Update to Fan Chart app

+47 votes

I have continued work on the Fan Chart app, and this morning have posted the most recent version with some very significant improvements and new features.
Check it out here:

Here are the new features I'm most excited about, and hope you are too:

  • Save to PDF 
  • its sister function:  copy a Sharing URL that you can send to family members
  • LNAB option / show Lifespan option / fill in wedges with colour
  • Colour by grandparents, or by country or place of birth
  • Highlight ancestors based on DNA inheritance
  • The whole app has been rebuilt and the UI now has the WikiTree look and feel, and uses drop down menus to complement the minimalist icon row
Here is the complete set of Menu options, to give you a sense of what's now available.
Menu options for Fan Chart program
As always - I look forward to your feedback, and especially if you find bugs !
You may also want to check out the updated Help Doc which gives some more details:

- Greg
in The Tree House by Greg Clarke G2G6 Mach 1 (19.6k points)
For those who want a bit more control over colouring by Country or Birthplace, did you know that you can customize the colours in the palette?  I just added that feature to Birthplace now as well.  

Also, if you customize the colours in the Country palette, then the FanChart uses those base colours to create the gradient effect  when deciding on colours to assign to various Birthplaces, based on their country of origin.

If that provides too monochrome a display, there is now an option at the bottom of the Legend for Birthplaces that allows you to switch between country shading (the default) to unique colouring, which assigns random colours to each birthplace.  That unique colouring can then be randomized.

I looked at adding a level of colouring in between Country and Birthplace, and, have put that on my "WIBNI" list for this app (Wouldn't It Be Nice If ....).  I think you can achieve the effect you want now that I've allowed you to customize Birthplace.

OK - back to the Clean-a-thon!

 - Greg
Thank you for all your effort.
Ooh, very nice! Now to figure out which birthplace is in which county, so I can play with the colors "intelligently"... Thank you!
Problem: neither the Sharing URL nor the PDF retain the color customization. Both go back to the default two dozen shades of dark pink.

Another problem: the legend/key box does not scroll or move, so if the list is too long, none of the links at the bottom are accessible unless you zoom out -- which makes the text unreadably small.
Did you choose “Sharing URL” under the Fan Help menu?

Tommy Buch: um, yes, I said "Sharing URL", didn't I?

Oh my you guys!  Not only are you kicking the tires of this new feature, you're getting out the spare tire from the trunk and kicking it too!

It occurred to me as I was drifting off to sleep that the SharingURL probably wouldn't retain the new custom colours for the towns .... but thought .. they won't find that this quickly will they ??

OK - so - I think I've got the Sharing URL now respecting the custom colours .. mostly.  

There is something wonky happening - if you use custom colours for a certain number of generations - then try the Sharing URL -that should now work.  However, if you then reduce the number of generations and share again, that new Sharing URL doesn't seem to produce the desired results.  Not sure why.  This bug will take some more investigation.

SO .. the workaround is to decide on the # of generations you want, customize it, then share it.  

TIP:  When you're customizing colours, you can copy and paste the set of colours from the customizing screen and save it in a file somewhere, so that the next time you come back to your Fan Chart, if it has reset and you have to login again, you can just copy and paste the custom set of colours back into the custom colours textbox.

I have not looked at the Save to PDF function yet except to verify yes - it does not expect custom colours (I haven't updated the PDF features since adding these new options).

Unfortunately, these next two weeks are going to be super busy for me organizing a virtual math conference - so - I won't have much free time to do Fan Chart updates.   When I have some down time, I'll see if I can get the PDF to recognize custom colours - but can't promise when.

- Greg
Workaround to PDF coloring problem: use your browser's print feature to print to PDF. You'll probably want to close the key to places, and you'll need to play around with zooming/formatting/choosing which pages to print, but it'll get the fan chart, with custom colors, into a PDF.
Thanks M for posting that solution!  That buys me some time!  :-)

11 Answers

+17 votes

Wow, this is very slick. And you have made it very easy to use!

I have taken my 360-degree circular chart out to 8 generations to test this, at which point it makes me dizzy.

But I must report a flaw I found. The X-chromosome highlight feature only shows my X-chromosome inheritance on my maternal side. Being a female, I have an X-chromosome from my father, too. cheeky

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
HI there Ellen.  Thanks for pointing that out.  I noticed that during a test this morning as well with a female cousin.  However, if I test it with my mother's profile ID (who has passed), it works fine.  

