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“Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

“Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 15 Sep 2013 5:16PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 16 Sep 2013 10:59PM GMT
Read through all the instructions before you start or print this out before you start.

Install Family Tree Maker 2014 (FTM2014) from your download or CD. [Note: I had to turn off my virus program during the install because it gave an error message when I tried to install the first time].

After a successful install of FTM 2014, restart your computer.

BEFORE running FTM 2014 for the first time, do these things:
1. Go to FTM 2012 and make sure your tree(s) in FTM 2012 is up-to-date and sync’d if you use the sync feature with
2. Compact your tree(s).
3. Make a backup of your tree(s), preferably to an external source like a USB drive or external hard drive.
4. Write down the “before” counts from the tree(s). You can find detailed counts in FTM by clicking on the More button above the home person’s name. On your online tree, from any person, at the top of your tree, just to the right of the tree name is a link called “Tree pages” – hover over that link and you will see “Tree Overview,” which will give you detailed counts for your online tree. The number of people should be the same with FTM and Some of the other counts are different.

Running FTM 2014 for the first time:
1. Register the program, if you didn’t do it during the install.
2. Sign on to your account, if you didn’t do it during the install.
3. At the bottom of the Plan screen, on the line called “Ancestry Web Dashboard” to the right is a button called “Options.” In Options, make sure that the box next to “Automatically update every xxx minutes” is UNCHECKED during tree conversion. Doing this will prevent FTM 2014 from refreshing the screen while you are converting your tree(s), which can interrupt the tree conversion.
4. FTM 2014 will initially open to the New Tree window and show a list of your existing trees. You have the option to convert your EXISTING FTM 2012 tree or convert a COPY of your existing FTM 2012 tree. I highly recommend converting a COPY of your existing tree. That way, you can use FTM 2012 on your old tree or go back easily if for any reason FTM 2014 has problems.
5. If you choose to put your new FTM 2014 tree into the same folder on your hard drive as your FTM 2012 tree, you will have to choose a new name for your tree. For example, if you old tree is called “FamilyTree” you could name the new tree “FamilyTree2014.” FTM trees seem to work best if the names are one word, with no spaces or special characters in the FTM tree name. Your online tree name can be whatever name you want.
6. Or, you could do something like the way I did mine:
a. I created a new folder on my hard drive called “FamilyTreeMaker2014” to hold my new FTM 2014 trees.
b. When I opened FTM 2014, I changed the default location to point to my new folder, using the Tools Menu, then Options (at the bottom).
c. When I wanted to convert my FTM 2012 trees, I went to the File menu, then OPENed the OLD tree location on my hard drive, then I selected each tree to be converted.
d. I saved the converted tree to my NEW location on my hard drive, and used the same tree name as I had before.
7. NOTE: One thing to be aware of — if you have large a large tree, once FTM 2014 starts the conversion, you will not see a scrolling bar or other progress indicator, so it may “appear” to be hung or even say "not responding." Just wait. It really is working behind the scenes. You can check the new folder location’s media file to see that it is copying files. Be patient.
8. While FTM 2014 is converting your tree, you will not be able to access it in FTM 2012 either as a “lock” will be set on the tree.
9. If you are impatient while converting a large tree, go out for a while or take a walk. Large trees may take several hours to finish the conversion process and copy all the files. Be patient. Be patient.
10. At the end, I told FTM 2014 to keep my link to All the trees I converted are linked to Ancestry.
11. When the conversion is finished, compare you new counts with your “before” counts to make sure the number of people in your tree remains the same.
12. COMPACT your new FTM 2014 tree(s) to make sure they start out right.
13. Close FTM 2014 so that it finishes updating the name index.
14. If it goes as well as mine did, you are now ready to use FTM 2014 for your tree(s). You can still go back to FTM 2012 if you need to see something, though the link with will be broken on the 2012 tree.
15. Be aware: if you have both FTM 2012 and FTM 2014 open at the same time, the 2nd program to open will open to the “New tree” window, instead of to the last tree you used. This is a protection to keep you from accidentally working on the same tree with both programs.

ps: This are my own tips, and are not "official " or approved by Ancestry. I am a customer just like everyone else.
There is another thread for successful sync tips at

Re: “Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 15 Sep 2013 8:51PM GMT
Classification: Query
Barbara, Nicely done.
I would recommend that everyone rename the tree file with 2014 in the name. It will help insure one does not open the wrong file some time in the future. I too used a new folder for the 2014 tree files.

Re: “Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 15 Sep 2013 10:06PM GMT
Classification: Query
I would re-iterate to compact AFTER converting. The converting process moves data around and creates new bloated space in the file. Compact ratios of 25% after an upgrade are not uncommon.

Also, I check for Missing Media before and after the convert.

Re: “Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 12:19AM GMT
Classification: Query
I suddenly have a big problem with 2014......If I uninstall 2014 can my files then be opened with my 2012......I should have just stayed with my 2012 because I never had any problems even with the sync (after we got the patch).....I just want to go back until all these known problems are fixed...My tree is so large, I'm just afraid with all that is going on I will loose things.


Re: “Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 2:01AM GMT
Classification: Query
Did you create a backup of your 2012 file before converting it to 2014? If so, you can revert to that. If not, no the 2014 cannot be opened by 2012.

Re: “Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 2:14AM GMT
Classification: Query
Do you use FTM as your primary tree or do you have your primary tree on If you have your primary tree on , you can re-download to FTM 2012 after unlinking it from FTM 2014.
Or, as the other poster said, you can go back to a previous FTM 2012 backup file.
FTM 2014 has a new file format, so trees from the 2014 version cannot be opened in FTM2012.


Re: “Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 2:26AM GMT
Classification: Query
You can also export the entire file (2014) back to 2012 format.

Re: “Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 12:17PM GMT
Classification: Query
If you have moved media files around (e.g. put some in subfolders) then they will not be copied. You will need to manually copy the subfolders to the new media folder. Much easier to do this outside FTM rather than using the dialog box to find and copy or link the missing media.

If you decided to import from a backup file be aware that FTM appears to create thumbnails as the media items are used. Initially it will be very slow to scroll through the pane in the media view. Once you have shown each thumbnail once everything will speed up. (2014 shows thumbnails on the sources in the person view - this view will update slowly if you haven't seen those thumbnails before, so it is well worth spending a few minutes gradually scrolling through all your media items after restoring from a backup file).

Re: “Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 1:46PM GMT
Classification: Query

I use Ancestry as my primary.. So last night before I went to bed I did an unlink and a redownload of my tree into 2014.....This morning after 12 hours the media is still processing...geez....I guess I will give it the rest of the day to finish....


Re: “Successful Conversion Tips” ~ Family Tree Maker 2012 to 2014

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 4:26PM GMT
Classification: Query
Depending on the size of your tree, the speed of your Internet connection and the speed of your computer, it can take quite a while to download.
Mine large tree is 22,000+ people. I've re-downloaded it quite a few times and it can take a really long time.

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