Gramps 4.0 Wiki Manual - Settings

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Most of the settings in Gramps, are configured in the Preferences dialog. To invoke it, select the menu Edit ->Preferences....

The tabs on the top display the available option categories.

Fig. 13.1 The tabs on the top of Preferences


Fig. 13.2 General Preferences

This category contains preferences relevant to the general operation of the program. Options are:

  • Add default source on import: This option affects the importing of data. If this is set, each item that is imported will contain a source reference to the imported file.

Adding a default source can significantly slow down the importing your data.

  • Enable spelling checker: This option controls the enabling and disabling of the spelling checker for notes. The gtkspell package must be loaded for this to have an effect.
  • Display Tip of the Day: This option controls the enabling and disabling of the Tip of the Day dialog at startup.
  • Use shading in Relationship View: This option controls the enabling and disabling of shading in the Relationship View. If enabled, information will be grouped together in regions with a shaded background.
  • Display edit buttons on Relationship View: This option controls the enabling and disabling of the edit buttons in the Relationship view. If enabled you will see the edit buttons on the right side of the displayed names.
  • Remember last view displayed: This option controls the enabling and disabling of the the display of the last view. Enabling will bring you to the view where you stopped the program the last time.
  • Number of generations for relationship determination: You can fill in the number of generations used to determine relationships. The default value is 15.
  • Base path for relative media path: Here you can fill in a base path for the media objects. Clicking the Directory button gives you a Select media directory editor where you can fill in the required path.

Family Tree

Fig. 13.3 Family Tree Preferences

This category contains preferences relevant to the Family Tree Database path.

  • Family Tree Database path: The default path where the Databases are stored is home directory/.gramps/grampsdb. Unless you absolutely want to change this, stay with the default path.
  • Automatically load last database: This option controls the enabling and disabling of the loading on start up of the last used database.


Fig. 13.4 Display Preferences

This category contains preferences relevant to the display of data and names. Options are:

  • Name format: This option controls the display of names. In Gramps there are two type of name display formats: the predefined formats, and the user defined custom formats. Several different predefined name formats are available: Given - Prefix Patronymic, Suffix Given - Prefix Surname, Given Patronymic Suffix etc. Clicking on the righthand side Edit... will bring up a Display Name Editor window where the available list of options is shown. The format is given as well as an example. When predefined formats are not suitable one can define one's own format. You can use the Add button to add a Name format to the list. Clicking once will give you a SURNAME,Given Suffix(call) format and as example : SMITH, Edwin Jose Sr (Ed). If you added new name formats to the list the Remove and Edit buttons become available to change the name format list.


Besides the system wide setting Gramps allows deciding the name display format individually for every single name via the Display Name Editor dialog

Fig. 13.5 Display Name Editor


Custom name display formats are stored in the databases, thus before loading any database the Custom format details expander is disabled.

  • Date format: This option controls the display of dates. Several different formats are available, (e.g. YYYY-MM-DD (ISO)) which may be dependent on your locale.
  • Calendar on reports: This option controls the display of calendar on reports, tools, gramplets, views. Several different calendars are available (see Date Edition). Two dates with two differents calendars will not properly display timeline or periode, (e.g. by setting Gregorian calendar as default displayed calendar, users will have a better coherency for displaying dates on period).
  • Surname Guessing: This option affects the initial family name of a child when he/she is added to the database. If None is selected, no guessing will be attempted. Selecting Father's surname will use the family name of the father. Selecting Combination of mother's and father's surname will use the father's name followed by the mother's name. Finally, Icelandic style will use the father's given name followed by the "sson" suffix (e.g. the son of Edwin will be guessed as Edwinsson).

This option only affects the initial family name guessed by Gramps when the Edit Person dialog is launched. You can modify that name the way you see fit. Set this option to the value that you will most frequently use, as it will save you a lot of typing.