I think the issue is either

a) a login issue - if you haven't logged in properly, there is some data that doesn't get passed to the apps, like Gender of a living person,  (and the WikiTree login for apps on the apps.wikitree server has not been working today, but will be fixed shortly)


b) possibly a privacy issue in general - logged in or not.

Once the WikiTree login starts working again, I can test that theory, and make the appropriate adjustments.

Worst case scenario:  I will add a popup to query for gender the first time you do a DNA highlight option so that it does highlight the proper cells.


 - Greg

PS - by the way - I KNOW that the YDNA is only inheritied father to son, so, it shouldn't be an option for you.  However, I made the decision to show the YDNA inheritance path, even if it is a woman as the primary person in the chart, since that would be the route her brother or father's YDNA would follow.  I was considering whether I should make a note about that on the screen if you've chosen that option - but - again - that would require me knowing in advance the Gender of the primary person  ... so .. I'll add this once I solve that issue.
Thanks for explaining, Greg. My explorations lead me to conclude that the tool cannot detect gender on any profile that has a privacy setting of any level of Private. The X chromosome inheritance feature works OK for women with Open or Public profiles, but not for Private with Public Biography and Public Family Tree, nor any of the more private settings.

Gender is indeed something that we keep private for Private profiles https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Privacy#Private_information (though it's often absurd to hide it, because it can be inferred in many contexts).

Thanks for clarifying that Chris!  That helps me out - I am working on a way of dealing with this ... will share later this afternoon.

Good morning Ellen and Chris.  I have now added a popup if you go into the YDNA or X-Chromosome highlighting mode from a Private profile (where Gender info isn't available).  You then choose Male / Female / or Generic if you just don't want to say ... and the resulting fan chart highlights the path according to your response.  I've also added some wording at the top of each of the DNA highlighted Fan Charts to explain how we get each of these displays.

Hope that works.

+6 votes
I am extremely liking the fractal chart. I have been racking my brain on how to display the most info on a page, but have been stuck to thinking in the waterfall or pedigree way.  This opens the mind up to some other designs.

I also just realized that in landscape mode a 5 generation pedigree fits perfectly with a 2” column x 1/2” row area (or box) for printing (using 9 point for names and 7 point for dates). I am now working on adding the six generation.  Column 3 will be the 5th generation, column 4 will be the father of column 3 and column 5 will be the mother of column 3.  Columns 1 and 2 will contain the first four generations in some layout yet to be determined.

Fractal chart. Can you add these items to a menu that if checked will display their full name (maiden name for females) full birth date (dd mmm yyyy) and full death date (dd mmm yyyy) for the fractal chart. Something like:

To be edited later. I don’t want to lose my comment when I switch screens.

I would like places too, but that will probably need to be limited based on number of generations chosen so that it will look good confined to a single sheet of paper.
by Tommy Buch G2G6 Mach 4 (41.9k points)
Ah ... you found my next secret project Tommy!  Good for you!  I wondered how many might venture into that menu option and check it out ...

I have (in my development version) added the full dates option, and do plan to allow for place names, though that will require making the boxes bigger, so, if you choose that option,  you accept the consequences of using more space. However, if you have access to printing oversized documents - or - just want the PDF of it to browse, it's a trade-off worth taking, I think anyways.

However, further work on that might have to wait until after the Clean-a-thon this weekend.

 - Greg
I have access to a 11 x 17 color laser and access to FedEx Office that can do 2 feet wide and I’m not sure if there is a length restriction. I’ll will find out if there is a maximum length.

I checked with the FedEx Office in my area and the cost for a 3 feet wide (the maximum width that can be printed) by 10 feet long printout is as follows:

  • Black Ink only - $30.00 ($1.00 / sq. ft.)
  • Color (any amount) - $200.00 ($6.66 / sq. ft.)
+6 votes
Lovely app. Thank you!
by Pat Reynolds G2G2 (2.6k points)
+5 votes
This is amazing! Thank you! I did find one other glitch that I'm thinking might be related to privacy settings, but I'm not sure. Both my parents are living, but only my mother chose to be a "guest member" on WikiTree with public family tree; my father did not so his profile is 100% private. When I try to look at "DNA confirmed" ancestors, my mother's side appears correctly, but no one past my father is highlighted on his side even though several other ancestors are also DNA confirmed.
by Audra Reschly G2G Crew (810 points)
Hmmm ... I'll have to investigate that one Audra. Makes sense that your father's status doesn't show, but if the higher up ancestors are public, I would have thought they'd show up highlighted if marked with the radio button for DNA Confirmed in their profiles.
Good morning Audra,

Indeed, you are right.  The logic in my code basically goes like this: Check for DNA confirmation. If you find it - great - go up to the parents to see if THEY are also DNA confirmed.  If not (false assumption was ...), no need to go any further - how can you have a DNA confirmation with a break in the chain ??  (Answer:  If the DNA confirmation is hidden because of a privacy setting!)

