Family Tree Maker stores files by default in two locations on your computer. Different types of files are grouped in subfolders.
This article explains where the application saves files and we’ll show you how to find them if they seem to have moved.
You also have the option of changing one of the default locations and we’ll show you how to do this.
Different Types Of Family Tree Maker Files
These are the different types of files that come with or are created by the application:
- Licensing file
- Family tree file (one for each tree)
- Family tree backup file
- Media files (images)
- Background images for charts and reports
- Embellishment images for charts and reports
Finding Family Tree Maker Files
The files are stored in subfolders under two main directories.
The first directory mostly stores the crucial program files that allow the application to run. You can look in this directory, but be careful not to remove or edit anything.
The location on a Windows machine is where all other applications store their program files.
Using the file explorer, expand the C: drive and you’ll see a directory named “Program Files”.
This is the location: C:\Program Files\
If you’ve only installed one version of Family Tree Maker on your machine, you will see one folder here with a name that starts with “Family Tree Maker”.
The folder ends with the version number. So, the folder on my machine is named “Family Tree Maker 2019”.
If you’ve installed previous versions, then you may see other folders named for those versions.
Tree data and files
When you create a family tree, FTM doesn’t store that data with the programming files.
Instead, they are stored where other applications (e.g. spreadsheet applications) store the documents that you create.
Here is a quick way of finding where this is exactly.
- Open one of your trees in Family Tree Maker.
- Expand the Tools drop-down menu.
- Click on options
- Look for the box labeled “default directory for new tree files”
Here’s a sample picture from my Windows machine:
In general, you’ll find the folder here: C:\Users\[user name]\Documents\Family Tree Maker
There are a lot of files and subfolders in this main directory.
The next section describes the location of each of the seven types of files we listed earlier. Each is in one of these two main directories.
Where Does FTM Store Manuals And Help Documents?
Family Tree Maker comes with two PDF manuals. The Companion Guide is well worth browsing through. The Tree Vault guide is useful if you use that feature.
These files can be opened and read independently of opening FTM.
The PDFs are stored under the application directory where there is a subfolder for manuals.
This is the directory structure on a Windows machine: C:\Program Files\Family Tree Maker \Manuals
Where Does FTM Store The License File?
The licensing file is stored in the main directory for the FTM program files.
This is the location on a Windows machine: C:\Program Files\Family Tree Maker \
There are a lot of files in this folder that are necessary for FTM to function.
You mustn’t delete or edit any of these files!
However, don’t be afraid to copy or open the licensing file. It is named “License.rtf” and is simply a text document.
This is the text that was displayed and you agreed to when you first installed Family Tree Maker.
Where Does Family Tree Maker Store Your Trees?
Your trees are stored in separate files with an extension of .ftm.
The files are in the main folder in your FTM tree location.
The name of the file is the same as the tree. There are spaces in the file name if they appear in your tree name.
Here are two tree files on my machine:
Where Does Family Tree Maker Store Tree Backups?
You may be using Tree Vault for backups, but Family Tree Maker also provides a basic backup file that is stored locally.
The backups have an extension of “.ftmb”. That simply stands for Family Tree Maker Backup.
The files are in the main folder in your FTM tree location.
Where Does Family Tree Maker Store Images And Records In Your Tree?
Have you uploaded personal photographs to your family tree? Have you linked census records to family members in your tree?
These images and records are known as “media”.
Every tree you create in FTM has a subfolder in the tree directory.
The name of the subfolder starts with the tree name and ends with “Media”.
If you open any of these subfolders, you will see all the media that you uploaded or associated with the tree.
What Is The “Backgrounds” Folder?
You’re probably most interested in the location of the tree files. But you may be curious about some of the other subfolders in the Tree directory.
One subfolder is named “Backgrounds”.
This subfolder has images prepared by Family Tree Maker that you can add to charts and reports for a better visual effect.
You can switch up the background of your tree from traditional leaf images to a tapestry effect or many other options.
What Is The “Embellishments” Folder?
You will also see a sub-folder named “Embellishments” in the main tree directory.
This contains images prepared by Family Tree Maker that you can use to add to charts.
If you’re interested, you can browse through the folder manually to see what’s on offer.
How To Find FTM Files
So, you can’t find your Family Tree Maker files? Don’t panic.
People are usually looking for tree files, backups, or media files.
Searching for tree files or backups
You can initiate a search for the tree files or backups by restricting on the “.ftm” or “.ftmb” extension.
Depending on your machine, this may take a while to run. However, if you have tree files, they should surface this way.
Searching for media files
Because the media files are simply images, you could have thousands of other unrelated images on your computer.
So, the easiest way to find the media files is to use the tip above to look for the tree files. The media files should be with them in a subfolder.
My Files Have Disappeared And I Can’t Find Them
Still can’t find your files despite the advice above?
Mackiev, the company that owns Family Tree Maker, offers free customer support via chat.
Their support staff will diagnose your problems with you without requiring payment.
This is the support link.
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