Gramps 5.0 Wiki Manual - Navigation

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Please update or expand this section.

As long as any Family Tree database is open, Gramps is focused on a single person usually referred to as an Active Person. This allows you to view or modify the data concerning this person, his or her immediate family, etc. Navigating in the Family Tree database (i.e. moving from person to person) is in fact nothing else but changing the Active Person. This section describes many alternative ways to navigate through the database using both the complex and the convenient interfaces Gramps provides. All these ways fundamentally accomplish the same result, but some methods of navigating will be more convenient than others... depending on what you are doing in Gramps at the moment.

Using the People Category

The most intuitive way to select an Active Person is to use the People Category. When in the People Category, just select the name of the desired person from the list by clicking that list entry. The person you have selected becomes active. The statusbar updates to reflect the change of the active person.

See also

Using the Relationships Category

When in the Relationships Category, you can easily navigate between the members of the displayed family as follows:

Click on the underlined name of the person you want to go to and this person will be the new active person of the Relationships Category.

The name of the currently active person is not underlined.

In addition to this, Gramps provides an extensive set of keyboard navigation options. The detailed reference to the key bindings is found in the Appendix B: Keybindings reference.

Using the Families Category


Please update or expand this section.

When in the Families Category, you can easily navigate between the displayed families.

Using the Charts 22x22-gramps-pedigree.png Category

Timeline Pedigree View - 3rd Party Addon for Chart Category - context menu example

Gramps relies heavily on form-based layouts of linked list items. These imply relationships between records in your family Tree. The Charts Category provides an alternative, more visual, way of representing those relationships. The positions, shapes, and colors of containers along with their connecting lines & arrows can show an extra depth of interrelation with different factors. Containers can be simple color filled boxes, arcs, ribbons, or many other shapes.

But the Charts Category also provides an alternative way to navigate through the family tree. The benefit of this method is that you can see more than one generation of the family tree. So you can jump directly from a great-grandson to a great-grandfather without going through the intermediate generations.

Note that after changing the Active Person in the Charts Category, the Chart View is re-adjusted to the newly selected Active Person focus. When in the Charts Category, you can easily navigate between the members of the displayed family tree as follows:

To make any displayed person the Active Person focus, left-click their corresponding container. Right-clicking the container will invoke a context menu with options appropriate to contents.

The a context menu for a Person container may contain ▶sub-menus listing all spouses, siblings, children, and parents of the corresponding Person. The first entry in the context menu will usually be the name of the Person in that container. (It could alternately be an Edit option.) Selecting the Person name will shift focus in the same way as left-clicking the container. You can also change the Active Person focus to any of the spouses, siblings, children, or parents of any displayed person.

Some charts views have an obvious navigational correlation. Moving through generations intuitively matches moving to the left, right, upwards or downwards in the chart. These may have custom directional navigation buttons to allow navigation by clicking rather than dragging.

As an example, to change the focus of the Pedigree ViewCharts to a child (if any exists) of the current Active Person, click the (Left Arrowhead) button to the left of the Active Person’s chart box. If there is only one child, the focus changes immediately. If the Active Person has more than one child, the (Left Arrowhead) button expands with a pop-up menu with a selectable list of the children. (For this particular (Left Arrowhead) button, the pop-up menu list of Children is sorted by that Parent‘s Marriage order, sub-sorted by Birth order. These orders can be changed globally in the Relationships category.)

Advantages of using context (right-click) menus

Direct access to spouse and siblings. Complete lists of all member of all categories, not only the preferred members.

Like containers, buttons may have alternate features accessed by right-clicking and choosing from a contexual pop-up menu.

Other buttons are less obvious aids to navigating to not People but features of Gramps. Using the Pedigree ViewCharts example again, rolling over the lines between boxes shows a hint with any known basic details about the relationship and double-clicking those lines opens the editor for that Family. And double-clicking the Active Person box opens the editor for that Person. It is well worth reading the detailed documentation on each Chart View to discover these hidden shortcuts to favorite features.

The built-in Views of the Chart Category are introduced in the Categories reference section. Some are described in greater depth in articles listed at the bottom of the View’s introductory section.

