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Software Review: Family Tree Maker for Mac
2/22/2011
Mac users seeking a high-powered genealogy program with all the features they've ever imagined will want to snap up this long-awaited version of the reigning Windows software.

Ease of use

Building on years of mostly Windows development, Family Tree Maker for Mac offers all the bells and whistles you might want -- and a sometimes-steep learning curve to match. With so many features, the program inevitably boasts a plethora of buttons, drop-downs and windows. It's got separate views for People, Places, Media, Sources, publishing and Web Search, as well as something called Plan, which even features a Twitter feed. Because Family Tree Maker for Mac can do so much, too, many actions require clicking through multiple dialog boxes.

Family Tree Maker for Mac
Price: $69.95 (includes six-month subscription to Ancestry.com)
Manufacturer: Ancestry.com, (800) 262-3787, FamilyTreeMaker.com
System requirements:Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
Demo/trial version: None
Biggest draws: Lots of bells and whistles; charts, reports and book publishing; integration with Ancestry.com and web searching; help options and companion guide
Drawbacks: Learning curve; no independent web publishing; buggy merging of online data
Nonetheless, you can get started without reading a manual, and most tools and gizmos are intuitive. When you do need help, Family Tree Maker for Mac shines: Answers can be found in a built-in Help file, an online help center and a 311-page companion book that comes both as a PDF and a paperback. 

File management

Switching from another program is a snap, with lickety-split import of GEDCOM and Family Tree Maker 16 for Windows files. You can download trees from Ancestry.com. Multiple trees can be open at once in Plan view. Going the other way, you can export GEDCOM 5.5 or GEDCOM for FTM 16 files.

Charts and multimedia

As users of the Windows version have come to expect, Family Tree Maker for Mac excels at producing charts -- 10 different types, with more customization options than most users will ever need. All are under Publish.

The Media pane lets you add and manage images, videos and sound clips, which you can link to individuals and sources; photos of multiple people can be linked to more than one ancestor.

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