Gramps 4.1 Wiki Manual - Navigation

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As long as any database is open, Gramps is focused on a single person usually referred to as an Active Person. This allows you to view or modify the data concerning this person, his or her immediate family, etc. Navigating in the database (i.e. moving from person to person) is in fact nothing else but changing the Active Person. This section describes many alternative ways to navigate through the database using both the complex and the convenient interfaces Gramps provides. All these ways eventually accomplish the same thing, but some are more convenient than others, depending what you are doing in Gramps at the moment.

Using the People Category

The most intuitive way to select an Active Person is to use the People Category. When in the People Category, just select the name of the desired person from the list by clicking that list entry. The person you have selected becomes active. The statusbar updates to reflect the change of the active person.

Using the Relationships Category

When in the Relationships Category, you can easily navigate between the members of the displayed family as follows:

Click on the underlined name of the person you want to go to and this person will be the new active person of the Relationships Category.

The name of the currently active person is not underlined.

In addition to this, Gramps provides an extensive set of keyboard navigation options. The detailed reference to the key bindings is found in the Appendix B: Keybindings reference.

Using the Families Category

Using the Charts Category

The Charts Category also allow you to move along the family tree. The benefit of this method is that you can see more than one generation of the family tree. Also, you can jump directly from a great-grandson to a great-grandfather without going through the intermediate generations.

Note that after changing the Active Person in the Charts Category, the display is re-adjusted to show up to five generations, starting from the newly selected Active Person. When in the Charts Category, you can easily navigate between the members of the displayed family tree as follows:

To make any displayed person the Active Person, right-click the corresponding box and choose the first entry in the context menu.

To make a child of the currently Active Person (if any) the Active Person, click the left arrow button to the left of the corresponding box. If there is more than one child, the button expands to the menu listing the children to choose from.

To move the whole family tree one generation back, click on the corresponding right arrow button on the right-hand side of the display area. Clicking the upper button will move the tree along the paternal line. Clicking the lower button will move the tree along the maternal line.

Clicking either of these buttons is completely equivalent to double-clicking the lines connecting to the left of the corresponding boxes for father and mother.

You can also quickly access any of the spouses, siblings, children, or parents of any displayed person. To do this, move the mouse over the desired person's box and right-click to invoke a context menu. The appropriate menu items will contain submenus listing all spouses, siblings, children, and parents of the corresponding person.

Advantages of using right-click menus

Direct access to spouse and siblings. Complete lists of all member of all categories, not only the preferred members.

Using Gramplets

Fig. 8.1 Relatives gramplet in People Category

Some Gramplets provide an uri/url support (often the default color for web url).

On Sidebar and bottombar you can enable some gramplets like:

Providing the ability to navigate with the relative, descendants or ancestors of the Active Person into the View.

To click on a link will change the Active Person.

Setting the Home Person

One and only one person in the database can be selected as the Home person. Once the Home person is selected, moving to that person becomes a matter of a single click, regardless of which Category you are using at the moment.

To set the Home person, first navigate to that person using any method you like. Then choose the People category and select the menu Edit ->Set Home Person. Once this is done, you can move to the Home person from anywhere in the database by simply clicking the Toolbar Home icon. You can also choose the menu Go ->Home or select Home item from any context menu available on the right click or use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Home.

Using history-based tools

Gramps also features a powerful set of history-based navigation tools. These tools are similar to those commonly used in web browsers.

They include Back and Forward items available from the Go menu, context menus (available in People, Family, and Pedigree Categories), and the toolbar buttons. They also include the list of the recent selections available under the Go menu that allows you to jump directly to any of the recent selections. Finally, right-clicking on the < Back and Forward > toolbar buttons invokes the popup menu with corresponding portion of the history. Select any item from the menu to jump directly to it.

Fig. 8.2 Example of the history based navigation tools


Similar to setting the Home person, you can bookmark other people from the database to simplify further navigation. To bookmark a person, first navigate to that person, then choose the menu Bookmarks ->Add Bookmark. To move to that person from anywhere in the database, choose the menu Bookmarks ->Person's name from the list of bookmarked names shown.

Fig. 8.3 Organize Bookmarks

You can manage your bookmarks by choosing the menu Bookmarks ->Organize bookmarks.... This opens the Organize Bookmarks dialog with the list of bookmarks and the controls to modify this list.

Use the Up and Down buttons to change the list sequence. Use the Remove button to remove a Bookmark. The Help will bring you to this page, and you close the Organize Bookmarks window with the Close button.

The Bookmarked People can be selected through the People Category, as explained above, but also through the Relationships Category, Families Category, and the Pedigree Category.

On a similar basis you can also Bookmark: Events, Sources, Citations, Places, Media, Repositories , and Notes.

Finding records

Fig. 8.4 Type-ahead find

To find a record in a database, first switch to the appropriate Category that provides the list of the desired records: People, Sources, Places, or Media. Then start typing the name of a person or the title of a Source, Place, or Media object that you are looking for, respectively. You may also press CTRL+F to turn on the search mode, but simply starting to type is also enough.

As you type, the first record in the list that is compatible with your input will be selected.

Finding People

For more complex people searches you may want to use filters. Enable filter controls by choosing menu View -> Sidebar, select the desired filter, and click Find. For details, see Filters.

Using the Clipboard


Clipboard storage is persistent within a single Gramps session. Closing the window will not lose the stored records. However, exiting Gramps will.

Fig. 8.5 Clipboard

This tool provides a temporary note pad to store database records for easy reuse. In short, this is a sort of the copy-and-paste functionality extended from textual objects to other types of records used in Gramps.

The Clipboard can be accessed with the Keyboard shortcut (accelerator key) CTRL+B.

Clipboard makes extensive use of the drag and drop technique

To invoke Clipboard, either choose the menu Edit->Clipboard or click the Toolbar Clipboard button.

Clipboard supports addresses, attributes (both personal and family), events (both personal and family), names, media objects references, citations, URLs, and of course textual information of notes and comments. To store any type of these records, simply drag the existing record on to the Clipboard Pad from the corresponding editor dialog. To reuse the record, drag it from the Clipboard on to the corresponding place in the editor, e.g. Address tab, Attribute tab, etc.


Some objects are showing the link icon on the left. This indicates that dragging such selection will produce a reference to an existing object, not copy the object itself. For example, the media object file will not be duplicated. Instead, the reference will be made to an existing media object, which will result in the local gallery entry.

Selecting a record using the the context menu (right click) will show the following three options for each record type:

  • See the [RECORD TYPE] details
  • Make the [RECORD TYPE] active
  • Create Filter from the [RECORD TYPE] selected
Fig. 8.6 Context menu (right click) for the Clipboard

For an application like Gramps the Clipboard is very important.

One example
You find a birth certificate of a person. In this certificate also the witnesses are mentioned. And the birth certificate also determines a source where the information was stored. The best way is to open the clipboard and drag the source you want to work with there. Then use drag and drop to use it in new items you use.

Now you can finalize the information on the person editor screen. Drag that info also to the Clipboard.

Now you add two new persons for the witnesses (assuming you do not have them already in your database). Simply drag and drop the birth info to the witness event screen. You are then presented with the screen where you can change the role of the witness to witness for this birth event. You do the same with the other witness.

This saves you a lot of typing and possible errors.

Main Menus

Windows (Menu)

Fig. 8.7 Windows manager

The Windows-> Menu provides quick access to opened windows you are working on.

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