Addon:Graph View

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The larger the number of people in the Family Tree

The longer the chart will take to appear eg: about 7000 people takes 10 minutes.

Some options only appear in newer versions of Gramps 5.x.x

Graph View - addon - In action showing both ancestors and descendant trees (Gramps 5.1.x version)

Graph View is an interactive Charts Charts category view addon that presents a navigable ancestors and descendant tree using the current active person as a starting point. Clicking another person in the family tree will make that person the active person and will redraw the family tree based on them.


From the Charts Charts category view select the Graph View icon or select View > Graph View from the menu.

In general the Graph View is:

  • Interactive, the view redraws in response to changes made to a person or family.
  • The active person is highlighted.
  • Clicking on another person will redraw the family tree based on that person.
  • Clicking the active person will show the parent family of the active person, thereby allowing previous generations to be shown.
  • A right mouse click on a person or family node shows the person or family editor as appropriate.
  • Able to show both ancestors and descendant trees (adjustable from the Graph View toolbar).
  • Graph view can be panned by using mouse click and drag. Select the background of the tree and drag the mouse to pan the view. Also you can use mouse scroll button to pan view in any place of view.

Graph View Toolbar


Graph View has a smaller toolbar of its own with the following options (from left to right):

  • +(Zoom in) button - Zoom in the view.
  • -(Zoom out) button - Zoom out the view.
  • 1(Zoom to original) button to reset the view to the default size.
  • (Zoom to best fit) button to fit the current family tree graph in the display
  • (Go to active person)
  • Go to bookmark button - Center view on selected bookmark - also shows "Bookmarks for current graph:" (who are being display) and "Other Bookmarks:" (who are not being displayed) - along with two buttons to "Add active person" to bookmarks and "Edit" the bookmarks.
  • 🔍 Search... - typing shows "Persons from current graph:" (who are being display) and "Other persons from the database:" (who are not being displayed) as well as any saved bookmarks. You can use <Ctrl+F> to make search entry active.
  • Generations - setting to change the generations shown for Ancestor 3 generations by default and Descendants 10 generations by default.
  • Spacing - changes the vertical(5 default) and horizontal(2 default) spacing between the generations.

On the main Gramps Toolbar you also have:

  • (Print) button that does not print but instead allows you to save the currently displayed Graph into a dot format file for a later printing. This will save a .gv file and a svg file. You must select a .gv file.
  • * (Configure Options) button with option shown in the next section.

Configure Options

Select View > Configure... from the menu to change the settings on the following four tabs:

  • Layout
    • Show images (checkbox selected by default)
    • Show avatars (checkbox selected by default)
    • Highlight the home person (checkbox selected by default)
    • Show full dates (checkbox unselected by default)
    • Show places (checkbox unselected by default)
    • Placeformat:
      • Default
      • Full
    • Show tags (checkbox unselected by default)
  • Themes
    • Person theme:
      • Default
      • Image on right side
      • Image on left side
    • Path color to home person: #000000(default)
    • Font: - shows the default that can be changed by selecting from the
      • Pick a Font dialog
    • Avatars style:
      • Custom
      • Dark Default
      • Light
      • Cartoon
Graph View Avatars

Choose the Custom Avatars style adds 2 more popup menus:

  • Male avatar: File selector
  • Female avatar: File selector
  • Animation
    • Show animation (checkbox selected by default)
      • Animation speed (1..5 and 5 is the slower): (default is 3)
      • Animation count (0..8 use 0 to turn off): (default is 4)
  • Search
    • Search in all database(checkbox selected by default)
    • Show person image(checkbox selected by default)
    • Show bookmarked first(checkbox selected by default)

Context menus

Graph view has three context menus that allow the following

Empty section

Right click menu shown when selecting an empty section of the chart.

Right-click an empty section of the Graph View to offer the following display options:

  • Show images - Display thumbnails or avatars
  • Highlight the home person - set the background of the Home Person to green
  • Show full dates - format the birth and death date as only the year or as the complete date
  • Show places - show or hide birth and death places
  • Show tags - show color markers on tagged Persons and Families
  • Show animation - after redraws, wiggle the Active Person to draw focus
  • Lines type - choose the style of lines connecting People and Families
    • Direct
    • Curves
    • Ortho
  • About Graph View - this help wiki webpage

Person node

  • Right click a person (node) to do the following.
Right click menu shown when selecting a Person on the chart.

Family node

  • Right click a family (node) to add or delete a spouse or child.
Right click menu shown when selecting a Family (node) on the chart.


Before Graph View can be used you will need the following installed:


All of these should be available in common Linux distributions.

For example,


Packages Goocanvas/PyGoocanvas as libgoocanvas3 and python-pygoocanvas.

Note: As of May 2020 the required packages for Debian Testing are gir1.2-goocanvas-2.0 and libgoocanvas-2.0-9 from the official repositories.

Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE)

These packages are not available for Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE). You can download these as .deb files from launchpad and install them in the usual manner. You need the Binary packages shown at the bottom of that pages, except for the development libraries.

Please make sure to download these for the proper architecture, like amd64 for 64-bit PCs (Intel included).


You may need to install typelib-1_0-GooCanvas-2_0 as mentioned in issue 8076.


You can see related issues at bug tracker.