Ancestral Author Plus is a desktop application that creates documents (in Open Document Text format - ODT) from GEDCOMs, images, text, and other source material. For a full explanation, click here.

Ancestral Author Classic is a desktop application that creates PDF documents from GEDCOMs, images, text, and other source material. For a full explanation, click here.

AA Plus is the next generation of AA Classic. It

  • has a better user interface,
  • produces editable documents that can easily be converted to PDF,
  • gives the user much more control over the format of the output,
  • and supports international character sets (which AA Classic has problems with).

AA Plus does not generate PDF directly. Since the output is based on the Open Document Text format (ODT) international standard, a word processor that uses ODT must be installed for AA Plus to work well. LibreOffice and OpenOffice are the two most widely used (free) applications that use ODT directly; and we recommend installing one of those. From either of these word processing apps, the output document generated by AA Plus can be edited, and/or easily converted to PDF.

Because some people will prefer AA Classic's ability to generate PDF directly, AA Classic will continue to be maintained and supported, with two planned releases a year, more if required.

For a detailed matrix showing the differences between AA Plus and AA Classic, see here.

ODT is an international standard, developed and maintained by an independent standards body. ODT is independent of any single company, and it's survival as a document standard does not depend on the economic health of any particular company. In this sense, it is a more durable standard than the Microsoft Word proprietary document format.

ODT is widely supported by open source (and commercial) products such as LibreOffice, OpenOffice, KOffice, Google Docs, Corel Wordperfect Suite, Sun Microsystems StarOffice, and many others. Even Microsoft Word can import ODT documents (though sometimes imperfectly).

Because of it's non-proprietary nature, ODT is sometimes preferred by governments and agencies around the world, primarily as a policy issue.

For more info, and links to technical specs, standards bodies, and organizations that promote the Open Document Format (superset of ODT), see here.

For a detailed explanation, click here.
Both Ancestral Author Plus and Classic use the latest approved version of the GEDCOM Standard - 5.5.1. Ancestral Author Classic, however, supports only the ISO-Latin-1 characters set (also called ANSEL). Ancestral Author Plus supports ISO-Latin-1 as well as UTF-8, which is the international Unicode standard, capable of encoding any character in any language.
No, neither supports this extension to the GEDCOM standard - yet. GEDCOM 5.5EL is frequently used in Europe to better handle names and locations. Support will be added based on user demand.

Both applications (Plus and Classic) allow users to change words and phrases used in the output text. The Ancestral Author Plus user interface allows you to do this directly within the application. Classic requires you to edit a file outside of the application. Both achieve similar results, though Ancestral Author Plus is easier to use.

Ancestral Author Plus gives you the additional flexibility to rearrange where categories of information appear in the output document. For example, some people prefer to see notes before the list of children. Others would rather see notes afterward. This is easily accomplished in Ancestral Author Plus.