If you have the Microsoft Office suite of programs installed on your computer or through subscription, you've already got everything you need to download and begin using the genealogy, or family tree, template. It's available without an additional charge with Microsoft Excel, the popular spreadsheet program that's part of Office.
Free, Easily Accessed and User-Friendly
There are several good family tree internet-based software programs available for a reasonable fee. Microsoft's program, however, has two advantages. First, if you already own Microsoft Office, it's included without an additional charge as a part of Microsoft's spreadsheet program, Excel. Second, if you're already using Excel, there's no learning curve at all. You simply open the app and begin filling out your family's history for up to five generations by typing in the appropriate names in the family tree chart.
The genealogy template should be easy to find. Visit the Microsoft Office site and search its templates for "Excel family tree chart." However, you might encounter some obstacles.
Avoid the Outdated Access Template
Once you download the Excel family tree chart, you're home free. Getting there has a couple of possible pitfalls to avoid. Both are consequences of a similar genealogy template Microsoft made available in its Access database program – for many years a part of the Office suite, but now no longer included.
The first pitfall is that over the years a lot of articles on Microsoft's Access Genealogy Chart have populated the internet, some of them quite good. None of them, however, deal with the more recent Microsoft Excel genealogy template. If you're not careful and don't specify that you're looking for info on the Microsoft Excel genealogy chart, you can waste time reading about a program you're probably not using.
The second pitfall is a variant of the first and is probably not Microsoft's finest hour. If you reasonably decide to get the Excel genealogy template by going to Microsoft's download center, you're likely to download information about the Access genealogy chart instead. If you start your search through the download center, you can still find non-Microsoft websites where it's available, although it's no longer supported by Microsoft. That's a slightly weird bit of nomenclature for an already slightly strange situation that tech bloggers have been complaining about since 2015.
To avoid these problems, just be sure to download the Microsoft Excel family tree chart.
- Try other searches such as "Family reunion" or "Family Tree" to expand your search.
- If the files will not download, try using Internet Explorer or an IE tab in Firefox.
I am a retired Registered Investment Advisor with 12 years experience as head of an investment management firm. I also have a Ph.D. in English and have written more than 4,000 articles for regional and national publications.