I know many of you are wondering right now "what genealogy program do you use to do your own genealogy?" Well, let me just say that I think I have used almost all of the programs out there to some extent - both for Mac and PC. Several years ago when I really started getting serious into genealogy I found myself wondering which program I wanted to use. I started with one program and ended up using a number of programs all at once. I know, that doesn't sound very efficient and kind of confusing, but I did so because I likes some features in Program A, some features in Program B and other features in Program C.
To be completely honest, I have not found a single genealogy program that serves all of my needs or wants. I think many of the programs out there have some great features - some more than others, but not everything I want and need. Some programs are too basic for me. They don't include the stuff I want, whereas others I think are just bloated with way too many things that people either don't need or don't want to take the time to use or learn it.
So, that still leaves the question "what program do you use?" For the time being, I am just using the online tree feature on Ancestry.com. One of the main reasons I use this is because it isn't operating system dependent. In other words, it works whether I am on my old Mac Book Pro, my new HP laptop, my iPad, Android phone, grandma's computer or any other computer with an Internet connection for that matter. So, when I made the switch from Mac back to PC, I didn't have to worry about what program I was going to use during the switch or if my data would transfer to my new computer.
Sure, that brings up the issue of not being able to view my tree if I don't have Internet access. But honestly, today's ability to access the Internet is almost everywhere. In the past year or two I can only think of a couple of places or instances when I didn't have Internet access all the time. Some of the only times I can think about in the last two years where I haven't had Internet access is when I have been in the mountains hiking or camping or when I was in the Dominican Republic this last summer. When I am hiking or camping I am not too concerned with accessing my family tree on Ancestry.com, and when I was in the Dominican Republic I was too focused on the amazing activities I did when I was there. Plus, if I wanted to I could access the Internet at my house I lived in when I went home at night.
Now, if I was going on a research trip where I knew I wasn't going to have access to the Internet at all times I could always use Family Tree Maker, which I do already have installed on my computer.* Family Tree Maker allows you sync with your online family tree on Ancestry.com and view, edit, update, etc. your family tree offline and then sync it again with your online tree when you have an Internet connection.
Another reason I like using the online tree feature on Ancestry.com is because I can use the mobile apps on my iPad and Android phone to access my family tree. I find this very helpful when I am without my computer, at my grandparent's house and simply on-the-go.
First, the layout was not as user-friendly as the Windows version. That actually surprised me because Apple has been known to be so user-friendly. Now, just to clarify for those who need it, Office for Mac was not made by Apple, but it is well-known that software built for Mac tends to be very simple and easy to use. In my experience, Office for Mac was very difficult to use at times and was not consistent with the Windows version I am so used to using every day at work.
One of the biggest things I hated about Office for Mac was that it did not have all the features that with Windows versions have. I might do a separate post just on this, but for now, what I am talking about is the ability to customize the ribbon in each Office program. In Office for Windows, I created my own custom ribbon with the buttons, features and shortcuts that help me use Word, PowerPoint and Excel more efficiently. When I tired to make the same customization in Office for Mac I found out that you cannot modify the ribbon and customize it like you can in Windows.
The last Office feature I'll talk about in this post (stay tuned for another more-detailed post about Office) is OneNote. Over the last year I have grown to love Microsoft OneNote. I use it every single day! I have several notebooks in OneNote - for personal, school, work and genealogy. For those of you unfamiliar with OneNote, it is similar to Evernote (but in my opinion a lot better!). For those of you unfamiliar with Evernote, either conduct a Google search on OneNote or Evernote, or wait for my future post that will go into more detail. (They are both digital notebook/note-keeping software)
Office for Mac does not include OneNote. There is a web-app, which is pretty good, but I like the native computer app a lot better. OneNote also has iOS and Android apps which I use almost on a daily basis.
The second half of the post focused on Microsoft Office and my hatred for the Mac version. Since I use Office every day (literally) I wanted to have the version of the software that I like, that I can customize and that I am a lot more familiar with.
Stay tuned for another post shortly on how I went Mac, but then I went back...
Previous Posts in this Series
**Note: I was not endorsed by Microsoft for mentioning and talking about their products.