The collection of Views in the Charts Category can be expanded with 3rd Party Addons using the Plug-in Manager feature of Gramps. The available 3rd Party Addon plug-ins can be found under the View column of the list of Addons table. The maintenance of a few 3rd Party Addon Views has been adopted by the Gramps volunteer team over the years. These became 'built-in' after being vetted and then included in the main Gramps distributions. Articles about using each Addon View are linked to the label Plugin/Documentation column. The quality of documentation varies dramatically for these articles.

Using Gramplets

Image should be changed

Select a up-to-date view eg. from Person Editor's sidebar and bottonbar showing gramplets!.

Fig. 8.1 Dashboard Category view - with example Gramplets shown

On the Sidebar and bottombar you can enable some Gramplets like:

Providing the ability to navigate with the relative, descendants or ancestors of the Active Person into the View.

On the right side of bars are often seen ">" ja "<" buttons which allow navigation between gramplets. Also Arrow down button is possible. By it you can add and remove gramplets and change to default gramplets of category.

To click on a link will change the Active Person.

Setting the Home Person

One (and only one) person in the Family Tree database can be designated as the Home Person. Once the Home Person is designated, returning the Active Person focus to that person becomes a matter of a single click, regardless of which Category is being used at the moment.

To set the Home Person, first navigate to that person using any method you like. Then choose the People category and select the menu Edit ->Set Home Person. Once this is done, you can move to the Home Person from anywhere in the database by simply clicking the Toolbar Home icon. You can also choose the menu Go ->Home or select Home item from any context menu available on the right click or use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Home.

Setting the Active Person


Please update or expand this section.

Using history-based tools


Please update or expand this section.

Fig. 8.2 Example of the history based navigation tools

Gramps also features a powerful set of history-based navigation tools. These tools are similar to those commonly used in web browsers.

They include Back and Forward items available from the Go menu, context menus (available in People, Family, and Pedigree Categories), and the toolbar buttons. They also include the list of the recent selections available under the Go menu that allows you to jump directly to any of the recent selections. Finally, right-clicking on the < Back and Forward > toolbar buttons invokes the popup menu with corresponding portion of the history. Select any item from the menu to jump directly to it.


Similar to setting the Home person, you can bookmark other people from the database to simplify further navigation. To bookmark a person, first navigate to that person, then choose the menu Bookmarks ->Add Bookmark. To move to that person elsewhere in the database, choose the menu Bookmarks ->Person's name from the list of bookmarked names shown. The other categories have their own list of Bookmarks.

Fig. 8.3 Organize Bookmarks

You can manage your bookmarks by choosing the menu Bookmarks ->Organize bookmarks... or keybinding Shift+CTRL+D. This opens the Organize Bookmarks dialog with the list of bookmarks and the controls to modify this list.

Use the Up and Down buttons to change the list sequence. Use the Remove button to remove a Bookmark. The Help will bring you to this page, and you close the Organize Bookmarks window with the Close button.

The list of Bookmarked People can be selected through the People Category, as explained above, but is also shared with the Relationships and Charts Categories.

On a similar basis, separate lists of Bookmarks are maintained in each of the following Categories: Families, Events, Places, Sources, Citations, Repositories, Media, and Notes.

Notes as Navigational Shortcuts

Fig. 8.4 Notes Editor - Linking text

There are separate Bookmarks lists in several categories. But they are still just simple lists. Long lists of bookmarks quickly become unwieldy.

Persistent Links can be created in Notes. Use the Link Editor in Notes to organize navigation links to different types of Gramps records following to your own organization methods. Once a Note has linked text, that linked record can be used like a Bookmark. Navigate to that record by holding the CTRL key and clicking on the Linked Text. One note be used as a Linked Index to other Notes with different sets of Links.

An example of a linked note might include an obituary where all the Persons, Places or even the Events are Linked. This makes it easier to navigate to the indirectly related (or even unrelated) pallbearers, funeral officiants, or attendees.

Another note might be the transcribed bibliography for the published original research of another genealogist. As you collect digital copies of those originally cited references, the linked bibliography can be used as a Source acquisition checklist. When completely Linked, the Bibliography can be use to navigate through Sources for each citation while searching for unsupported conclusions, inaccuracies or omissions.

Finding records

Finding People

For more complex people searches you may want to use filters. Enable filter controls by choosing menu View -> Sidebar, select the desired filter, and click Find. For details, see Filters.

