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 username top right and choosing the User Control Panel option. 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.

Posting Forum Topics

Detailed (but generic) forum usage documentation is in the 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 choose to be emailed notifications of changes.
  • If you signed up for a FHUG account after February 2024, your account will be set up by default to receive email notifications of replies to topics you create or participate in. (Every email will contain details of how to turn these off).
  • Alternatively, 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).


Attachment files are added via the Attachments tab below the Post a new topic/Post a reply text box. Drag & Drop a file to the text box will also work, but Copy & Paste a file or PrtScn & Paste clipboard will not.
  • Many file types are allowed including:
    • Family Historian custom data files such as FHA, FHC, FHD, FHF, FHI, FHQ, FHR, FHT but not Plugins
    • screenshot & image files such as GIF, JPEG, JPG, PNG, PS, TGA, TIF, TIFF
    • plain text files such as AHK, CSV, INI, GED, JS, LOG, TXT, XML
    • document files such as DOC, DOCX, DOT, DOTX, ODG, ODP, ODS, ODT, PDF, PPT, PPTX, RTF, XLS, XLSX
  • Maximum file size is 500 KBytes.
  • You can attach a maximum of 3 files to a single post.  If you need to attach more than 3 files, create multiple replies or use the technique mentioned next.
  • For other file types or large files, you can post a link to share the file from e.g. Dropbox or OneDrive.

Taking Screenshots

To capture screenshot 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 & 11 versions.
  • 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 BBCode tags to make it easier to create certain types of links.
  • If you want to provide a link to the 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 Paste or CTRL-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 CTRL-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.

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: 17 Feb 2024