Adding Images To A Document

Images can make all the difference in the appearance of your genealogy document. They can bring the people and stories alive, giving them a reality beyond what can be achieved with words alone. Ancestral Author Plus has several ways to add images to a genealogy document:

  1. from images referenced in the GEDCOM,
  2. adding an image gallery using images that are on your computer disk,
  3. importing text files and images from your computer disk, with text flowing around the imported images.

Each of these mechanisms for adding images to your document has it's own benefits, which are discussed in detail below.

Including GEDCOM Images In Your Document

If your GEDCOM file has references to image files on your hard disk, then it is quite straight-forward to place those images in your document. In fact, nothing special need be done to include GEDCOM images in your document. It happens automatically.

Let's consider some hypothetical examples. Suppose your GEDCOM file has five images associated with John Doe.

By default, Ancestral Author Plus will create a gallery of five images for John Doe, and place it after all the other text associated with Mr. Doe. So, if John Doe was married once, had five children, and has half a page worth of notes describing his life, then the five images would appear after that text. Each image would (by default) occupy a full page, as shown in the 6 pages of thumbnails: pages 1 through 3 below, and pages 4 through 6 after that.

Pages 1 to 3

Pages 1 to 3

Pages 4 to 6

The images appear in exactly the same order that they are referenced in the GEDCOM.

If desired, you can put the gallery of five images for John Doe at the end of the document, rather than after his section of the document. The settings for this are found in the GEDCOM Images tab of the Descendant, Ancestor, or Every Person report options. To illustrate, consider this example. Let's say John Doe's wife, Sally Smith, also has five images in the GEDCOM. If the GEDCOM Images options are set to put the images at the end of the document (as shown here), then the result would look like the thumbnails below, with the blue images belonging to John Doe, and the pink images to Sally Smith.

Images for John Doe (blue) and Sally Smith (pink) At the End of the Document

If you have too many images in your GEDCOM or just don't want full page images, you can specify a different number of images per page. The thumbnails below show what it would look like with four images per page. (Click here to see the GEDCOM Image dialog settings.)

Gallery At End of Report, With Four Images Per Page

If desired, you can put the first image for John Doe directly next to his name in the report. (Click here to see the dialog with this setting.) This works particularly well if the first image is a picture of John Doe, or a picture of something that is directly relevant to his life. It doesn't work well if, for example, the first image is a picture of his wife, or one of his children. This setting applies to everyone in the report, including Mr. Doe's wife. An example of what this would look like is shown in the thumbnails below.

Placing the First Image Next John Doe, Rather Than at the End

There is one caveat that should be kept in mind. Placing the first image for a person next to her name in the report can look quite good if there aren't too many images. On the other hand, if everyone in the report has an image, but not much text to flow around the image, it can look crowded. Experiment to see what looks best.

Importing Images and Text

Sometimes it's useful to include chapters of written text in your document (acknowledgements, prefaces, research ideas, etc). Ancestral Author Plus allows you to import text files for this purpose, and to include images in the text. A simple example is shown below:


Image In Upper Left of Text Area

Text and images are imported using the Import Files document item. If you click on the 'Import Files' document item in AA, you'll see this dialog (click to view).

A single text file and any number of images can be imported. Each image can be placed in one of the following locations on the page:

  1. Upper Left - Upper Left Quadrant of the Page Text Area
  2. Upper Center - Top Half of the Page, Centered
  3. Upper Right - Upper Right Quadrant of the Page Text Area
  4. Center - Center of the Page, Scaled to Fill the Page
  5. Lower Left - Lower Left Quadrant of the Page Text Area
  6. Lower Center - Bottom Half of the Page, Centered
  7. Lower Right - Lower Right Quadrant of the Page Text Area

Ancestral Author Plus will automatically merge the images with the text, causing the text to wrap around the images.

If two images overlap each other, for example they're both in the Upper Left, then the second one will be put out on the next page. AA will not overlap two images on the same page.

On the other hand, AA will put as many images on a page as it can - as long as they don't overlap. And it will put those images on the first possible page where it will fit. This is best illustrated with a few pictures.

Suppose you are importing two images with some text. The first image is placed in the Upper Left, the second in the Lower Left. The Import Files dialog would look something like this:

Two Non-Overlapping Images, Upper Left, Lower Left

The result would look like this. Both images are on the same page, because neither overlaps the other.

Non-Overlapping Images On Same Page

What if you want both these images to appear on a different page? This is where the Page Break item comes in. Placing a Page Break between the two images will force the second image onto the next page. The graphic below shows the Import Files dialog with a Page Break added after the first image, and the resulting output pages. You can see that the second image was forced onto a new page.

Import Files Dialog With Added Page Break, And Resulting Output

Creating Image Galleries

If you have lots of pictures that you want to add to your document, an Image Gallery is probably the easiest way to add them. An Image Gallery is series of images with optional captions that appear as multiple images per page, usually spanning multiple pages. A quick example is shown below:



Six Page Image Gallery

To create an Image Gallery, press the Image Gallery document item button. This will invoke a dialog which allows you to add images to the gallery, and to organize them in specific ways:

  • two images per page, top to bottom (page 1,3 above),
  • two images per page, side by side (page 4,5 above),
  • four images per page (page 2 above),
  • centered on the page (page 6 above).

Images will always appear in the gallery in the same order that they appear in the Image Gallery dialog. An example of an Image Gallery dialog is shown below. This was used to create the six page image gallery shown above. Note that some images are not visible in the dialog without scrolling down the list.

Image Gallery Dialog Used to Create 6 Image Gallery

It usually takes some experimentation to get the right layout. Tall images want to be next to each other, in a side by side layout (vs. top to bottom). Similarly, wide images want to be in a top to bottom layout (vs. side by side). It may take a few trials to get it right.


There are a number of ways to add images to documents. Each has it's own benefits. This article gives you a flavor of what can be done. Experiment and see what works best for you.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know. Go to the Contacts page, and get in touch.