Robins's Visual Chart Form Tips
This page created 1 Sep 2014
Hosted by Terry's TMG Tips
This article discusses how to create one larger chart by using a number of VCF outputs as building blocks.
Look and Feel
Create a number of component chart using TMG / VCF and save each as a .VC2 file recording the size shown for each (Tools > Diagram > Diagram Measurements)
It important that all charts use the same:
- Box: width, minimum height, fill, outline width, outline color,
- Connection lines: width, color, and style US or UK for descendancy charts
- Person Images: same size if ON, same side Left or Right
- Background: None
- Text Fonts: size, face, emphasis for the Name and Data lines
- Spacing: between generation and within generations
- Data Types tab: identical settings
- Other tab: identical settings
Some charts may have different orientations.
Plan your Combined Chart
Often when planning the final chart you can see that some persons are duplicated on 2 or more VC2 outputs. If this is the case, decide what can be deleted from each file before the merging is commenced. Using a copy of each file, delete the unwanted elements. If possible use techniques in Select, Group and Edit to reduce the width and height of the result. Note its size and save it under a new name.
Prepare the canvas
Open VCF on a blank canvas. From the sum of the sizes of the saved VCF outputs, set up a larger canvas with a bit of working space to allow you achieve the final chart. It doesn’t matter now how much extra is provided as you can finally trim that back to the best fit size at the end. Have a plan as to the sequence and location of where the top-left of that chart should be pasted onto the big canvas.
Copy and Paste
- Open VCF on the blank canvas at View > Zoom Normal.
- Perform a copy and paste of the next VCF output to be transferred to the big canvas by opening the source VCF file in separate VCF window, type CTRL+A (select all) then type CTRL+C (copy).
- Now carefully click the location where you want that copy to be pasted and type CTRL+V (paste). The copied chart should now be on your canvas.
- After this operation it is advisable to save a copy of the big canvas under a unique name as a backup.
- Now perform any edits that make sense, like moving it, etc
- Repeat this until you have all you building blocks on the one canvas and series of partial backups.
- Now pan over the whole canvas to see whether the whole set of objects has a consistent look and feel. This is your last chance to get that right.
- Arranging the pieces – This is the most difficult task. There is a lot of trial and error to get the parts to fit together minimising the number of crossing connection lines. Sometimes it is not possible to create a chart where there are no crossing connection lines. The prime requirement must to main the children in a family in birth date order. (see Gallery as examples). This stage is like doing jig-saw puzzles, finding available adjacent blocks that will fit together to fill a space.
- Linking the Parts Together – Examine which is the appropriate connection point for the connecting line. Is there a clear route for that link? If not what needs to be repositioned. This stage is a more intricate copy of the methods described in Editing Lines and Connections. It can take several hours to perform steps 5 and 6 to meet expectations of size or ease of comprehension..
by Robin Lamacraft