NEHGS and NGSQ Reports, RM8 vs. RM7

I use either the NEHGS (register) format or the NGSQ (modified register) format to make printed reports for family reunions, and I usually use the NEHGS format. It was tricky to get these reports to meet my needs in RM4 through RM7, and RM8 is presenting similar challenges.

Let me start by explaining my biggest issue with these reports in RM7. I like for the facts for the first person - either the husband or wife - to be in a paragraph by themselves. Remembering that the first person may have been married more than once, I like for the facts for a couple such as marriage and divorce to be in a paragraph by themselves. And I like for the facts for each of the first person’s spouses to be in a paragraph by themselves. Let’s see how I achieve this goal in RM7 and I might achieve this goal in RM8.

I have created a very small RM7 database with dummy people to illustrate how the reports look. The test database is using 100% RM7 factory defaults for sentence templates and for everything else. I have attached two images of an NEHGS report from the test RM7 database.

In the first image, I have highlighted the couple facts and the only couple facts are marriage facts. The first person (John Doe) has two spouses with a marriage for each. The couple facts are included in the same paragraph as are the facts for the first person’s respective spouses. You can see that the “couple plus spouse” paragraphs for each of the spouses are formatted exactly the same for each of the spouses.

In the second image, I have not highlighted any of the facts but you can see that the couple facts and the individual facts for each spouse have been split into separate paragraphs. This effect is achieved by adding two carriage returns to the end of the note for the marriage fact. More generally this effect is achieved by adding two carriage returns to the end of the note for the last couple fact, no matter what the last couple fact is. For example, the last couple fact might be the divorce fact. Again, the paragraphs for the first spouse and for the second spouse are formatted exactly the same.

It is this same effect that I need to get into NEHGS reports created by RM8, and RM8 doesn’t handle the paragraphs for NEHGS reports in quite the same way as does RM7. I will add more information about the RM8 reports in a reply to this message to keep this message itself as short as possible.

For RM8, three images of NEHGS reports are attached. The first two images are identical except for the highlighting. In the first image, the couple facts are highlighted to emphasize that they have been moved in RM8 as compared to RM7. As a consequence, the couple paragraphs and the spouse paragraphs are no longer formatted the same for the respective spouses. For the first spouse, the couple facts have in effect been moved from the paragraph with the spouse’s individual facts to the paragraph with the first person’s individual facts. For the second spouse or any subsequent spouses, the couple facts have in effect become a free standing paragraph. I can adapt my reporting procedures for this change, but I need to know whether this change is a bug in RM8 that will be corrected or whether it is a design change that will not be corrected. In any case, the second image shows that there is at least one bug in the RM8 report. Namely, there is not a blank between the facts for the first person and the facts for the couple. This bug needs to be fixed in any case because the bug will affect all users and not just users like me who are doing things to change the formatting of the report.

In some respects, I actually prefer the RM8 design to the RM7 design for the placement of the couple facts in the NEHGS and NGSQ reports. If the RM8 design remains in place, I will change my data entry procedures as follows. First, I will remove the trailing carriage returns from the note for the last fact for each couple. Second, I will add two carriage returns to the beginning of the sentence template for the first fact for each couple. This will usually be for the marriage fact. The third image for RM8 shows the effect of this adaptation.

I would emphasize that I need to know if the RM8 design for the couple facts in NEHGS and NGSQ reports will remain as is or if it will be returned to the RM7 design. If the RM8 design will remain as is, my adaptation will take care of the missing blank between the facts for the principal and the facts for the couple. But other users who do not make the same sort of adaptation will still need the bug to be fixed to add the necessary blank between sentences.

So far it’s good. I now know that I can make a relatively small adaption in my RM8 database to format NEHGS or NGSQ reports the way I would like to have them formatted. I then run into a problem for which I do not yet have a solution. No matter what, I always need to save my reports to a format I can edit with Microsoft Word. In the case of RM8, that means saving the reports as a DOCX file.

The DOCX file has excessive white space that wasn’t there when printing directly from RM. If I save as PDF, the excessive white space is not there, but I cannot edit a PDF file. I can deal with the excessive white space for an entire DOCX file with a few carefully chosen global replace commands, but I wish the excessive white space was not there.

The DOCX file has incorrect indentation in the lists of children that wasn’t there when printing directly from RM. If I save as PDF, the list of children is indented correctly, but I cannot edit a PDF file. I have not yet figured out a way to correct the indentation for even one child in the DOCX file, let alone for all them with a global replace. So far this is a show stopper. I’m attaching a screen shot from Microsoft Word that illustrates the problem.

I’m also including a link to the DOCX file in case anybody wants to play with it. It’s a very small file. The link is RM8 NEHGS Report With Problems, DOCX format

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