In addition to keeping track of your family history data on the computer, you can also use software programs to make family trees. This is a handy way to see all your research on one page, and some programs can even use the information you've already entered to populate the fields in the template automatically. There are software options in a range of prices, so you can easily find something to fit your budget, as well as your genealogy needs.
Free Options for Creating Your Tree
Today, creating your family tree can be as easy as hitting a button. In some cases, it's even free. Try one of these options using software you may already own, or that is free to download.
Free Templates for Microsoft Office
If you already have Microsoft Office on your computer, you can create a family tree without purchasing any new software. All you have to do is download the PowerPoint family tree template and enter your family information. This design shows the family details in front of a bold background. It includes four generations.
If you have Microsoft Visio, you can also use the block diagram template to create a custom family tree. This design allows you to customize the tree to include all the information you might like.
Family Tree Builder
Family Tree Builder software
Family Tree Builder is free downloadable software from MyHeritage.com. Supporting 35 languages, this software is in use by more than six million people according to the company. Smart Matching Technology™ matches your tree with millions of other online trees, helping you to find lost ancestors. Search features allow you to search the leading online databases. You may create and publish your family tree with just one click. "Wizards" make it easier to create your tree, offering helpful prompts as you go along. Print out your family tree in beautiful charts.
MyHeritage.com, which was voted one of the Best Big Genealogy Websites for 2016 by Family Tree Magazine, has a subscription fee. However, the software itself is free to download and use. It works for both Mac and Windows.
Legacy Family Tree
Legacy Family Tree is one of the best-established software programs available. Although it may not have some of the popular features of the paid options out there, the standard version of this software is free. Using the free version, you can enter information about your ancestors and create basic charts and family trees using your data.
The expanded version offers additional features and several more printable charts. This is only for Windows, so if you're a Mac user, another option might be a better choice.
eDraw family tree
Another basic drawing program with an included family tree template, eDraw allows you to extend your tree to as many pages as you'd like. Since this program is not integrated with your genealogy research software, you'll need to populate the fields manually. You can include photos of your family members as well as information like their birth and death dates.
Like SmartDraw, the basic download of eDraw is free. However, if you want to expand your use of the program, you may need to purchase the full version.
Paid Options for Family Tree Templates
Although there are many great free options out there, you may need more functionality out of your template. Paid software can give you the details you need, whether that's a color coding system, the ability to add photos easily or the option to print your tree as a huge poster.
Family Tree Maker
Developed by the owners of Ancestry.com, Family Tree Maker software allows you to build, search, design and share your family tree with others. It offers a simplified web merge process, whereby you can merge your data with information you find on the internet and Ancestry.com. Select from several professionally designed templates, add your family photos and enhance the family trees with colors, fonts, boxes and borders. There is an option to create a multimedia tree with audio and video clips. Share your family tree and family data online using export features for PDF files, spreadsheets, text files, or GEDCOM. This software is designed to be used to search Ancestry.com records, and the helpful wizard feature makes it easy to find and merge new information.
With this software, you may create and enjoy heirloom quality printouts or all-in-one trees that include every family member. These are great to give as gifts or to display at family reunions. This software is available for Mac and PC. You can purchase discs or download the program for about $70 for a single computer.
RootsMagic is another great option. There's a free version of this software, but the paid version lets you access and print a variety of tree designs. You can keep track of all your research, including meticulously documenting your sources, within the software itself. Then, at the touch of a button, you can print up detailed charts and reports. If you have a lot of photographs, you can create a photo family tree. Or you can stick with standard pedigree charts, family group charts, and relationship diagrams.
RootsMagic is available for Mac and Windows. You can download it or request discs. Either way, it retails for about $30.
SmartDraw is a paid, cloud-based software program that you can download. It helps you create detailed charts on your computer, allowing you to show multiple generations of your family on one sheet of paper. It includes professionally designed templates and themes so that you can give your tree a polished look. In addition, you can include photos of family members for a helpful visual display.
This program works for both Windows and Mac users. Because it is cloud-based software, you pay a subscription fee of about $15 per month to use it.
Family Tree Heritage
If you'd like to create a variety of full-color tree designs, Family Tree Heritage is a good choice. You can create four-color fan-style pedigree charts to help keep the various branches of your tree clear for the viewer. You can also color code traditional trees or use the software to make photo trees. The different templates are designed to be heirloom quality, so they are attractive and easy to read. You can also make huge wall charts to document and keep track of your research or share your findings with family.
Family Tree Heritage is only for Windows. You can choose from a CD or a download; both retail for about $40.
Which Family Tree Software Is Best?
There are a lot of options out there and deciding on the best choice can be confusing. See how these choices stack up against one another.
| Software || Price || Platform || Key Features |
| Microsoft Office Templates || Free if you own Microsoft Office || Windows and Mac || |
- Templates for PowerPoint and Visio
- Easy to use
| Family Tree Builder || Free, but MyHeritage.com requires subscription || Windows and Mac || |
- Use it to research and create trees
- Allows you to search and import information
- Design and print trees in several styles
| Legacy Family Tree || Free for basic version || Windows || |
- Enter information easily
- Organize your data
- Create and print trees
| eDraw || Free for basic version || Windows and Mac || |
- Manually input information
- Add photos
- Create trees of any size
| Family Tree Maker || $70 || Windows and Mac || |
- Research online and easily import data
- Share your tree online
- Design and print several tree styles
| RootsMagic || $30 || Windows and Mac || |
- Keep track of online research
- Include source documentation and photos
- Create and print several tree styles
| SmartDraw || $15 per month || Windows and Mac || |
- Cloud-based program
- Totally customizable templates
- Several tree styles
| Family Tree Heritage || $40 || Windows || |
- Color-coded tree designs
- Add photos to trees
- Print trees up to wall-sized
Creating a Family Tree
No matter which software program you use to create your family tree, you'll need information to populate the templates. Gather your data before you start working on your tree to make the process go as smoothly as possible. With these helpful software programs, you'll have a beautiful family tree in no time.