Starting Family Historian With a Specified Project or Record

This page describes an undocumented option to start Family Historian with any specified Individual or Family Record in the Focus Window.

All recent versions of ƒh give the user the ability to define a default Project that opens automatically when the program is started (File > Project Window… > More Tasks…).  Prior to version 7, ƒh always opened a Project at the defined Home Individual, but ƒh7 provides the option to display the last-used Focus Individual instead of the Home Individual (Tools > Preferences > Startup).

These options are very convenient for users who work on one Project most or all of the time, but work less well for those who manage multiple Projects, as these must be opened individually when required.  It is possible to configure Windows shortcuts to start ƒh at any defined Project, and/or with any defined Individual or Family having the focus, using a process that is not documented in the program help files.

There are two different ways of defining the necessary start-up shortcuts and INI files.  The simple way is to use the Create Individual Shortcut plugin, which creates a shortcut that starts the current Project automatically with the specified Individual in the Focus Window.  Alternatively, both the required shortcut and INI file can be created manually.  Both approaches are described here.

Create Individual Shortcut Plugin

If you simply want to create a shortcut to start ƒh at a particular Individual or Family, the easiest method is to use the Create Individual Shortcut plugin.  This generates a simple selection screen for defining the required options, and places a Windows command script (previously known as a batch file) on your desktop with all the options configured automatically.

Plugin Window

If the file icon (two grey cog wheels) does not appear immediately, right-click on a blank area of your Desktop and select Refresh to update the display.  Double-click on this icon to start the defined Project at the record selected.

Setting Start-up Shortcuts Manually

The plugin described above generates a command script that dynamically creates a temporary launch file and uses this file to start ƒh.  More advanced users who wish to understand more fully what is actually happening and fine tune the process more precisely can choose to create the necessary shortcuts and INI files manually.

Starting a Specific Project

In common with many other Windows applications, ƒh can start with a particular file (Project) if that file is specified in the command line or in the shortcut.  The easiest way to implement this is to create a Windows shortcut to the defined Project file on the user Desktop.  Step by step instructions for this are given below:

1.Open Windows File Explorer and highlight the Project File for the Project of interest.  This has the Project name followed by .fh_proj and is located in the Project folder, as shown below for the Sample Project in its default location:

Sample Project file location

2. Right-click on this file (assuming a right-handed mouse) and select “Create shortcut”.

3. Drag this new shortcut to your Desktop, and give it a more concise meaningful name that is displayed in full (highlight the shortcut and press F2 to rename).  By default, the shortcut shows a picture of a family tree structure (as shown), but this can be changed to the familiar green and black icon by right-clicking on the icon, select Properties, then Change Icon…, and navigate to the ƒh program file at C:\Program Files (x86)\Family Historian\Program\fh.exe.

Default shortcut     Desktop shortcut to Sample Project

Repeat the above process for all projects of interest to give a series of shortcuts that start individual projects.

In principle, the same approach can be used for the GEDCOM file, but some advanced users may choose to have GEDCOM files associated with a text editor for easy direct viewing, whereas the fh_proj file extension will always be associated with ƒh.

Starting a Specific Project at a Defined Individual or Family Record

It is possible to start a Project with a defined Individual other than the Home or last used person having the focus.  This is slightly more complex than creating a shortcut to a Project file, and requires the definition of an “INI” file that is used as a command line parameter when starting ƒh.

A startup INI file has the following format:

Window=FocusWin [or RecordWin or DiagramWin]

‘Window’ is the startup window, either the Focus Window (only for Individuals, not Families), Record Window or Diagram Window.

‘DiagramType’ is ignored unless Window=DiagramWin, in which case it is required. Specifies the name of a standard or custom diagram type, prefixed with “C-” if it is a custom diagram and “S-” if it is a standard diagram.

‘Record’ is the Record Id of an Individual or Family record to show at startup, and must be prefixed with an ‘I’ for Individual Records or an ‘F’ for Family Records.

A typical INI file to start with Individual I26 in the Focus Window is shown below:


You can have as many INI files as you wish, specifying different start-up records.  A convenient place to store the INI file could be either in the Family Historian Projects folder, or in the data folders for the Projects they relate to.

Once the INI file has been defined, all that is required is to set up a Windows shortcut to start FH with the appropriate parameters using a command line of the form fh [/INI:<inifile-name>] [<file-name>]

Right-click on the Desktop, and select New > Shortcut.  In “Type the location of the item”, enter the command line to start ƒh with the defined options.  The following example starts the Sample Project with Individual 26 (Christopher Ian Munro) in the Focus Window:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Family Historian\Program\fh.exe" "/ini:%Documents%\Family Historian Projects\Sample Project.ini" "%Documents%\Family Historian Projects\Family Historian Sample Project\Family Historian Sample Project.fh_proj"

In this example, %Documents% is a shortcut for the user’s default Documents folder at C:\Users\UserName\Documents, and reduces the somewhat excessive length of the command.  This is just an example, so should be tailored to your own requirements.

You can have an unlimited number of shortcuts and INI files, each specifying a different Project and Record.




Last update: 11 Jan 2022