  • Status bar: This option controls the information displayed in the status bar. This can be either the Active person's name and ID or Relationship to home person.
  • Show text in sidebar buttons: This option controls whether or not a text description is displayed next to the icon in the sidebar. This option takes effect after the program has been restarted.


Fig. 13.6 Text Preferences

This category contains preferences relevant to how missing and private names and records should be shown.

  • Missing surname: in the input field you can determine how a missing surname should be displayed. Default value is [Missing Surname]. You can change this to [--] or whatever is most convenient for you.
  • Missing given name: in the input field you can determine how a missing given name should be displayed. Default value is [Missing given name]. You can change this to whatever you want.
  • Missing record
  • Private surname
  • Private given name
  • Private record

ID Formats

Fig. 13.7 ID Formats Preferences

This category contains preferences relevant to the automatic generation of GRAMPS IDs.

  • Person: Provides the template for generating IDs for a Person. Default value: I%04d.
  • Family: Provides the template for generating IDs for a Family. Default value: F%04d.
  • Place: Provides the template for generating IDs for a Place. Default value: P%04d.
  • Source: Provides the template for generating IDs for a Source. Default value: S%04d.
  • Citation: Provides the template for generating IDs for a Citation. Default value: C%04d.
  • Media Object: Provides the template for generating IDs for a Media Object. Default value: O%04d.
  • Event: Provides the template for generating IDs for an Event. Default value: E%04d.
  • Repository: Provides the template for generating IDs for a Repository. Default value: R%04d.
  • Note: Provides the template for generating IDs for a Note. Default value: N%04d.
ID Prefixes

The ID prefixes use formatting conventions common for C, Python, and other programming languages. For example, the %04d expands to an integer, prepended with zeros to have the total width of four digits. If you would like IDs to be 1, 2, 3, etc., simply set the formatting parameter to %d.


Fig. 13.8 Dates Preferences

Researcher Information

Fig. 13.9 Researcher Preferences

Enter your personal information in the corresponding text entry fields. Although Gramps requests information about you, this information is used only so that Gramps can create valid GEDCOM output files. A valid GEDCOM file requires information about the file's creator. If you choose, you may leave the information empty, however none of your exported GEDCOM files will be valid.

The available text entry fields are:

  • Name:
  • Address:
  • Locality:
  • City:
  • State/County:
  • Country:
  • ZIP/Postal Code:
  • Phone:
  • Email:

The information entered under this preference acts as default value for family tree specific values that can be adjusted with the Edit Database Owner Information tool.


Fig. 13.10 Warning Preferences

This category controls the display of warning dialogs, allowing the re-enabling of dialogs that have been disabled.

  • Suppress warning when adding parents to a child.
  • Suppress warning when cancelling with changed data.
  • Suppress warning about missing researcher when exporting to GEDCOM.
  • Show plugin status dialog on plugin load error.


This category allows you to set the colors used for boxes in the graphical views

Fig. 10.10 Color Preferences

Other settings

Besides Preferences dialog, there are other settings available in Gramps. For various reasons they have been made more readily accessible, as listed below.

Column Editor

Fig. 13.11 Column editor

The columns of the list views may be added, removed, or reordered in a Column Editor dialog. Only checked columns will be shown in the view. To change their order, drag any column to its desired place inside the editor. Clicking OK will reflect the changes in the appropriate view. To invoke Column Editor dialog, choose via the menu View ->Configure View... or click on toolbar Configure View... button.

Column Editor

The Column Editor is available and works in the same way for all list views. Specifically, it is available for People View, Family View (children list). Sources View, Citations View, Places View, Media View, Repositories View and the Notes View.

Setting Home person

To set the Home person, select the People Catagory and make the desired person active and then choose via the menu Edit ->Set Home Person.

Menu showing Set Home Person

The Home person is the default person who becomes active when one of the following occurs:

  • the Family tree database is opened
  • when the toolbar Home button is clicked
  • the Home menu item is selected from either the Go menu or the right-click context menu in selected views
  • the keybinding ALT+Home is used to return to the Home Person.

