and surroundings in realistic pigments.
Use these tips to keep your family trees on your computer and on the web up-to-date and in sync.
"Types of Family Tree Charts"
Now that you've found part of your family tree, put it on paper for posterity. These chart-creation secrets and book-printing basics will let you share your family history findings in style.
Pinterest, the latest internet addiction, has genealogists everywhere sharing photos, records and research inspiration via online bulletin boards. Here’s how you can get in on the action.

Family Tree University

Family Tree University, our online genealogy education program, also has a number of available classes that dig deeper into genealogy software. Here are some of the courses, as well as a brief description:
Learn how to fix and rescue your worn, torn or moldy photos. No previous photo editing experience is needed. Be prepared to be amazed at what you can accomplish with free online tools and a few easy photo editing tricks. 
Most of us never get to travel to all the places our ancestors lived, but you can follow in their footsteps—virtually. Google Earth, a free software program, lets you experience faraway locations from the comfort of your own home. In Google Earth for Genealogists, you’ll tap into the program’s robust features to bring depth and a new perspective to your family history research.
Gain a googolplex of knowledge in this comprehensive course on the popular search engine. Whether you’re just beginning to learn the vast capabilities of Google search, or are an experienced web-junkie looking to leverage tools like Google Reader and the Google News Archive, this 4-week class on Google for Genealogy is right up your alley.
Whether you’re recording your family’s history, trying to track down lost kin or looking for a central place to share family photos, a personal website is the answer you’ve been waiting for. Thankfully, a number of free website platforms are available online, and this course will teach you how to use them in just four weeks! By the end of the class you’ll be web-savvy and ready to jolt your genealogy into the 21st century.
Feel like you spend as much time searching your computer as you do actually searching for ancestors? Learn tips for naming and organizing files and folders—plus, how "metadata" can help you.
There’s a bigger benefit to going green in your genealogy than simply saving the environment: Embracing electronic documentation can preserve and put in order your exhaustive research. Just because the material you work with is old doesn’t mean your organization techniques should be outdated. Check out this class to get your e-files in order.
From Captain Cook to Christopher Columbus, numerous noteworthy explorers kept comprehensive journals to document their adventures, so why should your genealogical expedition be any different? In this class, you’ll learn why you (yes, you!) need a research log and how it can help you make genealogical discoveries more effectively and efficiently.
This class will show you some fun and fascinating ways to share your family history using software you already have.
Tablet computers aren't just trendy—they're also perfect genealogy assistants. This class will introduce you to family history-friendly apps and show how your iPad can help you with organizing, writing and other genealogy jobs.

Of course, don't forget to check out ShopFamilyTree for more of your family tree software application essentials, from articles to CDs to digital downloads. Learn more at

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