© Mark Lang, BA (Computer Science)
NOTE: This article is written by guest author Mark Lang in Australia. The article is copyright by the author and cannot be republished elsewhere without his permission.
If you are one of the many users of The Master Genealogist (TMG), you will (or may already) want to know about another third-party software utility that has become available. This full version has a number of features not active in the freeware version, which has been available for a few months. I had no trouble downloading or installing the program. The installation was totally automated, and I let it install into the default location.
So what is PathWiz!, and what can it do for me? PathWiz! is a presentation tool written by Bryan Wetton from BeeSoft, located in Adelaide, Australia. It allows you to access a TMG Version 5 project and manipulate information attached to exhibits (graphical images and other files) stored anywhere on your local PC. It was built mainly at the request of Robin Lamacraft (Sceya.com) to help him overcome problems from users who sent him files with their exhibits for creating/printing charts, only find that, on arrival, *all* links to the exhibits were broken.
In the genealogy package, The Master Genealogist, there is little information that you can extract to determine which photos are connected to whom. The addition of the catalogs reports has made this much more than a utility and can be used to overcome the migration of data from one computer to another, or from one exhibit storage tree structure to another. You can also filter different types of exhibits, depending on their location.
PathWiz! is an Exhibit Management Tool to complement your TMG exhibits and aids in reporting all this information and more. By now you may have seen the eight major points that really highlight this product and the need for its creation. For those that haven't, they are:
1. You can update your exhibit information in PathWiz! and transfer all of the new information to TMG.
2. The Exhibits Catalogue provides images of each graphic exhibit, enabling easy recognition when sorting things out. (You will need thumbnails enabled in TMG). This is an excellent feature as it gives a printable report in both Word (*.doc) and Excel (*.csv) format.
3. You are able to make up a text file of exhibit information for existing persons and add it to TMG all in one action. (Import)
4. You are able to change the exhibit file from within PathWiz! by selecting a new one from your drive.
5. You will be able to edit an image file from within PathWiz!. If you have image editing software on your machine, it will open the file, using that particular program.
6. You will be able to change a drive letter for all exhibit paths. Most people have only two or three drive locations on their system, and this is not a problem; but, for those who have multi-sectioned disks or are on a network, this can help immensely.
7. You will be able to output and save an Exhibits Catalogue in Microsoft Word.
Please Note - you will need to have Microsoft Word installed on your PC. PathWiz! creates this exhibit catalogue and opens it for you in Word, but if Word is already running, you will need to close it first. There is a default filename given when it is produced so you can find it, and it is easy to change should you wish to do so later.
8. You can edit/modify any of the image exhibits which are found on their given path from one screen, using your usual favourite image editor.
In addition, there is the ability to directly edit the Topic, Reference, and Description fields of a list of related exhibits (for example - External Images attached to persons) from one screen with the ability to see the actual images, both internal and external (provided they are available).
Another feature that will impress is the safety feature built to protect the user. PathWiz! creates temporary databases; so, while you are making your changes, you are actually working on the copy until you actually commit the changes.
Should you require a helping hand, PathWiz! has an extensive FAQ section and on-line help presented as web pages; so, it can present numerous images as examples.
I found PathWiz! easy to use, and within minutes had created a catalogue report of every exhibit linked in my database in both Word and CSV format, giving me the option of how I wanted to view the information. Other reasons for using this excellent tool would be for its ability to resolve exhibit hassles, and to provide quick global actions that would be tedious on a one-by-one basis. The main point is that, if you are dealing with images in any way, then TMG currently lacks the necessary tools if managing image counts of a 1000 or more, and to do this with confidence is where PathWiz! helps immensely.
I had been privy to using PathWiz! during beta development as well as seeing its final presentation, and I am pleased with how it has ended up. I would, however, prefer to see its analysis-gathering and presentation in a slightly more "appealing" form. But that aside, PathWiz! achieves its desired outcome and works with great satisfaction
There is one caveat; PathWiz! requires a monitor resolution of 1024x768 in order to view the full form as you use the program. The program stipulates this, so does its creator, and it is in the manual. If you have your resolution set any lower (800x600), you will not be able to exit the program or obtain program Help. These are buttons located in the bottom right of the program, and at the lower resolution they are unobtainable. The only way to exit the program in this manner is to end the process using the Task Manager.
I enjoyed what PathWiz! could do to my TMG database as a utility, and it will be an indispensable tool in the future because I am always upgrading my computers and changing software around. PathWiz! will resolve a lot of my transitional movements and make the process a lot less of a burden.
Further details about the program are available on the Sceya website, and the program is moderately priced (US$15) for all users. It is available to buy over a secured server on the Gould Genealogy website. Although this is a download-only program, a CD version is available upon request for an additional fee. Please see the websites for details.
About the Author
Mark Lang has authored over 60 genealogical program reviews since April 2000, has traced his wife's ancestry back to late 18th century Scotland. He has been interested in family history since 1991, is a member of his local family history group since it began in 1996, and was their webmaster for four years. He has a degree in computer science and is currently writing a book involving a genealogical program.