I will add that wrinkle to my to-do list to revise the logic thereof.  That's a very interesting "bug" and not a scenario I would have thought of.

 - Greg
Hi again Audra ... so ... your issue kept niggling at me until I had to fix it.  Please check it out now and confirm that your DNA confirmations are appearing as expected .. with the break in your grandparents because of your father's privacy setting.

 - Greg
Wow, you're quick! I checked it out, and the chart does now show the DNA confirmed ancestors on my dad's side - EXCEPT neither of his parents are colored as confirmed when they are. Hope that helps! Thanks so much for all your work!
Thanks Audra,

Yes - your grandparents can't be DNA confirmed because the confirmation comes from the child up to the parents.  Your dad IS DNA confirmed because your profile is public enough for the app to retrieve that data.  Since your dad's profile is private, I can't retrieve the settings that his profile says about your grandparents DNA confirmation level ... hence the gap, which seems counter-intuitive when your grandparents profiles are NOT private.

Hope that explains it ... (just get out a yellow highlighter after you print out the charts, and colour them in is my suggestion! ha!)

 - Greg
Completely makes sense! I am fine with that and SO grateful for all the work you've done! Now, I need to clean up my locations like other posters have mentioned. This is such an exciting tool! THANK YOU!
+8 votes
I LOVE these upgrades.  And I learned some interesting things about place names:  When I do the Country Colors they are not very uniform (but generally should be on my father's side).  The popup box that shows the color coding reveals all the different country (or lack thereof) name variations.

Can we print or PDF download only one parents side of the fan chart?  I work only on my father and would like to see that in larger spaces, so it would be nice to view only that.  I could imagine that other people would want to work on only one side or another at a time.
by Cindy Cooper G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
A customizable solution might be easier than trying to gain agreement from everyone involved about what to give the same color.  For me, Quebec, Canada (from 1867) is different from Quebec Province from 1763 to 1791 which doesn't have Canada in it.  But there are 4 different uses in my chart that are all OK during that 1763 timeframe that I would want to color the same.  Customizing *might* also give me the opportunity to give a different color to Acadie, Nouvelle-France than to Canada, Nouvelle-France, if the lookup table could include the two words, not just the last one. :)  What??  you mean you are going to give the Clean A Thon priority ;) haha
Thanks so much Greg! These fan charts will be great to send to family/friends with the custom colour options you mention.
Oh my gosh, Greg, you are amazing.  Now we have Acadie, Nouvelle-France a different color from Canada, Nouvelle-France!  Thank you!  My chart is looking better and better, too.  A few profiles on the County colors still ahve two colors.  The country appears correct filling the box, but I'm not sure what the other color overlay is for?
Ha!  You found my early morning's work without me even telling you!  I've almost got the customized colouring working for Countries ... stay tuned for that.

As for two tone colours - not sure why that is happening.  Can you send me a Sharing URL for your chart?  Then I can see the parameters that are creating that effect for you.

hopefully you can see this.  I'm not familiar with a "sharing URL" other than to copy and past mine.
Hi there Cindy,

SO (1) Customize Colours is now an option when you Colour by Country (not by Town)

(2) To find the SHARING URL -> go to the Fan Help menu (far right) and choose the second option (Sharing URL).  Copy the text in the box (click the big copy button), and then email or paste that here to share.
... AND ... I think I've solved the mystery!

The ancestors with two tone colouring are your repeat ancestors Cindy!  The bottom shading, the colouring in of each wedge, is the Country colouring as per the Legend.

The highlight bar under each name is there to make it easy to see how they are repeated so you can identify them elsewhere in your Fan Chart.  For example,  Marie Tetreau (1768 - ?) + Joseph Meunier (1754 - ?) - they appear twice as the parents of  Elisabeth, then down a generation of Judith.  Note that the background on Marie filling the wedge is the fill colour of the Quebec Province, whereas the highlight colour is unique to Marie and not associated with a Country code.

Make sense?

You can turn off the Colourize Repeats settings in the Fan Settings menu, which might be preferable when focusing on the Countries of origin.

