Gramps 5.1 Wiki Manual - Main Window
Elements of Gramps main window or
A Visual Guide to the Gramps Interface.
Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are a way of arranging information on a computer screen that is easy to understand and use because it uses icons, menus, and a mouse rather than only text.
While a GUI is much more intuitive than memorizing keyboard commands, it is hard to learn from the feature documentation without knowing the feature’s name to lookup. Many elements are not labeled in Gramps to reduce clutter and maximize space for displaying Genealogical information. There are even preference options to not show text labels for the buttons (icons) in the Category Navigator panel.
So this section of the Wiki Manual gives the standardized names of Gramps screen elements. Armed with the standard names, you can more efficiently use a search engine (like Google) to find pages in the online manual that discuss that element. As an example, to search for Gramps Wiki Manual pages on the "Navigator Mode" phrase, use following the Google search terms:
"navigator mode" site:gramps-project.org/wiki
This particular search even finds descriptively named illustrations of selecting the modes for the Navigator sidebar. Selecting one of those images shows a webpage about the illustration and where it is used in the documentation. Those illustrated pages tend to have greater introductory material.
If a particular screen element does not appear among the images below, look through the Gramps Screenshot Gallery. This page shows the Gramps thumbnail screenshots that are used throughout the documentation. Click the thumbnail image to show the full sized image and variants of that image, then scroll down to the "File usage" section to find Wiki pages that illustrate the features within that screenshot. Likewise, the Gramps Icon Gallery identifies the proper names of icons used throughout Gramps.
Once you are familiar with the screen elements, explore the keybindings or hotkeys to learn the shortcuts for features used so frequently that keyboard shortcuts have been created.
- 1 Main Window
- 2 Switching Navigator modes
- 3 Switching Categories
- 4 Switching Views
- 5 Filters
- 6 Troubleshooting a misbehaving interface
When opening a (new or existing) Family Tree database, the introductory Gramps Dashboard window will be shown in the "Display Area" with the Sidebar and Bottombar hidden. Upon selecting the People Category from the Navigator, the Main Window layout will updated to show the "Person (List) View" in the "Display Area". See Fig. 3.1:
The main Gramps window contains the following elements:
Window Title Bar
- Window Title Bar shows the name of selected Family Tree, the name of the Category view, Gramps application name and buttons to minimize, maximize and close Gramps. The window can also be dragged from the Title Bar.
- Menubar: The menubar (Main Menu) is located at the very top of the window (right below the window title) and provides access to all the features of Gramps.
- Menus are contextual - the options shown depend on which category is active.
- Clicking a menu's header label opens that particular submenu. Submenu items may be dimmed (unavailable) if they are not usable with the active item.
Typographically, Menu selections will look like this in the wiki manual: Menu -> Submenu -> Menu Item.
Visibility of elements
Using the View menu, you can hide or unhide several elements of Main Window.
Outside the menubar, the occurrence of an unlabeled Down Arrowhead ∨ pull-down menu button indicates additional options are available for the interface item to its left.
The most invisible interface option might be the contextual pop-up menu.
Right-clicking an interface item will reveal shortcuts to some frequently useful features for that item.
Right-clicking on objects is a familiar theme in GUIs. But right-clicking in the empty header space of any Object Editor is less obvious. However, this reveals another contextual pop-up menu with other shortcuts to useful reporting and navigation options.
- Toolbar: The toolbar is located right below the menubar. It gives you access to the most frequently used functions of Gramps.
- Tools shown depend on which category is active
- ⚙ Configurable Options: most Category views have a Configure... button as an alternative to choosing the View ➡ Configure... from the View menu, or pressing the Configure active view keyboard keybinding. This option opens a dialog with choices for displaying records in the View.
- Hovering over a tool shows a tip of its function
The Toolbar can be hidden or revealed by the option in menu View ->Toolbar.
One of options of the Theme tab is a ☑ Toolbar Text checkbox. Selecting the checkbox causes the text labels to appear.
- Navigator: The navigator is an optional sidebar located at the left of the window and allows selection of the different categories. See Categories of the Navigator
- The Navigator is shown by default but this sidebar can be optionally hidden or revealed from the menu View ->Navigator or the keybinding CTRL+M. (⌘ Cmd+M on MacOS.)
- Switching Navigator modes
- You can hide the text labels by deselecting the ☑Show text label beside Navigator buttons option in the Edit -> Preferences Display tab.
- Display area: The area in the center of the Gramps window is the display area. What it displays depends on the currently selected View category. We will discuss Views in detail below.
Status Bar and Progress Bar
- Status Bar and Progress Bar: These are located at the very bottom of the Gramps window.
- The Progress Bar is located in the lower left corner of the Gramps window. It displays the progress of time consuming operations, such as opening and saving large Family Tree databases, importing and exporting to other formats, generating web sites, etc. When you are not doing these types of operations, the Progress Bar is not shown.
- The Status Bar is located to the right of the Progress Bar. It displays information about current Gramps activity and contextual information about the selected items.
- The Status Bar may occasionally show a passing alert, warning of unusual conditions. An informative Warning button with a superficial summary (like the one below) will be displayed for three minutes at the left of the Status Bar. Clicking this lightbulb icon will show details of these minor alerts.
Bottombar and Sidebar
The Gramplet Bar is also known as the Bottombar and Sidebar.
