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Investigating the Individual Narrative Report

Over the years, TMG has improved the user's ability to quickly check his or her accuracy in adding and editing information. The "Sentence Preview" feature was introduced in TMG ver. 7, and TMG ver. 8 makes it a little easier to check source citations. Here are some basic tips for creating and using screen reports that allow you to view faulty grammar, typing errors and limping English immediately, so they can be corrected while the editing is fresh in your mind.

Reporting Toolbar

Have you customized your TMG layout? If not, now may be the time to do it. This section assumes you are looking at TMG's Standard layout.

  1. Select View-->Toolbars--> and check Reporting. A new group of toolbar icons should appear floating somewhere on top of your Details screen.
  2. To make the toolbar a little easier to use, right-click anywhere on it. This opens the same menu you saw in step 1, but does it more quickly. Select either "Large buttons" or "Small buttons" (my favorite). This should give you enough room to anchor your Reporting toolbar to the main toolbar. Simply drag and drop it to the main toolbar.
  3. Take a close look at the Reporting toolbar. There are seven colorful icons, and each one prints a ready-made report. Pointing at each icon with your mouse will bring up a "tool tip" that identifies each icon's function. Only two are really useful when editing your data entry: the "Individual Narrative Preview with Sources" and the "List of sources preview".
  4. Try both these reports. If you like them as is, you might want to skip the rest of this page. If you itch to adjust these reports, read on.

Report Definition Screen

Take a look at the reports listed under the Individual Narrative section. There should be a report called "Individual Narrative preview with sources." This is the report that prints when you choose the icon of the same name in the Reporting Toolbar. This is a step-by-step procedure for setting this report to the options I use when checking my sentences and my source citations

    Report Definition Screen:
  • Determine the subject of the report. For ease of editing, this should be person being edited: the Current Focus Person.
  • Determine where you want the report to appear. This is a temporary report, so it should be sent to a Screen Preview. We can Alt-Tab between this report and TMG to make changes and quickly see results.
  • Now click on the Options button.

Report Options: General Tab
    Report Options Screen: General Tab Take heart. It's not as confusing as you think.
  • Not all tabs here are relevant for a screen report. The ones I change are: General, Sources, Memos, Tags, Places, and Miscellaneous.
  • Make sure that the "Include blank surety" option is checked, especially if you don't use TMG's surety feature. Unless I want to see a report derived only from direct evidence from original documents (my surety=3), I make sure Threshold 0 is marked.
  • Check the "Bypass the Report Definition Screen . . ." if you want to print this report with one click of a toolbar button.

Report Options: Sources
    Report Options Screen: Sources
  • TMG ver. 8 no longer includes a separate Endnotes report. Instead, endnotes or footnotes can now be printed to screen with any report. For editing purposes, I find it easier to check my source citations if they're sent to Endnotes.
  • I check Disable "ibid.", since I don't like the way TMG produces these - and it makes it very difficult to view the Short Footnote output.
  • The Memo Screen is similar with similar choices.

Report Options: Tags
    Report Options Screen: Tags
  • For this editing report, you usually want to see everything.
  • Check All Tags and All Events including witnessed events.
  • If you have Research tags, or other tags that you never plan to print, consider checking "Selected" tags and unselect tags you consider non-printing.

Report Options Screen: Places
    Report Options Screen: Places
  • Look at the Preposition choices. I always choose blank. I include prepositions in my sentence structures so I'm not limited to "At" or "In".
  • Note the ability to abbreviate states and provinces in reports. This means that, if you choose, you can write out the state names in your data base, but have them abbreviated in chart reports.

Report Options Screen: Miscellaneous
    Report Options Screen: Miscellaneous
  • I exclude most of my sentences, preferring to enter narrative in a separate "Comment" tag. This means that I always have to visit the Miscellaneous tab. To see all my sentences, I need to mark "Show excluded data".
  • Although it's irrelevant in this temporary report, here you can suppress details for living people. Don't forget to check this box every time you create and save a report.
  • Look at all the remaining Options Tabs and make your choices.
  • When finished, click OK. You will be returned to the Report Definition Screen.
  • Click Create Report. What do you think?

Alt-Tab between the report and TMG to make any necessary changes in your database. Rerun the report by clicking the "Individual Narrative preview with sources" icon any time you wish.

What about checking your Bibliography for an individual? The "List of sources preview" button on the Reporting toolbar will create one automagically. Try it. If you want to make any changes, this report is located under the List of ... Sources and is called "List of sources preview" - of course.

Although this Individual Narrative report allows you to check how your individual sentences read, it's not the report you want to use to check the true narrative feel of a journal report. There's no standard reporting icon for this report, but TMG allows you to customize the Toolbar. You can create a "Journal preview with sources" report or a "Family Group Sheet preview" report, assign an icon to each, and add them to the Toolbar for easy access.