Media File Formats

  • Skill Level: Advanced, Intermediate, and New User
  • FH versions: V4, V5, V6, and V7
  • In Topics: Media 


Family Historian can attach any type of file to a Media Record, but only image files can be directly displayed within the program.


ƒh uses the term “Media” to refer to any file other than the core Project data file.  The most common type of media in a typical project are image files, such as photographs and document images.  ƒh can display most of the common image file formats (JPEG, PNG, TIFF, etc, but not PDF) directly within the program, showing the image within the Media Window and reproducing them in Diagrams/Charts and Reports.

ƒh does not dictate which type of image file format to use.  In general, JPEG is most suitable for photographs, while PNG can give sharper images of documents, with their more limited colour range and sharp contrasts between the content and the background colour.

Media are not limited to image files, and any other type of file can be added to a Media Record.  Typically, these would include video files, audio files, or documents (either in their original word processor format or as a PDF file).

There are three different types of media listed in the main Add > menu, namely Add > Document…, Add > Pictures… (there is no significance to the plural here, it is just a minor menu inconsistency), and Add > Other Media….

Selecting any of these options opens a file selection window, with the most popular formats for that type of media listed (e.g. *.doc, *.docx for documents, *.jpg and many others for images, and *.mp3, *.mpg for other media (audio and video files).  It is important to recognise that these formats are listed simply for user convenience, and are not complete lists of file types that can be added.  For example, even ƒh7, released in late 2020, omits *.mp4 as an example video file type, even though it may now be the most common format for new video files.

Any file can be added from any of these three menu options.  For example, selecting Add > Document, changing the file selection to All files (*.*), and selecting an image file adds the file in exactly the same way as selecting Add > Pictures….

ƒh can display image files directly, and a thumbnail image is shown in the Media Window.  All other files are shown as an icon representing the default program for opening that type of file in Windows.  Double-click on the icon in the Media Window to open the file in the external application.

External files can also be added to ƒh by a process known as Object Linking and Embedding, with the Add > OLE Object… menu option.  However, this is included in ƒh purely for compliance with the GEDCOM standard, and it is unlikely to be required as Media Records provide more functionality, are easier to use, and can be created more reliably.

Last update: 22 Feb 2024