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Accents and the Custom Report Writer

Suppose you’re the designated family historian and your TMG database contains all the descendants of your original immigrant ancestor. This means you may have quite a few "John Does" of similar age in that database. Using TMG’s accent feature will help you distinguish one from another.

TMG allows the user to set Accent Colors based on flag values, various tag criteria, and a few defined conditions, such as "Is a descendant of". This is a view of the Accent Definition screen showing some of the increased accent condition possibilities. The last criterion would appear to be perfect for what we want to do, but it appears to slow down the loading of the Person Screen in my main database. You may have better luck. I use flag values to differentiate the ten children of Philip and Lydia (Soveril) Case and their respective descendants. This is my procedure.

  1. First, create a Flag that will be used to identify each progenitor's descendants.
  2. Next run a report to (1) identify each of the descendants and (2) tell TMG to write the associated "identification value" to this new Flag. This is known as a "Secondary Output" and is available only with the List of People report and the List of Events report.
  3. Finally, we can assign Accent colors to each Flag value. Each set of Accent colors can be saved, so you can load different sets depending on what task you might want to perform or what segment of your data you might want see more clearly.

Creating and Customizing a New Flag

Your ancestor had eight children; you wish to distinguish descendants of one child from the others. First, create a flag called Family.


Flag Manager Screen

Edit Flag Value Screen
  • Select File --> Flag Manager. This will open a screen listing all flags and allowing you to add new flags, edit, delete or disable existing flags, and change flag order.
  • Click on Add. This opens the Add New Flag screen. Our new flag will be labeled as "Family." The Values are one character only. Enter the default value first. This is usually either ? or N. In this case, choose ?. Add values for each of the progenitor’s children. These may be given name initials, numerals, or symbols you choose.
  • In the Description field, define each of the values you have chosen. For example:
    • ? = default
    • A = Aaron Case descendants
    • S = Samuel Case descendants, etc.
  • Click on OK when finished. You have created your new flag.

Running a "List of People" Report with Secondary Output


Report Definition Screen

Report Filter

Now, you must run a report selecting the descendants of each of your progenitor’s children and changing the Family Flag from the default value to the correct value.

    The report we want is obviously a List of People report.
  • Add a new report and give it a name. I used the creative title "List of People_Family Flag".
  • Select Filtered Group and add a new filter.
  • The filter I use selects a person by ID number (Line one) and then adds all the descendants of that person, again by his or her ID number (Line 2). The use of [?] in the Value column allows reuse of this report without redefining it for each of the progenitors. (You can vary this filter if you choose: Line one equals person by ID number. Check "Add Descendants" and specify the number of generations.)

Report Options: Secondary Output

A printed output is unnecessary in this report. Its purpose is to change a flag value.

  • Ignore all tabs under the Report Options except the Secondary Output tab.
  • Check "Change Flag"
  • Select your "Family" flag and then select the appropriate flag value.
  • This tab gives you the option to "Suppress output to screen, file, and printer". Checking this option saves time; but if you're defining a new report, leave it unchecked and send the report to the screen as well. Sometimes a filter result can surprise you!
    Now run your report.
  • You will be given a screen to choose the ID Number of your progenitor. (Click F2 to bring up the Picklist and select the correct person if you don’t know the ID number.)
  • Before TMG changes the Family Flag value, the program will tell you how many individuals qualify and ask if you want to change the Family Flag value to that selected. (This gives you a chance to correct any mistakes, such as not changing the selected value each time you run the report.)
  • Rerun this report for each family progenitor. All you need to do each time is change the selected Flag value and enter the correct ID number for the progenitor.

Setting Accent Colors


Accent Definition Screen
    Now you can change the accent colors for each family.
  • Under File, select Accent (or Ctl-A from the Person Screen). This opens the Accent Definition screen.
  • Select Add and define an Accent Condition by first selecting a flag from the drop-down menu, then selecting the flag value.
  • Select a Background Color and a Text Color.
  • TMG lets you choose from 48 predefined colors and gives you the option to define up to sixteen custom colors through the "Color Screen".
  • Repeat until you've defined all your accent colors for all desired flags and their values.
  • If your Accent Conditions include more than one flag, note that you can choose a Conflict Color for those people who meet more than one condition or choose to accent the names by the first matching condition.
  • Choose Save As and give your accent scheme a name.
  • Select Apply and close the Accent Definition screen.
  • You can define any combination of flags and accent colors. If you want to investigate a different pattern, load a different set of accent conditions.

Accented Picklist: Family Flag

Accented Picklist: Military Flag

When you return to the Person View, you will see that the names of these selected family members will appear in the accent colors on the Picklist, and any Person View, Family View, or Tree View. The differing colors make it much easier to tell one "John Doe" from another.

Two views of the accented picklist are seen to the left. The first shows the picklist accented according to Family Flag values. The second shows the same picklist region accented according to the Military Flag values.

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