Using Icons

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


An Icon is a small image file that will sit against a box on a diagram .Some users feel they are an excellent way of keeping visual track of  information, such as what census records have been associated with people, immigration facts, death during infancy, twins, or work in progress.

How Can I Create an Icon

The Diagram Icons Downloads collection offers Icons to identify facts and other data items. Some use National Flags to show birth places or immigration, which on diagrams are helpful as visual aids during a census trace exercise.

If you can’t find a suitable Icon in our Downloads, it is worthwhile to try to edit one of the .bmp files supplied in ƒh using an Image Editor such as PAINT (on most Windows PCs), or Adobe Photoshop, etc.

These Icon files are located in the Family Historian Program Data Folder in the Icons sub-folder. It is advisable to add any new Icons either to that sub-folder, or to your Family Historian Projects folder.

Using Icons

Icons are managed in Diagrams by opening Diagram > Options, navigating to the Boxes tab and using the <<Add/Edit/Delete>> Condition buttons.

To select a Flag as a Condition, click the <<Add Condition button, choose Record Flag, and select the Flag from the list. A tab for that Flag will be added to the Record Flag pane below the Conditions.

A Condition can also be an Expression that involves Data References or Functions. So a Flag is no longer needed to define a Condition associated with basic GEDCOM data.

To choose the Icon, first select the Condition Record Flag or Expression, then click the Edit Features… button. In the Box Features window, tick the Icon option and <<Select the Icon file.

Note that other Features can also be chosen to depict the Condition, e.g. changing the Text Colour or the Box Fill.

Worked Examples

As a simple example, assume that an Icon is desired to depict every Retirement Event, and a Y presented in an Individual Record Window Column.

Simply add a Condition Expression of %INDI.RETI% and select the Icon as described above. With this technique the Icon is always factual, because its Condition is the existence of the  Retirement Event itself.

To obtain more precise Conditions use an Expression based on the examples below, assisted by the <<Insert Data Ref… button.

  • %INDI.RETI.DATE% will match the 1st Retirement Event if it has a Date defined.
  • %INDI.BAPM.SOUR>% will match the 1st Baptism Event if it has a Source Citation.
  • %INDI.CENS[year=1901]% will match a Census Event with a Date in 1901.
  • %FAM.MARR.PLAC% will match the 1st Marriage Event if it has a Place defined.

Much more complex Expressions are possible with the use of Functions and some examples are given below:

  • =Exists( %INDI.FAMS>MARR.PLAC% ) is an alternative to the preceding 1st Marriage Event example.
  • =Exists( %INDI.FAMS[2]>MARR.PLAC% ) is a similar alternative, but for a 2nd Marriage Event.
  • =IsTrue( %INDI.CENS[year=1871].SOUR>_TYPE% = "Census" ) matches a Census Event in 1871 with a Source Citation where its Type is Census.
  • =ContainsText( %INDI.BAPM.SOUR>TITL%, "Baptism", STD ) matches the 1st Baptism Event if it has a Source Citation whose Name contains the word Baptism.
  • =IsTrue( (Diff(DayNumber(%INDI.BIRT.DATE%),DayNumber(Field(NextSib(%INDI%,1),'INDI.BIRT.DATE'))) < 2 ) or (Diff(DayNumber(%INDI.BIRT.DATE%),DayNumber(Field(PrevSib(%INDI%,1),'INDI.BIRT.DATE'))) < 2 ) ) finds twins and other multiple births.

Icon File Links

To add an Icon, open the Box Features window, tick the Icon option and <<Select the Icon file. This file can be anywhere on the PC, but you should consider the ease of moving your ƒh configuration to another PC when deciding where to store the PC.

If the Icon file is in the Family Historian Program Data Folder Icons sub-folder, then just its filename is saved and it will migrate to another PC. So if you need custom Icons, add them to this Icons sub-folder.

In all other cases the Icon file path is saved in full, and often will NOT migrate to another PC, so the Icon file link will become broken and need repairing. If the Family Historian Program Data Folder is synchronised on two PC via cloud storage such as Dropbox then this is unworkable for the synchronised Diagram files. A possible solution is to use a folder that has the same file path on most PC, such as the Public Pictures folder, or the Family Historian Program Data Folder sub-folders, which are the same on Windows Vista/7/8/10.

Why does the Icon overlap the Shadow in my Text Scheme?

The Icon position is set to sit immediately below a box on top down diagrams. If you have opted to have a shadow under that box, the Icon needs to have some space at the top to make it appear to be lower. This is done by making the top bit a background colour which basically just doesn’t show on the diagram!

Last update: 23 Feb 2024