Fig. 8.5 Find people list view using Interactive search type ahead - example

To find a record in a database, first switch to the appropriate Category that provides the list of the desired records: People, Sources, Places, or Media. Then start typing the name of a person or the title of a Source, Place, or Media object that you are looking for, respectively. You may also press CTRL+F to turn on the search mode, but simply starting to type is also enough.

As you type, the first record in the list that is compatible with your input will be selected.

Using the Clipboard

Not your ordinary Clipboard

Note, that the Gramps Clipboard doesn't work anything like a standard computer clipboard. It works like a real clipboard in that you drag things onto it, and drag-copy them off.


Clipboard storage is persistent within a single Gramps session. Closing the Clipboard window will not lose the stored records. However, exiting Gramps will.

If you do need to save items between sessions there is a Third-party Addon Clipboard Gramplet that does.

Fig. 8.6 Clipboard - dialog - Showing Context menu (right click) example

For an application like Gramps the Clipboard is very important as it will help reduce repetitive data entry.

The Clipboard tool provides a temporary notepad to store database records for easy reuse during a single Gramps session eg: until you exit Gramps. In short, this is a sort of the copy-and-paste functionality extended from textual objects to other types of records used in Gramps. Clipboard makes extensive use of the drag and drop technique

To invoke the Clipboard, either choose the menu Edit->Clipboard or click the Toolbar Clipboard button or use the Keyboard shortcut (accelerator key) CTRL+B.

Clipboard supports addresses, attributes (both personal and family), events (both personal and family), names, media objects references, citations, URLs, and of course textual information of notes and comments. To store any type of these records, simply drag the existing record on to the Clipboard Pad from the corresponding editor dialog. To reuse the record, drag it from the Clipboard on to the corresponding place in the editor, e.g. Address tab, Attribute tab, etc.


Some objects show a link icon in the left column. This indicates that dragging such selection will produce a reference to an existing object, not copy the object itself. For example, the media object file will not be duplicated. Instead, the reference will be made to an existing media object, which will result in the local gallery entry.

Selecting a record using the the context menu (right click) will show the following three options for each record type:

  • See the [RECORD TYPE] details
  • Make the [RECORD TYPE] active
  • Create Filter from the [RECORD TYPE] selected

One example
You find a birth certificate of a person. In this certificate also the witnesses are mentioned. And the birth certificate also determines a source where the information was stored. The best way is to open the clipboard and drag the source you want to work with there. Then use drag and drop to use it in new items you use.

Now you can finalize the information on the person editor screen. Drag that info also to the Clipboard.

Now you add two new persons for the witnesses (assuming you do not have them already in your database). Simply drag and drop the birth info to the witness event screen. You are then presented with the screen where you can change the role of the witness to witness for this birth event. You do the same with the other witness.

This saves you a lot of typing and possible errors.

Main Menus

Fig. 8.7 Menubar - Main Menu Overview - No Family Tree Loaded
Fig. 8.8 Menubar - Main Menu Overview - Family Tree Loaded
Fig. 8.9 Menubar - Main Menu Overview - Family Tree Loaded showing "Active" and "Windows" menu entries in use

The MenuBar shows the available Gramps Menus that change and appear depending on the Category used eg: Edit / View.


Please update or expand this section.

Family Trees

Fig. 8.10 Menubar - "Family Trees" - overview example
  • Manage Family Trees... -
  • Open Recent -
  • Close -

  • Import... - Bring in data from other formats.
  • Export... - Exporting data allows you to share any portion of your Gramps Family Tree with other researchers as well as to enable you to transfer your data to another computer.

  • Export View... - Menu only appears on most Views, if the displayed data can be exported. Gramps will export data on screen according your choice: CSV or Open Document spreadsheet format.

  • Abandon Changes and Quit... -
  • Quit... -


Fig. 8.11 Menubar - Add Overview
  • Add - a new object also see keybindings.

  • Person -
  • Family -
  • Event -
  • Place -
  • Source -
  • Citation -
  • Repository -
  • Media -
  • Note -


Fig. 8.12 Menubar - Edit Overview
  • Undo -
  • Redo -
  • Undo History... - Open the Undo History dialog

Additional menu options dependent on Category view will appear here.

  • Clipboard - The Clipboard tool provides a temporary notepad to store database records for easy reuse.

  • Preferences... - Shows the Preferences dialog. That allows you to change most settings in Gramps.
  • Additional menu options dependent on Category view will appear here.