The toolbar Home button is available in the People Catagory, Relationships Catagory, and Pedigree Catagory.

Adjusting viewing controls

Whether the toolbar, the sidebar, or the filter (not available on Pedigree and Relationships Views) are displayed in the main window is adjusted through the View menu.

In the different views clicking the View menu will shows for boxes you can click:

  • Navigator
  • Toolbar
  • Sidebar
  • Bottombar
  • Full Screen F11

Additionally, depending on the view you are in, other options will be available on Configure.

  • Gramplets:
    • Set Columns to 1
    • Set Columns to 2
    • Set Columns to 3
  • Relationships:
    • Show Siblings
    • Show Details
  • Geography:
    • Time period
    • Layout

All other Views: the column editor.

Export View...

Fig. 13.12 Export to ODS

On most Views, displayed data could be exported, choose via the menu Family Trees ->Export View....

Gramps will export data on screen according your choice: CSV or Open Document spreadsheet format.

The example shows an export to a Libreoffice Spreadsheet in the ODS format.

This is a powerful function (no limitations), like a report.

Modularity and plugins

Views are real "plugins" since version 3.2.

Gramps is more modular and flexible.

See plugins manager and Addons.

Fig. 13.13 The plugins manager
Fig. 13.14 Ability to hide plugins

Style editor

If you have a report you will see in the top part of the screen the options related that that specific report and in the lower part you will see the Document Options. From a drop down menu you can choose a style. You can make your own style if you click the Style Editor... button.

If you click this button you will get a window with Style name field. You can give this style an adequate name.

On the left hand side you will see the Paragraph section. This section is specific for each report.

The example shows the paragraphs for the Title Page: Footer, Subtitle and Title.

On the right hand side are three tabs:

  • Description: The description describes what each paragraph is all about. Here the style used for the title.
  • Font options: Here you can set the Type face Roman or Swiss, the Size of the font in pt., the Color of the font and some Options like Bold, Italic or Underline.
  • Paragraph options: Here you set the Alignment, the Background color, Indentation, Spacing and Bording of your style.

After all the changes on your own style you can click the Cancel or to save the changes click the OK button.

Fig. 13.15 Highlighted Position of the Style Editor section on a Report Document Options screen
Fig. 13.16 Style Description
Fig. 13.17 Font Options
Fig. 13.18 Font Options

Advanced manipulation of settings


The contents of this section is outside the scope of interest of a general user of Gramps. If you proceed with tweaking the options on the low level you may damage your Gramps installation. Be careful. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Fig. 13.19 The gramps.ini file

Gramps 4.0 uses INI keys stored in the file gramps.ini under .gramps (gramplets, keys) for managing user preferences.

The list has following sub-items:

  • behavior: typical Key names are: betawarn, enable-autobackup, use-tips...
  • export: export and import dirs
  • interface: a lot of keys regarding height and width of the different Views: e.g. event-height: 450, event-ref-height: 585, event-ref-width: 728, event-width: 712...
  • paths: keys related to recent imported files and dirs
  • preferences: keys related to preferences: all the common prefixes , todo -colors..
  • researcher: all information regarding the researcher

Name Format Editor

New formats are created, and existing formats are modified using this editor.

  • Format name: The name of the custom format. The format name can be any string, it is used only to recognize the format later on the Display format list.
  • Format definition: The actual format is defined here using special formatting characters. Before and after these special characters any other character or string is allowed. For example: "(%t) %L, %f" will give "(Dr.) SMITH, Edwin". The formatting characters are:
%f Given Name %F GIVEN NAME
%l Surname %L SURNAME
%t Title %T TITLE
%p Prefix %P- PREFIX
%s- Suffix %S SUFFIX
%c Call name %C CALL NAME
%y Patronymic %Y PATRONYMIC
  • Example: Shows a dynamic example how the name will be displayed with the current Format definition string.
  • Format definition details: Shows a quick reminder of the special formatting characters.
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