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If you’ve always wanted help starting a family history book, this is the tool you’ve been waiting for. Family Tree Maker 2011 introduces Smart Stories™— a narrative tool that helps you quickly fill up those blank pages by letting you use facts, sources, and notes you’ve already entered in your tree. Simply drag-and-drop the text into a story. And best of all, Smart Stories are linked to your tree so if you find out that grandpa’s birth date is different than you thought, you can change the date in your tree and the text will be updated automatically.
Let’s take a closer look. You’ve already spent hours entering facts, recording notes, and sourcing documents. So why should you have to retype all this information again in your book? That’s where Smart Stories comes in. In the image below, I have selected the personal biography option. Family Tree Maker has gathered all the facts I’ve entered for my grandfather and combined it into a short narrative. I then dragged the text into my document and now I’ve got a great start on my book’s intro biography. Because each fact is created as a separate “field” I can delete facts I don’t want to include or even edit the narrative text.
You’ll notice that some text is highlighted. This indicates that the text is linked to my tree and will be updated automatically if I make any changes.
In addition to biographies, Smart Stories can be used to create timelines, add images, and include facts and their sources. The image below gives an example of the facts option. When you select a fact (in this case the birth fact) a list of text options appear below the facts list. You can add the the information as a sentence or just the data like a place or date.
Although I’ve just started using this tool, I can already see all sorts of possibilities. My first project is making a timeline about my grandfather’s life; it’s going quickly because the facts I’m using already have the appropriate sentences created for me. No need to type! And adding images has been simple because I can drag and drop the photos I’ve already added to my media collection.
Have any of you tried Smart Stories yet? If not, how do you think you’d use this tool?