 - Greg
Oh yes, I remember now.  I began to suspect that when I came to the same name and though, haven't I already fixed this?  Turning off that effect makes it much easier to see to country colors.  Now I have a few that should be another color, names look right, other people with those names have correct color.  Two sets:

on the bottom left of 9 generations:  All are Acadie, Nouvelle-France (Dugas, Brun) yet Bernard Bourg and Marie Dugas next gen down are more of a medium yellow.

Higher up in the fan are two med yellow profiles Achin-3 and Pierre Parent, Guillet-37 but they should be light yellow, based on same name, right?

I know you don't want to debug my whole fan, but I'm appreciating improvements as we go along here.  I'm learning and others may also.  Here's the Sharing URL:


Whoo hoo, I'm feeling smart right now!
Cindy - I owe you a quarter! (I had a math teacher in high school who gave us a quarter everytime we found a mistake with one of the answers at the back of the book.)

You found a bug ... if the location started with Canada or Acadie (and no village name before that), it didn't recognize it properly with my new method - so - it only stripped off the Nouvelle-France portion - hence the different colourings.  I believe it's fixed now, and ALL locations with Acadie, Nouvelle-France should be the same colour, regardless of whether they have a town identified or not.

Let me know what else you find !

 - Greg
The custom colors works!  I changed all the Quebec to one color and bazinga! there they were.  I think keeping the original program to a different color for each name is good because I've been able to make a lot of corrections of the anomolies in names as a result.  Now I seriously have to work on the native birthplaces because they are all done differently.
+6 votes

If you want a new challenge/opportunity, I see on the 180' and 240' options, there's a blank space underneath the center person, which is a lovely place to put a descendants chart.... just saying laugh

by Rob Neff G2G6 Mach 4 (48.6k points)
edited by Rob Neff
You are evil for putting that idea in my head! .... oh no ... another rabbit hole ....
+6 votes
This the first time I've looked at this app.  All I can say is ...this is AWESOME!  Thanks
by Rhonda Zimmerman G2G6 Pilot (175k points)
Thanks Rhonda!
+2 votes
I tried the app on myself and loved it.  Then tried on Hubby and the chart came back completely blank.  Took me some time to figure out that the problem is that he is LIVING.  So are his parents.  I guess you need to warn people that it doesn't work for living people.  Probably doesn't work for anything except OPEN profiles.

Also, it appeared (by slowness of painting) to continue to attempt to process descendants even though there was no way to follow.
by Peggy McMath G2G6 Mach 2 (26.2k points)
+1 vote
Greg is there a way to produce a fan chart for someone whose profile you manage but they are still alive? I've tried and it builds the chart but it's void of any names. Thanks.
by Morgan Mulligan G2G6 Mach 1 (12.4k points)
HI there Morgan,

What I've found out so far is that if a person is Living, but not a WikiTree member, then their information is Unlisted and super private.  Trying to create a Fan Chart with their info gives the blanks you're talking about.  Even WikiTree members who have Unlisted or super high Privacy settings for themselves, even when logged in, will also get those blanks.

HOWEVER ... (I did this for one of my sons as a test just last night because of a similar question to me) ... if you go to your family member's profile, and enter an email address for them - THEN - they will get an email invite to join WikiTree.  They can then follow up with that - and it's a very easy process - click on email to confirm, and setup a password, then they are in!  At that point, then they can go to the Fan Chart (My WikiTree -> Family Tree & Tools -> scroll down to Fan Chart), and produce the Fan Chart for themselves.

Not sure if there's another way to do this, but, that worked for my son.  AND .. good news for me .. since I created his profile initially, I'm the profile manager, and once he became a member, I can create a Fan Chart with him as the starting person, and it shows up for me.

Hope that helps.
Thanks for this Greg. I'll give it a go.
+2 votes

See the new DNA features of the new fan chart app displayed here by Peter Roberts:

Have you seen the DNA features of the new fan chart app?

by Tommy Buch G2G6 Mach 4 (41.9k points)
+2 votes

Greetings my Fan Chart fans!

I have been working on a number of changes to the Fan Chart - some of them aesthetic, some functional. Before I release the latest version, I thought I would give those of you who have helped me out with suggestions a chance to preview the changes, and let me know if there are any bugs you find that I've missed.  Tommy Buchs has been very helpful as well to give me feedback throughout this latest phase - thanks Tommy - but it's possible there are things that both Tommy and I have missed, and I welcome another set of eyes .... or many.

To see the Latest version that's in development - go to:


Thanks in advance!

 - Greg

by Greg Clarke G2G6 Mach 1 (19.6k points)

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