Fanchart: from Gimmick to Research Tool?

As mentioned in the previous post, the fan chart view has been updated for the 4.0 After that post, I had some other ideas which in my view were more important to add than the ones mentioned previously. The great thing about the fan chart is that more generations are visible, especially when compared to the pedigree view. This makes it ideal to use color to help in the research. So I added that, and some other things for version 4.0.

An overview of the features:

  1. The view can be a circle, a halfcircle or a quadrant of a circle. The last are always attached to the bottom or side of the view
  2. Children of the center person are shown with a nice children ring at the center
  3. Drag and drop people to the center to change the active person
  4. Color option: Colors of the boxes based on the age of the people
  5. Color option: Colors of the boxes depending on the time period the person lived in
  6. Other color option: White, classic, gender based, and user defined colors
  7. Filtering: use the person filter in the sidebar to quickly obtain insight in the people shown. For example: which people have birth events, who has the attribute ‘blue eyes’, … . Filtered results have bold font, the ones that don’t satisfy the filter are shown transparent
  8. Show up to 11 generations in the view.
  9. Print the view from the toolbar. The view as you see it (after rotating, expanding, changing color) can via the print button be printed or saved as svg (to edit further in Inkscape and view in eg Firefox), pdf or ps.
  10. If the box is higher than longer, then the text is shown radially
  11. The font used can be selected and becomes automatically smaller to fit the boxes. On a dark color, the font is white, otherwise black

Together with the tooltips this makes the view a very interesting tool now do to your research. Some pictures, and a screencast to prove this.

Example 1 – Age coloring


Age colored fan chart. White indicates no known age

Age coloring shows the ancestors of the active person in a color corresponding to their age. This gives a fast overview of which ancestors require more research, and gives insight into the living conditions










Example 2 – Filtering

Filter applied to the fan chart

The Fan Chart allows to use the person filter like the peron listview. For example, here the chart has been set to a single color (orange), and is filtered on Male people with a Death Event. In single color mode, only the filtered results have a background color. This gives fast visual feedback on your query. It can be seen that Halste, John has no Death date in the tooltip box, and indeed, the box is white.

In this example, the Fan Chart Options are also shown.  The Fan chart is shown here as a half circle.



Example 3 – Time period coloring

In this example, the ancestors are colored depending on the time period they lived in. It becomes immediately clear there is an error for one of the ancestors, as the year 2000 is present. The chart is an example of using the quadrant view of the fanchart.

The chidren ring is also visible here. The first example was a person without chidren, which shows as a hollow center ring, and no children ring. Here there are 3 children, which you see with the black dot in the center to indicate children, and a ring with tree colored sections, one per child. Dragging a child from this ring to the center or on top of the active person will change the view to this person.


Example 4 – A screencast

A screencast to show the Fan chart view in action: +Gramps


  • Peter Landgren

    What an improvment! Will the FanChart report be kept?

    It’s a pity I can’t run it yet.


  • Benny

    I think this is better than the fanchart report. The idea would be to see if we can change the drawreports so that the drawing part of the view can be included as the new fan chart drawreport.
    The report now has extra:
    1. show empty radials. Don’t think this is interesting
    2. show also birth and death year.

    I think otherwise everything is included in the view.

  • Gramps » Descendant Fanchart

    [...] Fanchart: from Gimmick to Research Tool? [...]

  • Ben in Seattle

    Wow! That’s fantastic work. Right now I use the “Graph View” (addon for “ancestry”) as my workhorse view. “Graph” is a great way to navigate quickly and visually see the connections between people, but I could totally see this new fanchart replacing it for me. The only thing I’d need is the option for two side-by-side fancharts, one showing ancestors and the other, descendants.

    I’m looking forward to trying it out in the next Gramps!

    P.S. I’m posting this from a computer booted with the Linux Genealogy 6.1 disk!

    P.P.S. Any chance the “graph view” can be included by default with Gramps? It’s slightly annoying to have to download it from the plugins each time.

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