August 31st, 2010

3 Tips on How to Print Awesome Large Family Tree Templates on Your Home Computer

A while ago, I announced that there were new free family tree templates available to download on my website.

Since then, I’ve received about ten e-mails from people looking for help on how to print the larger generation templates at home, using their home computer and printer. Issues people are finding when they print out the nine generation family tree template or some of the the circle family tree charts on standard printer paper are: the spaces aren’t large enough to write in the names, and you can’t actually read the names once you’ve written them.

Depending on your situation, there are three options below that can help you if you’re a PC user, an Apple user, or if you want a printing service to print out your family tree template.

Why Print Out Family Tree Templates as a Poster?

Many genealogists find it helpful to display their family trees on the wall in the room they do most of their research. This helps you keep track of which family members are complete and which ones you still need to find. With some of the larger numbers of generations you might be dealing with hundreds of names so a visual reminder of where you are in your research is helpful.

What you want to do is print out the family tree templates as a poster on four pieces of paper. You’ll get a quarter of the image on each sheet of paper. Once it’s printed out, you can tape the four papers together to make a large rectangle. Now the spaces will be big enough to fill in by hand and to read the names written there.

Here’s how you print out your family tree template as a poster:

Instructions for PC/Windows Users

1. Download the family tree template you want to print.

2. Click on “Print”

3. Then click on “Properties”

4. Choose “Print Layout”

5. Under “Layout,” choose “Poster”

6. Then choose “2 x 2″ (which gives you 4 sheets of paper with a quarter of the image on each sheet)

7. Click “Ok” twice.

Instructions for Apple/OSX Users

I may be wrong about this but I don’t believe that there is a native way to actually print some of our larger templates on to multiple sheets printing from an OSX based computer. If I’m wrong, please feel free to comment below and explain how it can be done using OSX.

Not to worry though, there are a couple of fabulous options for Apple users that can actually dramatically increase the amount of printing options for the larger templates.

DoubleTake is a pretty simple software package to use. You simply drag and drop your PDF into the application and the program has the ability to take care of the rest. Simply tell the control panel how many pages you would like the PDF to be printed on and DoubleTake does the rest. According to my research, DoubleTake only works on Mac computers that are running OSX 10.5 or higher.

PosteRazor is another application that is similar to Doubletake. The developer has made versions that work for Windows based machines and also OSX machines. I can’t tell from their website what the minimum requirements are for the software so you might want to be careful if you’re using an older Mac with an older operating system.

They’ve actually got an instructional video that shows you how their product works. The instructional video has been done on a PC but I think you’ll still get an understanding of what the product is able to use if you’re using a Mac:

Finally I managed to find another application called Mindcad Tiler. Interesting name isn’t it? Anyhow, I don’t know much about the developer but the application is free and it looks like it performs some of the basic functions that you would need to print out some of the larger family tree template charts featured on my website.

Getting a Printing Service to Print the Family Tree Templates

Not everyone has strong computer skills and if you’re one of those types of people, the instructions listed above might as well have been written in another language!

I’ve got you covered though. All of the family tree templates listed on my website were professionally created and completed. Any printer service worth its salt should be able to print directly from the PDF files you download from this website.

Many printing companies work through e-mail so once you’ve decided which oversized tree template you would like to print, simply e-mail the file(s) to the company and tell them the size of the paper you would like the PDF to be printed on. My suggestion would be to print at least two and perhaps three copies of the charts so that you’re allowed to make mistakes on a rough copy.

While you may not be computer literate, a printing service is probably going to have the best printing options available. All of the PDFs listed on this website are incredibly high resolution files that most printing services can work with to any dimension. You’ll have your choice of dimensions and you’ll also have your choice of paper to print the family tree templates on. As far as paper size dimensions, the sky is the limit for you. The PDF will look good printed in any size. In terms of types of paper, talk to your printer about a heavier weight paper to print your family tree template on. You can save some money by having the printing company print the oversized file on cheap quality paper for your rough copy and then have them print two other copies on heavier weight paper for final copies.

Considering the quality of my PDFs, you should be far ahead of certain online stores that sell family tree templates. I’ve seen online stores that sell family tree templates that are of much lower quality than the free tree templates listed on my website. Choosing your own printing company and using my templates should be a great way to start your genealogy project and depending on the printing service and quality paper used, you can proudly frame my family tree templates.

I really hope this helps some of you to “start the ball rolling” on your family tree templates. I’d love to hear your ideas and or experiences with regards to printing the templates listed on this website. I’m also interested in hearing from any individuals that would like a larger family tree template than the ones listed on my website. Currently, the largest template I list is a ten generation chart but I’ll gladly make a larger template if there is a need for it. Let me know by commenting below. Good luck.