Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

User Tutorial - Basic Techniques 1. Viewing Preferences


Viewing Preferences and Options

... explained.

// symbol in the Merge tutorial projects links to this project.


See How do I customize the way names are displayed? Geni help centre.

The purpose of this project is to explain how to access the various basic menus and tools mentioned in the following suite of projects -

See also


Getting Involved

Feel free to follow, request to collaborate

TIP When communicating with other users please include the link address (URL/www) of the profile you are referring to, found at the top left of the screen. The following is the link address to the Merge Centre project - it changes for every page you are viewing.

// Address location

If you have any special requests please contact June Barnes or Erica Howton who are Volunteer Curators

How you view the tree on Geni is determined in the Name Preferences settings from your profile page

// Display Preferences

Note: Changing the Tree View Preferences in one browser window or tab will affect all the Tree Views when they are refreshed/re-drawn in other browser windows or tabs.

// V1//

One of the simplest ways to manage the way you view the "Tree View" is to change the number of Ancestors or Descendants shown in the Tree View. Reducing the number of generations shown can help you 'focus' what you are viewing to the most relevant portion of the "tree branch" you are viewing. Select the settings cog in the control settings to the left of the tree view screen (Figure V1) left. Doing so opens the first of 2 tree preference tabs (Figure V2)

In this window you can select the number of generations to display - Ancestors and Descendants. You can also choose to display only direct ancestors - a useful tool when a tree is very busy and you wish to simplify things.

When you want to return to the full view you can either return to the preferences display options and un-tick the box, or look up at the top right hand corner where there is a quick link to "Show all Profiles".

// all profiles - exit direct ancestors only

// V2

The second available tab is to customise the way the tree is presented - you can change the colours used and the size of the text (Figure V3)

// V3//

// V4// can choose to change the layout of the tree from horizontal to vertically by clicking the Layout icon at the bottom right hand side of the tree view page.

The screen shots below show how these choices are reflected in tree view.

// layout

// view.

Clicking the little plus sign to the right of each node opens a window which expands showing family members (Siblings, Partners and Children). You also have the opportunity to add people in any of the categories, as well as edit the profiles..

// in Horizontal view


Print your tree

// 4// You have the option to print your clicking on the printer icon at the bottom of the screen.


There are a number of available options to explore. as can be seen in the screen shot above.


// Preferences


You can customise how names are displayed on Geni. These preferences apply to family trees, lists and the rest of Geni.

// // the drop down menu at the top right, alongside your tiny image, select "Account Settings". This takes you to the page "All Account Settings. (Below). From there select "Name Settings - customise how names are displayed.


You then have before you a page where you have a number of options to customise your name settings.


Ignore display name

Display Name

The display name field is not available when you first add a person to the tree.

// display name field when adding a person to the tree

After you have added the person the display name field is available.

// name field available when editing a profile

The default display name (in the absence of one being added) is generated according to the settings you have selected. (See grey print in the example below).

// Display name in grey


The following is a fictitious profile where a display name has been entered, (Sissy Smith (my favourite aunt in this example).

When "Ignore display name" is CHECKED she appears in tree view as follows, with the names entered as in the name fields -

// display name CHECKED

When that box is UN-CHECKED (in other words see display name), it changes - you do not see the names of the person as entered in the name fields -

// display name UN-CHECKED

When “ignore display name” is UNCHECKED the display name overrides all other settings/options. This means that when the display name is something that has no genealogical meaning as in this example, the true picture is lost. It is therefore important to be careful when filling in the display name. Dr. Sir. etc. can be added to the Prefix field, making it now unnecessary to use the display name field to display titles., There is no need to fill this field in other than for people who have a different stage name etc.. Any name that a person was also known as (a.k.a.) can be added to the "Also known as" field.

If a display name is entered which is not accommodated by the existing name fields, ignoring the display name hides important information in tree view.

// name providing important information.

// Checked - DON'T SHOW Display name

// NOT Checked - SHOW Display name



Show suffixes

One of the options available in the name display preferences is "Show suffixes"

The following is an example of a profile where a suffix has been added.

// with suffix added

When you do not check that box the profile is displayed without the suffix which has been added - there by not displaying important information.

// suffix UN-CHECKED

The same profile includes the suffix when the "show suffix" box is ticked.

// suffix CHECKED

Further example -




The options regarding the preference for birth surname display are self explanatory:

// Birth surname instead of last name - is especially relevant with female profiles where the field of last name has been filled with the husband's last name. Purists prefer not to see the married name.


Show middle names There is not much to be said about this choice at it is self explanatory. It is worth pointing out that if profiles have been added with all given names in the first name field all names will be displayed.

Showing the last name in CAPS too is self explanatory - Geni doesn't use UPPER CASE for last names and this gives those who prefer to can use that option.