Forum Usage Tips

  • Skill Level: Advanced, Intermediate, and New User
  • FH versions: V4, V5, V6, and V7
  • In Topics: Other Sources of Help 


The FHUG Forums allow you to ask questions about Family Historian, Ancestral Sources, Genealogy Research, and many other subjects, but a little knowledge about how to use them will help you get the most from them.

Your Information and Preferences

Your Location and Family Historian version are edited along with other personal settings by clicking your user-name top right and choosing the User Control Panel > Profile options. Please complete your Family Historian version to help other users give you relevant advice.

Under User Control Panel > Board Preferences you also have a limited choice of board styles; it’s recommended that you use one of the MetroLike options to exploit all the features available.

Posting Forum Topics

Detailed (but generic) forum usage documentation is at PHPBB3 Documentation Chapter 5. User Guide and there are also some Frequently Asked Questions.

Forum Specific Guidance

Here are some tips for when you are posting or editing a Forum Topic.

Posting a New Question

  • Check that you’re posting in the right forum; there’s a brief description of the purpose of each forum on the list of forums; and there is often a ‘sticky post’ at the top of each forum with additional guidance.
  • Choose a title that describes your question or problem. “Help Needed” doesn’t help anyone work out if they’re in a position to advise you; “Choosing Report Options for a Narrative Report” does.

Getting Notified of Responses

To avoid revisiting a Topic to see if there are new postings, you can asked to be emailed notifications of changes.
  • When posting a topic, below the editing box there is a tick option to Notify me when a reply is posted. User Control Panel > Board Preferences > Edit Posting Defaults will let you turn this option on or off by default.
  • When viewing a topic, in the spanner menu next to POST REPLY  there is an option to Subscribe topic. Be sure to check the text before using this; if you are already subscribed it changes to Unsubscribe topic.  This can be useful if you either forgot to ask to be notified of responses when you created a topic, or you’re interested in following responses to somebody else’s topic.
  • At the bottom of every Forum, there is an option to subscribe to the whole forum (and be notified of all postings in it.)

User Control Panel > Overview > Manage Subscriptions will allow you to modify the forums and topics you’re subscribed to (useful if you’ve forgotten what you’ve signed up to).


The easiest way to add a screenshot to a post is to Paste an image from the clipboard into the text box.

All  file types can be added via the Attachments tab below the Post a new topic/Post a reply text box. Often it is necessary to scroll down to see the Attachments tab where the Add Files button should be used to select the file(s).  Dragging & Dropping a file into the text box will also add the file to the Attachments tab. To display an attached image file in the message, first position the cursor in the text box where the image needs to appear, then open the Attachments tab and select Place Inline.

  • Many file types are allowed including:
    • all Family Historian custom data files
    • screen-shot & image files such as GIF, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TGA, TIF, TIFF
    • plain text files such as XML, TXT, LOG, JS, CSV, CPP
    • document files such as DOC, DOCX, ODG, ODP, ODS, ODT, PDF, PPT, PPTX, RTF, XLS, XLSX
  • Maximum file size is 256 KBytes.
  • For other file types or large files use right-click Send to > Compressed (ZIP) folder to create a Windows compatible ZIP file. Avoid tools such as PkZip & 7-Zip as other users may not have them.
  • There is a limit of 3 attachments per posting, so add more replies to attach more files.

It is preferable to attach image files directly rather than inserting them into a document and attaching the document file because other users may not be able to open the document file.

Taking Screenshots

To capture screen-shot image files:
  • Use the Windows Snipping Tool as described in the Utility ~ Windows Snipping Tool, as it is free in all current versions of Windows, or the free Snip & Sketch tool in recent Windows 10 versions. Either use Save (Ctrl+S) to create a file or Copy (Ctrl+C) to copy to the clipboard.
  • Alternatively, use the free Windows Paint tool, with PrtScn button and Paste command, then use File > Save as > PNG picture file.
  • In Linux, select a Screenshot utility from your software repository and use it to screenshot the whole screen, the active window or a selected area. If bemused by choice GNOME Screenshot seems to work well in Ubuntu based systems. If [fH] says the file is too large to upload use a utility like GIMP to resize it.
  • On a Mac (using VM, PlayOnMac or Crossover), CMD-SHIFT-4 will capture a screenshot.

Custom Tags

There are some custom tags to make it easier to create certain types of links.

  • If you want to provide a link to content in this Knowledge Base, you can get the code by navigating to the relevant page in the Knowledge Base and clicking on the chain-link in the menu bar.  The link you want will be copied to your clipboard and can be pasted into a Forum Topic using CTL-V.
  • You can create shortcuts to Topic Forums. Open any Forum Topic and there is an asterisk * to the left of its Subject Title (except in Prosilver style). Click on it and hit CTL-C  to copy the TOPIC link that can be pasted into another posting without having to copy the number and title. Unfortunately, it does not work if double (“) quotes appear in the Title, so a Moderator may replace them with single (‘) quotes.

Site Searches

Built-in Search Facilities

All Forums can be searched using the Search… and ADVANCED SEARCH options top right; any single Forum can be searched via its Search this forum option. Also try the Home page SEARCH feature. The Knowledge Base has its own Search box at the top. If you use the Search… option within the forums, it will search the Forums, the Knowledge Base, the Plugin store and the online FH Help.

Extended Search for Keywords with Google Site Search

  • You may find that the built in keywords search does not find what you want, or even too much. If so you could try the Google Site Search which also gives you the power of all the other Google search options. The downside is that the format of the list of results in Google may not be as well formatted as the results returned from an FHUG search.
  • This simple example for the whole FHUG site will only include the full phrase change any and exclude usage.
    • "change any " -usage
  • This example will return results just from the FHUG Forums
    • "change any " -usage
  • This example will return results just from the FHUG Knowledge Base
    • "change any " -usage
  • To make it quicker to access you could perform a Google Site Search and bookmark it, then in future just amend the search term. You may find the format below of the search quicker to use with a bookmark. You probably don’t need the double quotes at the end, but this will save an extra blank keystroke and also make it ready for a phrase search; having clicked on your bookmark it will return all results for the site, you can then add your search criteria directly after the “”, or use the “” for a phrase search.
    • ""
  • This is just one of the many help pages on the web regarding Google Search, and is specific to site search.

Bookmarking Topics

You can bookmark a topic using the spanner icon at the top of the topic and choosing Bookmark topic.  If you click on your username towards the top right you can View Bookmarks, and optionally remove one or more bookmarks that you no longer want.

Last update: 26 Sep 2023