Fig. 8.13 Menubar - "View" - overview example
  • Configure... - Allows you to configure the active view.
  • Navigator... -
  • Toolbar... -
  • Dependent on view other menu items will appear here
  • Full Screen... -

  • Dependent on view other menu items will appear here


Fig. 8.14 Menubar - Go Overview

  • Dynamic list of People, Families, etc you have worked on depending on the List view you are in.


Fig. 8.15 Menubar - Bookmarks Overview
  • Add Bookmark - Create a bookmark from the currently selected item eg: Person, Family etc..
  • Organize Bookmarks... - Opens the Organize Bookmarks window.

  • Dynamic section where the bookmarks appear


Fig. 8.16 Menubar - Reports Overview
  • Books... - The Books Report allows you to create a custom genealogy book containing a collection of Gramps textual and graphical reports in a single document (i.e. a Book)

  • Graphs... -
    • Family Lines Graph... -
    • Hourglass Graph... -
    • Relationship Graph... -
  • Graphical Reports... -
    • Ancestor Tree... -
    • Calendar... -
    • Descendant Tree... -
    • Family Descendant Tree... -
    • Fan Chart... -
    • Statistics Charts... -
    • Timeline Chart... -
  • Text Reports... -
    • Ahnentafel Report... -
    • Birthday and Anniversary Report... -
    • Complete Individual Report... -
    • Database Summary Report... -
    • Descendant Report... -
    • Detailed Ancestral Report... -
    • Detailed Descendant Report... -
    • End of Line Report... -
    • Family Group Report... -
    • Kinship Report... -
    • Number of Ancestors Report... -
    • Places Report... -
    • Records Report... -
    • Tag Report... -
  • Web Pages... -
    • Narrated Web Site... -
    • Web Calendar... -


Fig. 8.17 "Tool >..." Menubar - Tools Overview
  • Analysis and Exploration -
    • Compare Individual Events... -
    • Interactive Descendant Browser... -
  • Debug -
    • Check Localized Date Display and Parser... -
    • Dump Gender Statistics... -
    • Generate Testcases for Persons and Families... -
    • Populate Sources and Citations... -
    • Python Evaluation Window... -
    • Show Uncollected Objects... -
  • Family Tree Processing -
    • Edit Database Owner Information... -
    • Extract Event Descriptions... -
    • Extract Information from Names... -
    • Extract Place Data from Place Title... -
    • Find Possible Duplicate People... -
    • Fix Capitalization of Family Names... -
    • Merge Citations... -
    • Rename Event Types... -
    • Reorder Gramps IDs... -
    • Sorts events... -
  • Family Tree Repair -
    • Check and Repair Database... -
    • Rebuild Gender Statistics... -
    • Rebuild Reference Maps... -
    • Rebuild Secondary Indices... -
    • Remove Unused Objects... -
  • Utilities -
    • Media Manager... -
    • Not Related... -
    • Relationship Calculator... -
    • Verify the Data... -


Fig. 8.18 Menubar - "Windows" - overview example
  • Windows - This menu provides quick access to opened windows you are working on.


Fig. 8.19 Menubar - "Help" - overview example
  • User Manual - Direct link to the online Gramps User manual you are viewing right now. Yes, you need an internet connection to consult the Gramps User Manual.
  • FAQ - A link to the Frequently Asked Questions about Gramps.
  • Key Bindings - A link to the Keybindings reference for Gramps. Also known as Keyboard shortcuts.
  • Tip of the Day - Displays the "Tip of the day" dialog.
  • Plugin Manager - From this menu you can manage the built in plugins as well as any Third-Party Addons you may have installed.
  • Gramps Home Page - This item opens your web browser and connects to the Gramps project web site.
  • Gramps Mailing List - This item opens your web browser to the Gramps mailing list page. On this page, you can browse the mailing list archives and join the gramps-users mailing list so you can share your experiences with other Gramps user's.
  • Report a Bug - Choose this item to file a bug report in the Gramps bug tracking system. (Remember, Gramps is a living project. We want to know about any problems you encounter so we can work to solve them for you and everyone elses benefit.)
  • Extra Reports/Tools - A link to Installing Third-Party Addons in Gramps.
  • About - This item displays a dialog with general information about the Gramps version you are running.

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