Importing Data

Importing allows you to bring data from other genealogy programs into a GRAMPS database. Currently, GRAMPS can import data from the following formats:

[Note]Importing vs. opening

Please recognize that importing a database is different from opening a database. When you import, you are actually bringing data from one database into a GRAMPS database. When you open a file, you are editing your original file.

To import data, select FileImport. The Import database dialog will open, asking you to specify the file you wish to import.

[Warning]Data loss with some formats

It is important to note that the importing process is not perfect for GEDCOM and GeneWeb databases. There is a chance that some of the data in these databases will not be imported into GRAMPS.

The GRAMPS database (grdb), GRAMPS XML, and GRAMPS package are all native GRAMPS formats. There is no risk of information loss when import or exporting to these formats.

GRAMPS database (grdb)

The native GRAMPS database format is a specific form of Berkeley database (BSDDB) with a special structure of data tables. This format is binary and architecture-dependent. It is very quick and efficient, but not generally portable across computers with different binary architecture (e.g. i386 vs. alpha).


The GRAMPS XML file was the default format for older versions of GRAMPS. Unlike the grdb format, it is architecture independent and human-readable. The database may also have references to non-local (external) media objects, therefore it is not guaranteed to be completely portable. The GRAMPS XML database is created by saving ( FileSave As... ) or exporting ( FileExport... ) data in that format

GRAMPS package

The GRAMPS package is a compressed archive containing the GRAMPS XML file and all media objects (images, sound files, etc.) to which the database refers. Because it contains all the media objects, this format is completely portable. The GRAMPS package is created by exporting ( FileExport... ) data in that format.

If you import information from another GRAMPS database or GRAMPS XML database, you will see the progress of the operation in the progress bar of GRAMPS' main window.