Genealogy file formats

We explain the file types you're most likely to come across while researching

ANC/AHN Native formats of Our Family Tree. You can convert them into GEDCOM files, too.

BAK A native format of Personal Ancestral File. You can also convert these into GEDCOM files.

DAT Another native format of Personal Ancestral File. Again, convertible to GEDCOM.

DjVu Pronounced déjà vu, this is a compressed graphics format commonly used to display scanned pages on the web. The pages appear in much the same way that a PDF would.

DOC The primary format for files saved from Microsoft Word.

EDB A native format of Roots III. You can convert EDB files into GEDCOM files.

FDB A native format of Legacy Family Tree. Convertible into GEDCOM files.

FTW The native format of Family Tree Makerfor Windows. Again, these can be converted into GEDCOM files.

GED The GEDCOM format (the latest of which is version 5.5) is the standard genealogy format. Standing for

GEnealogical Data COMmunications, most family history software can read and write the format, so you can swap data between applications. See the guidelines at www.ancestry. com/oft/gedhelp.asp for more assistance in converting files to the GEDCOM format.

ZINIO: View a copy of Your Family Tree in the Zinio format - find out more at

GIF The Graphic Interchange Format is the commonest format for simple web graphics. More complex web-based pictures are often JPEGs.

JPG/JPEG Standing for Joint Photographic Experts Group, this is the world's commonest image format. It's a compressed format, so smaller files are good for the web, while it's common for other images such as those saved from digital cameras.

PDF The Portable Document Format is native to Adobe Acrobat and Reader (see walkthrough, page 61). A PDF document can be viewed on any computer regardless of the application used to create it.

PRO Compatible with Family Gathering and Roots IVand V. You can convert these into GEDCOM files, too.

SQZ Like PRO, above, it's compatible with Family Gathering or Roots IV and V, and convertible to the GEDCOM format.

TIF The Tagged Image Format is a standard for high quality image documents. The file size is likely to be bigger than a JPEG should you need to download one.

XLS The native format of Microsoft Excel, the popular spreadsheet application.

ZIP The most commonly used compressed file format - you may get one in an email.

ZNO The native format of the Zinio web service - see the definition opposite for more.

> A floppy disk is 1.44MB, while the average digital camera picture is around one Megabyte.


The measure of the resolution of a digital camera. Equivalent to a million pixels, most digital cameras are between two and five megapixels.

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