- Bottombar: The bottombar is located below the display area.
- Sidebar: The sidebar is located to the right of the display area.
Gramplet Bar Menu
You can also add / remove and restore the default Gramplets by clicking the ∨ (Down Arrowhead button) also known as the Gramplet Bar Menu at the far top right of the bars titles, and then using one of the options from the drop-down menu eg:
- Gramplet Bar Menu
- Add a gramplet - Displays a list of Gramplets available for use on that Gramplet Bar
- Remove a gramplet - Displays a list of Gramplets currently shown on the Gramplet Bar available for removal.
- Restore default gramplets - Displays the Restore to defaults? confirmation dialog, that allows you to restores the Gramplet Bar to its default Gramplets.
Restore to defaults? dialog
The Restore to defaults? dialog, allows you to restore the Gramplet Bar to its default Gramplets. This action cannot be undone. Select OK to confirm or select Cancel.
If the Sidebar is not displayed in a Category view with a list, then the Search Bar is displayed instead. Available search options vary depending on Category View you are in. But a visible sidebar makes the Search Bar Invisible.
A Search Bar is available for the following Views and the Select windows for the following Categories: People, Relationships, Families, Events, Places, Sources, Citations, Repositories, Media, Notes. Not Available in the following Category Views: Dashboard, Relationships, Charts, Geography.
Typing the characters into the Search Bar and clicking the Find button will display only lines that match the text.
Note that various Selectors also have search bars:
You can choose the navigator mode from the sidebar Category drop down list:
- Category (Default)
- Category navigator mode (default)
Category Sidebar - A sidebar to allow the selection of view categories.
- Drop-Down navigator mode
Drop-down Sidebar - Selection of categories and views from drop-down lists.
- Expander navigator mode
Expander Sidebar - Selection of views from lists with expanders.
In the Plugin Manager, Navigator modes are called Sidebar plugins, but this is inconsistent, because the View->Sidebar menu item removes the right-hand filter/gramplet sidebar, not the left-hand category sidebar.
Gramps comes with number of different categories as standard. The built-in categories are described in categories.
The way you change the currently displayed category depends on the navigator mode. Normally (for most navigator modes) you can select the category you want by clicking one of the navigator icons.
Alternatively you can use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL+N and CTRL+P (⌘ Cmd+N and ⌘ Cmd+P on a Mac) go to the next or previous category respectively or use keyboard shortcuts CTRL+Alt+<number> (⌘ Cmd+⌥ Opt+<number> on a Mac) Shortcut are only available for the first 10 categories (e.g. Repositories/Media/Notes categories miss out on shortcuts.) If you have hidden the Navigator then shortcuts will be the only way to change categories until you turn the Navigator on again.
A category can contain different ways of presenting the data, called a View. If there are several viewing modes, you can switch between modes interactively. The way you change between the modes depends on the Category View. The Configuration options for each mode are independently controlled.
In Views styled in tables of data with rows and columns, the modes are typically between a hierarchically grouped outline or a simple single-level sortable list. Table style view modes are configured with the Column Editor and have have sorting options.
When there are multiple viewing modes, will be additional icon buttons on the toolbar to switch between those different viewing modes.
You can also switch via the View menu, or the View menu keybindings by pressing Ctrl+Alt+<number> (for Linux & Windows) or ⌘ Cmd+Alt+<number> (for MacOS), where <number> corresponds to the order of viewing modes listed in the category's View menu.
Modes are also selectable from the Navigator sidebar when using the Drop-down or Expander arrangements. The Navigator sidebar defaults to the Category arrangement which has no mode selector. Using the Drop-Down or Expander mode makes the additional viewing modes available as Navigator icons.
Genealogical databases can contain information on many people, families, places, and objects. That means it is possible for a View to contain a list of data so long that is difficult to navigate. Beyond the basic seek-as-you-type Find box for precision navigation of the list, Gramps gives you two different means for filtering a list to a more manageable size.
These methods are Search and Filtering.
A search will search the text displayed in list, whereas filters display people whose data match the criteria of the filter.
Search is a simple but fast method of searching the columns displayed on the screen. When the sidebar is not displayed, the Search bar is displayed. Typing the characters into the Search bar and clicking the Find button will display only lines that match the text.
Alternatively, you can enable a filter in either the bottombar or the sidebar. When the filter sidebar is displayed, the Search bar is not displayed. The Filter allows you to interactively build a set of filter rules that can be applied to the display. The filter is applied based on the rules and the data, not on the screen display. Filters of the displayed category can also be constructed by clicking on the corresponding 'editor' button in the Edit menu.
Further details of how filters work is given in the Filters Chapter
Searching vs. Filtering
Searching only searches for exact text matches. If the date displayed is "Jan 1, 2000", a search of "1/1/2000" will fail, but a filter of "1/1/2000" will match because it matches the date value rather than the formatted date.
When Gramps opens a Family Tree, no filtering is in effect. In People View, for example, all people in the Family Tree are listed by default.
Troubleshooting a misbehaving interface
If your Gramps GUI is behaving contrary to the manner described in this guide, you may have an installation or minor compatibility issue.
It is likely that the behavior has been seen before and a solution has been identified.
Please review the Troubleshooting pages. If you are unable to discover the solution there, post a description of the problem to the general Gramps community on our user maillist. We help each other constantly there.
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